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Pash Feels A New CBA Can
Be Reached Without Lockout
The NFL and the NFLPA held a formal bargaining session for a new CBA last Friday in N.Y., sources confirmed. It is not clear what was discussed, as Friday's session was kept quiet and not reported in the media. It is not unusual for two parties in a labor negotiation to hold many sessions to discuss different topics, especially when one side is seeking major changes in the labor agreement, as the NFL is in this negotiation. The NFL CBA expires on March 4, after which the NFL, which is seeking concessions from players, could lock players out (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal). In a special to the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, NFL Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash wrote the league knows than a new CBA "can and will be reached to improve the game and build a better league," and it "can and should be done with no work stoppage, which would hurt everyone." Pash noted the league has "shown the union how and why the current system does not work," and the Packers' recent financial statement "illustrates the point -- operating profits declining every year since 2006 while player costs continue to rise." Pash: "Our proposals recognize economic reality and will build on a system that has been good to all of us. ... We will not accept the status quo. Neither should fans. With a Collective Bargaining Agreement more firmly grounded in economic reality, we can fulfill the vision of NFL owners to improve the game, enhance the fan experience and build a better NFL" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 8/17).
LIMITED EFFECT: In Boston, Albert Breer noted most teams "didn't change their decision-making significantly" this offseason as a result of the uncapped year. Breer: "If anything, the rules restricting fourth- and fifth-year free agents might have simplified things a bit." Saints GM Mickey Loomis: "We had a couple deals we were able to do and a couple deals we were not able to do. That sounds like a typical year to me." Breer noted the new rules in "some cases ... caused holdouts," but "in more, it gave teams a year's reprieve and delayed some tough decisions" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/15).
QUITE A TURNAROUND: A N.Y. TIMES editorial stated the NFL's new poster alerting players to the long-term effects of concussions "signals a hard-fought reversal of the National Football League's repeated denials of mounting evidence that concussions can lead to ... handicapped lives and brain damage." The NFL's "turnabout resulted from rising public alarm and Congressional concern after investigations" by various reporters (N.Y. TIMES, 8/15).
Johnson (r), McIlroy Could Be
Golf's Next Marketable Stars
In Orlando, George Diaz wonders if the "young guns" in golf like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer "have enough juice to bump" Tiger Woods off the charts, "both in popularity and the money list." It will be "fun to watch the convergence of these guys gaining confidence and maturing, coupled with the continued trials and tribulations of Tiger, and whether he will ever find his way back." Diaz: "My guess is that he will, and that the 'young guns' will be left somewhere on a wayward bunker, looking lost and confused" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/17).
BLAME GAME: In Buffalo, Lisa Wilson wrote with LW Ilya Kovalchuk still unsigned by any team, "some blame must be shifted to the NHL for its lackadaisical approach toward front-loaded contracts before they finally took a stance with him." If the league "did its job, he would have known the rules and avoided this mess." The "primary flaw with the ruling was that it ignored precedent" as "several contracts structured in similar fashion sailed through the approval process." Wilson: "Imagine how many headaches and legal fees would have been avoided if the NHL approached its approval process with the same vigor it showed during the lockout" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/16).
WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT?: In Newark, Steve Politi noted MLS Red Bulls F Thierry Henry "doesn't understand the negativity toward the sport" of soccer in this country. Henry: "I don't know why you guys have such a complex about your football. You guys have new stadiums. You have good players here. You have big crowds at games. Obviously, we want it to grow -- that's why we're all here. But you should be happy about it." Henry added, "People were telling me so many times, 'Don't expect much.' And it's not true." Politi wrote, "No one should point to one week or even one summer as a turning point for soccer in this country, but maybe 2010 can be something else. Maybe this is the year when everybody stops looking for one. Maybe this is when we accept that the sport is doing fine here" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/15).