SBD/Issue 81/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Goodell Stresses Need For Talks Before CBA's March Expiration

Goodell Met With About 60 Chiefs Fans
During Town Hall Meeting

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell discussed the league's labor situation "at a town-hall meeting" for about 60 Chiefs season-ticket holders prior to yesterday's Ravens-Chiefs Wild Card game, and he again stressed if negotiations for a new CBA "stretch too far past March 4, it will be difficult to get a deal done," according to Randy Covitz of the K.C. STAR. Goodell said he has "been very clear with both ownership and the players" that negotiations for a new CBA become "more complicated after March 4, because what you're going to see is the revenue and the growth start to deteriorate." Goodell: "That's going to make it harder to make an agreement. And since the players get a majority of that, the player will be impacted by that. That's why you can't wait until September, and say, 'OK, we've got to do this.'" Goodell also discussed the prospect of expanding the regular season to 18 games, saying, "It's a negotiation. We all should keep that in mind." He added, "The issues of player safety are always going to be first priority, whether it's a 20-game format or some other format." Meanwhile, Goodell addressed the NFL's television blackout rule, saying that "ensuring sellouts allows the NFL to keep their games on free television." Goodell: "We're the only league to be able to do that. That's a positive for our fans" (K.C. STAR, 1/10).

LEAGUE MANAGER: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's David Feith spoke with Goodell as part of the paper's "Weekend Interview" feature, and wrote Goodell is an "even-tempered technocrat -- in command of information, deliberate, more confident than opinionated." Feith wrote the NFL's "peculiar challenge today" is "selling hope to its own players." Owners "have to convince players that accepting a pay cut immediately -- of 18%, according to the union's calculations, or 9% according to the owners' -- will make them better off in the long term." Goodell said, "There are lots of businesses that are well in excess of $9 billion that have gone into bankruptcy, that have been mismanaged. And that has not served anyone very well" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/8).

NO DESIRE TO BE POSTER BOY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote Fox NFL analyst Troy Aikman is "not at all eager to be linked to the NFL concussion conversation" despite the fact that he "suffered concussions during his 12-year playing career." Aikman said the reason he has not discussed concussions during broadcasts is "two-fold." Aikman: "I don't want to be the poster boy for head injury. ... Number two, my experience with them is they are all different." He added, "I've always tried to stay away from speculating on any type of injury anyway." Aikman also noted he has "not experienced any of the post-concussion syndrome effects that have hampered" other former players. Aikman: "I'd say relative to the number of guys who have played this game, I would say that my head injuries were relatively small" (JSONLINE.com, 1/8).

SUCCESSFUL RULE: In Dallas, Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote there is "nothing wrong with the Rooney Rule, established in 2002 to ensure NFL clubs with vacant head coaching positions interview minority candidates before hiring a coach." The "bottom line" is that the "number of minority coaches in the NFL is growing steadily." There were eight minority head coaches "toward the end of the 2010 season" when Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and Broncos interim coach Eric Studesville assumed their positions. The 49ers subsequently fired coach Mike Singletary, but the "number of minority coaches could swell because Minnesota has already removed the interim tag from Frazier's status, Ron Rivera is supposed to interview soon with Carolina, and Hue Jackson is considered among the front-runners to get the Oakland job." Taylor: "That's a positive trend, no doubt. But it's not good enough" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/9).

RING FOR THEIR TROUBLES: Fox NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira said that NFL officials "used to make more money for working playoff games than for regular-season games, but now make less." However, officials working the Super Bowl "now get Super Bowl rings" (USA TODAY, 1/10).

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