SBD/January 5, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Richardson Not Confident Of Quick Resolution To Labor Situation

NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson “painted a dire picture” of the league’s labor situation yesterday, saying he is “not optimistic we’re making a lot of progress,” according to Darin Gantt of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Richardson said, “When I meet with the union lawyers, they say, 'Mr. Richardson, we want more money, more benefits and we want to work less.' Then they say, 'Let's begin the negotiations.'” During a rare news conference yesterday, Richardson “drew a large circle on a legal pad with his felt-tip pen, and then drew a line through it to show the share of the league's revenues.” He said that from ’06-08, the NFL “generated $3.6 billion in new revenue, from which he said the players have gotten $2.6 billion.” Richardson: “Thirty-two teams have gotten $1 billion. We have a negative cash flow of $200 million." NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith “disputed those numbers in a statement sent out by the union.” Smith: “Let's make this simple for everyone: Does this mean the league or teams have lost money? The NFL has told us over and over that the answer to that question is no. Open the books, tell us what teams have made or lost in the last 10 years and let's get a fair deal done." Gantt reports NFLPA officials “maintained their consistent stand, that the owners were the ones to opt out of what ownership considered a bad deal, and that players haven't asked for anything beyond what the existing contract provided” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/5).

LETTERS TO CLEO: WXIA-NBC's Jerry Carnes reported Falcons Owner Arthur Blank “sent letters to season ticket holders, thanking them for their support through the team’s regular season.” Blank also briefly addressed what he called the NFL’s “challenge of negotiating” a new CBA between the owners and the NFLPA. Blank attached the e-mail NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to fans on Monday morning, which outlines the league's position on the labor situation (11ALIVE.com, 1/4). Meanwhile, in N.Y., John Branch reported the Sports Fan Coalition yesterday sent a letter to Goodell in response to the commissioner's e-mail. Sports Fan Coalition Exec Dir Brian Frederick told Goodell in the letter, "You don't 'get it.'" He also "asked for a guarantee that no games will be canceled in 2011" (NYTIMES.com, 1/4).

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