SBD/January 26, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Goodell To Take Salary Of Just $1 If NFL Sees Work Stoppage In Fall

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Goodell says other NFL execs offered, but he asked them not to cut their compensation
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Exec VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash will take $1 salaries in the event of a work stoppage in the sport this fall, the league office informed its personnel in a memo sent this morning. In addition, the memo noted annual bonuses recently approved for league office staff to be paid in April ‘11 will not be paid in full until a new labor deal is reached. NFL VPs will forego 10% of their bonuses, Senior VPs 25% and Exec VPs 35% until a new labor deal is struck. “The entire senior leadership team stands with me in its commitment to resolving the CBA issues with the players’ union,” Goodell wrote. “While several other executives have also volunteered to make additional reductions to their compensation, I have asked them not to take that step as we continue our negotiating efforts.” Pash requested the $1 salary, the memo noted. The CBA expires March 4, and the union and league have been far apart. The ‘11 regular season is scheduled to begin Sept. 8. The NFL already cut back staffing at league HQs in recent years, and Goodell took a 25% pay cut, bringing his pay to just under $10M. Goodell’s next bonus will not be determined until a new CBA is reached, the memo said (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal).

PLAYERS' POSITION: NFLPA President Kevin Mawae said, "We cannot sell 18 games to our players. We can't ask our players to play two more games without the long-term protection of better health care at the end of our careers. So the 18 games is an impossible sell for us." He added, "To this point, we're kind of stuck at the point we were at in November and we haven't made any headway in that issue" ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 1/26). Saints QB and NFLPA Exec Committee member Drew Brees said the players are "certainly being very reasonable" in CBA talks with the owners. Brees: "We're in negotiations right now trying to get a deal done before the March 4th deadline. Although I feel that we are all confident that a deal will get done, I'm just not sure that it will be done by March." Brees added if you "asked every NFL player whether they wanted to play 18 games, there wouldn't be a guy that says, 'Yeah, I want to play 18 games.'" Brees: "The amount of wear and tear that goes on your body in the course of a 16-game season including playoffs is plenty. So to now throw on two added games, very meaningful games, at the end of the season. I don't know if there's enough research at this point to say exactly the amount of risk that adds on to a player in regard to serious injury" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 1/25). But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said a deal "won't get done until August because once they get past March there is no incentive for either side" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/25).

CRACKS WITHIN THE RANKS? With Jets CB Antonio Cromatie criticizing both the NFL and NFLPA for not having a new CBA, FanHouse.com's Kevin Blackistone said, "I'm sure most players are going to feel like Cromartie is feeling. He's just the guy that came out and said it. They don't even want the threat -- the hint -- of having to go without a paycheck." But L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "The players have got to stick together and be quiet and have one spokesman. ... They need one voice here. I guarantee we won't hear any other union player saying anything else from now on" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/25). ESPN's Jim Rome said, "Like any other labor discussion, I think these guys are rock solid until they start missing paychecks, and then you start to see the thing fracture a little bit" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 1/25). SportsNet N.Y.'s Brandon Tierney: "When there's labor strife, players crack ... because the owners are always going to be rich. It's easier to maintain solidarity when there's 32 people ... compared to 1,700-1,800 players" ("Wheel House," SportsNet N.Y., 1/25).

MISSING THE MARK: NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith has claimed the union is "at war" with the owners, and in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote, "The war analogies the less creative among us insist on applying to sports are always overblown. Also overblown is Smith's rhetoric." Smith's "fiery words might excite player representatives and players, but they accomplish nothing." Sorensen: "This isn't war. This is business" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 1/25). ESPN's Herm Edwards said, "Both parties have to understand this: You don't negotiate through the press. The fans don't want to hear it. All they want to know is you get a deal done that will help us get back to playing football" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 1/25).

REALLY ALL ABOUT THE FANS? In Dallas, Rick Gosselin noted every time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks "about the NFL's labor stalemate, he stresses the importance of reaching an agreement for the sake of the fans." But if the fan is "so important to the NFL, why do what the league did last weekend" when it scheduled the Steelers-Jets AFC Championship in the evening? TV "wanted the game in prime time, so the league scheduled it for" 6:30pm ET. Gosselin wrote the fan is "important, but not as important in the eyes of the NFL as television." He added if he were commissioner, he would "separate the championship games, play one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, with a noon kickoff for each." Gosselin: "At least give the fans who are paying upwards of $40 to park at the stadium and upwards of $200 to sit in the stands a little sunshine to help combat the cold" (DALLASNEWS.com, 1/25).
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