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NFL Owners Set To Meet On March 3; Is Richardson A Hindrance To Reaching A Deal?
Published February 15, 2011
|Is Richardson's role on negotiating|
committee an impediment to talks?
PLAYERS WEIGH IN: Cardinals K and player rep Jay Feely yesterday said that Richardson was "behaving poorly in the negotiating meeting the day before the Super Bowl." A Panthers spokesperson yesterday said that those reports "were a 'mischaracterization,' of Richardson's feelings, but said he wouldn't comment further, since Richardson wanted the negotiations to happen in private" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/15). Brees yesterday said of Richardson's comments to him and Manning, "I wouldn't say that things were disrespectful but what I would say is that there are a lot of issues to get through and we're obviously not going to agree on everything and so it's a process and there are a lot of things to consider here" (ESPN.com, 2/14). ESPN's Michael Wilbon, noting Richardson played two seasons in the NFL, said the players "think Jerry Richardson is only an owner. He's not, and there's some gravity to his words that other owners wouldn't even dare." But Wilbon noted it was a "nice move" by Feely to sort of out Richardson and put this out there and put him back on his heels." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser: "This is good to put it out here and put him back on his heels" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/14).
TIME FOR A DEAL: NFL player agent Ralph Cindrich said the negotiations are a "test of Goodell's leadership." Cindrich: "He is employed and paid by the league office; owners fund the league office. So his duty is to the owners, but when you hold that type of position, his duty supersedes the game" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/15). In Jacksonville, Chet Fussman wrote the NFL "might be the most popular sports league in North America x10, but nothing is impenetrable and it’s issues like labor unrest and months of negative PR that can chip away at the league’s aura of invincibility." Fans will "tire of the posturing, the threats and do-nothing attitudes very quickly and some will find something else to spend their time and money on." Fussman: "Losing customers is bad for any business, and the NFL isn’t exempt from that" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 2/14). In West Palm Beach, Ben Volin wrote a potential lockout "purely and simply" is "about the owners wanting more money." Volin: "It appears they will try to bully the players until they get their way" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 2/14).
ON THE BACKBURNER: In Green Bay, Pete Dougherty notes though the labor dispute "has put plans for a game in London this year on hold," the Packers "could be an attractive draw for overseas fans." The league "has sent a top team before ... and it has had discussions to play a game in Ireland," with the Steelers a "likely participant." Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy: "We would love to go over -- as an away team" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/15).