SBD/January 21, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell: Recent Meeting With Smith "Positive," More Needed To Reach Deal

Goodell contends that the NFL, NFLPA need to hold more frequent, productive meetings
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on ESPN's "Jim Rome Is Burning" Thursday to discuss the league's current labor situation, and he said his informal meeting Wednesday with NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith should be considered a "positive sign." But he admitted the two sides "need to have more of them, and we have to have them more focused on productive discussions that lead to a result." The current CBA expires on March 4, and Goodell said the lack of sustained negotiations is not a "matter of blame," instead saying it is "one of those things where every party has got to make a commitment to negotiating something that works for all parties and get down and get to work." Goodell: "Any time you're in a collective bargaining process, you're going to have periods of time where either negotiating team is going to go back and think about the issues, try to figure a way to address it. So there are probably times when a healthy break from the negotiations can occur. But they have to be done in such a way as to be working towards an agreement and they have to be addressing the issues that each side presents." He added a lockout is "certainly not an outcome that anyone from an NFL team is looking for, the commissioner is looking for. I don't believe the players want that kind of an outcome, and I certainly know the fans don't want that outcome."

OTHER LEAGUE ISSUES: Goodell also touched on several other issues facing the league, including the prospect of an 18-game regular season. He acknowledged the expanded schedule could result in "potentially larger rosters during the regular season, which is one of the issues we've discussed." Goodell also said implementing a rookie salary cap is "important for us." Goodell: "It's important for the way we pay our veteran players. You want to pay for performance on the NFL field and we believe a lot of that money should go to the veteran players." Meanwhile, with two separate stadium projects in L.A. being planned with the goal of landing an NFL team, Goodell said, "There are some positive developments in Los Angeles with respect to a stadium. ... There are things that we want to continue to focus on because we want to be back in L.A." After the interview, ESPN.com's Howard Bryant said of the 18-game schedule, "You've got a line in the sand issue here. ... That's the critical issue as a galvanizing point. The players are trying to figure out how do you say you want more safety and then add two games to the schedule?" When asked if there was a "price tag" that would make adding two more games to the schedule worth it for the players, Bryant said, "Depends on how much you believe that this is finally going to be the issue that brings the players together" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 1/20).

WE CAN WORK IT OUT? Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti is "confident that there will be a full season played in 2011 and a salary cap will return to the NFL." Bisciotti on Thursday said, "We've got some work to do, there's no doubt about it. But it doesn't do me any good not to be optimistic. I know how intelligent and committed our group is to getting a deal done" (Baltimore SUN, 1/21). But in Philadelphia, Paul Domowitch writes, "Buckle your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride the next several months. Maybe very, very bumpy" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/21). Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Michael Smith noted the NFL is selling $200 Super Bowl tickets to watch the game outside at Cowboys Stadium's Party Plaza and said, "All this while the league is complaining that the collective bargaining agreement doesn't work and they're making money" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/20).
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