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SBD/February 7, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Goodell Spends Majority Of Address Discussing March 4 CBA Expiration
Published February 7, 2011
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FAMILIAR TALKING POINTS: In N.Y., Judy Battista noted Goodell Friday "reiterated the familiar talking points from the last 18 months, defending management's push for an 18-game regular season and saying the revenue split with players had swung too far in the union's favor." He also "reiterated that he believed it would be more difficult to complete a new deal if the deadline passes" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/5). Goodell "implored officials from the players' union to get serious about negotiations" (NEWSDAY, 2/5). Goodell said of the proposed 18-game regular season, "We're still staying within our 20-game format. We're not playing 22 games, which is permitted in the current (CBA), by the way." In Houston, John McClain noted Goodell "has been praised for focusing on player safety but criticized for wanting to add two regular-season games, which would increase the players' chances of suffering injuries." Goodell: "You always have to keep safety as a priority, under any format" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/5). When asked about the 18-game season, Goodell said there are no "deal-breakers." But he "repeated support for changing the current format of four exhibitions and 16 regular-season games." Goodell: "The status quo is not acceptable. We have to address these issues going forward." Meanwhile, in Dallas, Gerry Fraley reported the NFL "will look for ways to improve the Rooney Rule, which calls for diversity candidates to be interviewed for major job openings." But Goodell said that he is "pleased with what it has accomplished" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/5).
FULLY PREPARED: NFL Network's Michael Lombardi said Goodell Friday was "so well prepared on every single subject," and "nothing caught him by surprise." Lombardi added, "The key element of the direct questioning that he received is March 4 is a serious date ... and he needed to put some power in that date because the only way negotiations occur is when there is a drop dead deadline and I think that was his intent [Friday] to make March 4 a critical, critical day." NFL Network's Jason La Canfora said Goodell's overall comments "seemed to me a sort of end to the rhetoric." La Canfora noted Goodell referred to the NFLPA's efforts to get owners to open their books as a "negotiating ploy," and he said that comment was "pretty strong." La Canfora: "That caught me by surprise, but I kind of felt that was the final shot across the bow" (NFL Network, 2/4). In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro wrote there was a "sense of urgency in the voice" of Goodell on Friday (N.Y. POST, 2/5). In Ft. Worth, Charean Williams noted 18 of the 33 questions asked of Goodell were "related to the March 4 expiration" of the CBA (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/5).