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NFL Lockout Watch, Day 125: Rookie Wage Scale Reportedly Not Only Major Issue Left
Published July 14, 2011
TELLING A DIFFERENT STORY: In DC, Mark Maske cites sources as saying that an "agreement in principle" on a new CBA is "likely to be completed between Friday and next Tuesday, barring further complications." Individuals "not involved in the negotiations but familiar with them" said that they "did not expect a handshake deal to be completed" yesterday. But they added that an agreement in principle was "possible in coming days." Sources said that "deadline pressure may force the two sides into a compromise by Tuesday, when they are scheduled to meet in Minneapolis with their court-appointed mediator," Judge Arthur Boylan (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14). In N.Y., Kevin Armstrong reports "revenue-sharing splits and a rookie wage scale remain issues being discussed, but both sides maintain they would like to have a deal ready for league meetings" next Thursday in Atlanta. The latest round of talks yesterday "lasted throughout the day and into Wednesday night" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/14). In Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes under the header, "Rookie Wage Scale Overdue." Graney: "If we are down to the minor detail of whether a rookie class becomes free agents after four or five years, flip a coin and end this thing" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 7/14).
HIGH-PROFILE STATEMENT: In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch reports after "feeling rushed by numerous unsourced stories in the national media claiming a deal was imminent, the players finally struck back yesterday with a joint statement" by Brees, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Colts QB Peyton Manning, all of whom are plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL antitrust suit. The statement read, "We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get a deal done. ... This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way." The league "quickly followed with a statement of its own that was seemingly designed to lessen the PR hit in the eyes the fans." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello in the statement said, "We share the view that now is the time to reach an agreement so we can all get back to football and a full 2011 season. We are working hard with the players' negotiating team every day to complete an agreement as soon as possible." Hubbuch notes the "heavyweights in the 4-month old lockout returned to the negotiating table" yesterday in N.Y. and "met for nearly 11 hours in a bid to work out a settlement in time to salvage the entire season" (N.Y. POST, 7/14). On Long Island, Bob Glauber notes the antitrust suit "must be settled" as part of a new CBA. It "sounds as if the quarterbacks are ready for that to happen, but only if they get a CBA that is to their liking" (NEWSDAY, 7/14).
saved from rookie wage scale goes to veterans
REACHING OUT TO FANS: CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman cites an NFLPA source as saying that he "would like to do some sort of acknowledgment to the fans, with or without the league's cooperation," should the lockout come to an end. The "ideal gesture would be players wearing a patch on their uniforms dedicated to their fans." He said that owners and players also could "combine to give 1,000 fans free tickets for each game, or give a small number of season-ticket holders refunds for one game." Freeman: "That will never happen, but hell, what a gesture that would be." Several team and league officials also indicated that they "believe some type of apologetic gesture to the fans should be made." But one exec said that the problem is the league "fears such a gesture might leave the NFL vulnerable to some type of lawsuit" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/13).