SBD/January 25, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Jets' Antonio Cromartie Slams NFL, NFLPA For Labor Strife

Cromartie says he hasn't heard from owners or union about what to expect in weeks ahead
Jets CB Antonio Cromartie yesterday had "strong words for both NFL management and Players' Association leaders," according to Manish Mehta of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Cromartie, a free agent after this season, said, "You got our head union rep acting like an ass----. They got their guys acting like ass-----. So they just need to get their s--- together and just get it done." He added, "Honestly, I don't give a damn if they get mad at me or not. But it's getting to the point where it's getting ridiculous when everything is always dealing with money. ... To me, you need to stop bitching about it. If you want to say that you want to get into a room and meet, then do it. Don't just talk about it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/25). More Cromartie: "This is what we do for our careers. And you are dealing with hundreds of thousands of other people that are in this workplace as well" (NYTIMES.com, 1/25). Cromartie said that he "hasn't heard anything from either the owners or the players' union about what to expect in the weeks and months ahead," with the current CBA expiring March 4 (N.Y. POST, 1/25). Meanwhile, Buccaneers C and player rep Jeff Faine yesterday said, "Right now, it's not looking good unfortunately. ... No one is budging. We're not one to give up what we've already negotiated. And they're not real willing to change" (TAMPABAY.com, 1/24). Jets coach Rex Ryan "made his discomfort about the labor uncertainty known yesterday during his season-ending news conference." Ryan said, "There are a lot of livelihoods riding on it. I want to coach football. I know the players want to play and the owners want to get this thing done. Hopefully, they'll figure it out" (N.Y. POST, 1/25).

PLAYERS GETTING ANXIOUS: Eagles OT Winston Justice in a special to the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS writes, "As a player, I know our health insurance expires March 3 and will not be renewed. ... I have heard rumors of players' pregnant wives asking to be induced into labor early before their health benefits are cut short. It is really an unsettling and unfortunate time." Justice added, "I also have read a lot of articles recently and have seen a lot of fans who don't seem to understand the players' worries over the current bargaining situation. But I assure you, it is not just about millionaire players wanting more millions. Fact of the matter is, most guys aren't millionaires, and, although they are making a good living, many need to play to sustain their livelihood" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 1/25). ESPN.com's J.A. Adande said, "There is a huge difference between the two sides, and it really is about the way of life and quality of life for NFL players. When they're talking about adding two games to a season, that's going to affect their lives for years after they retire" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/24).

COMES WITH THE TERRITORY
: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones yesterday said that he is "not bothered by the recent rhetoric" from NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith. Jones responded to a N.Y. Times article that quoted Smith telling NFL players the union is at "war" with the NFL over the new CBA. Jones said, "I really think that that's business as usual. This is not uncommon. We certainly, unanimously, want to get a deal done before we lose any playing time. Everybody has that goal, and I'm sure they do, too. But the positioning, the rhetoric that goes on during these things, if you look at any discord you'll see it." He added that it is "important for owners to maintain a unified voice and let those involved in the negotiations ... take the lead" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/25). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said Smith "has a thankless job." Cowlishaw: "He's defending a group of players who have an average salary of $1.7 million, and he's trying to tell people if they had to go down to $1.5 (million) it would be devastating. But the war references, that doesn't help anybody" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/24).
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