SBD/April 11, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Columnist: NFL Owners “Winning Handily” Over Players In New Labor Deal

Foxworth said that he is content with the CBA deal he helped craft
NFL players “look like they didn't gain anything” from last year's lockout, according to an analysis of the financial elements of the deal by Greg Bedard of the BOSTON GLOBE. Despite the new CBA, it now "appears” players are losing money -- some $652M over the next three seasons. NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth said that he is "content with the deal he helped craft." Foxworth: "I can't speak for individual players; I'm really happy." Bedard wrote the owners, who "said the league couldn’t continue to give players" 50 cents of every dollar, "look like they’re winning handily through at least" '15. The NFL Management Council "informed owners at the league meetings that the salary cap will remain flat" through '15, and then "increase incrementally." Bedard noted not only "does that run counter to what the NFLPA told agents at their annual meeting at the scouting combine -- they were told the cap would explode" in '14 when the "new television money was due to hit -- but it falls way short of what the NFL offered the union before the lockout started." And if '15 "remains flat, the players will have lost more than a billion dollars" from '12-15. Bedard: "Surely players and agents are going to be upset if this comes to pass." Foxworth said, "Next week is when I'm going to go crunch all the numbers with our lawyers and figure out the true cap projections. ...One thing I know is the NFL isn’t getting less popular, so I don’t think that anyone is in danger, from owners or the players’ side, [of] going bankrupt any time soon." He added, "One thing that we did do that I’m proud of is for the first time we linked our revenue to actual revenue." Bedard wrote maybe the lockout "will eventually be worth it for that, but it’s not doing them much good now." Bedard also noted Foxworth looked "as puzzled as anyone about the cap being flat" through '15. Foxworth: "I’m being careful not to say anything, but I think anyone with a brain in their head thinks that the NFL is going to continue to be lucrative." Bedard wrote, "So right now, the NFL’s numbers are the leaders in the clubhouse. We’ll see if they’re knocked down, and whether the players stand to make a bundle from 2016 to 2020 to offset the losses in the near term. They had better. Right now, it looks like the players lost in the deal, and the whole nightmare of a lockout was really unnecessary." Meanwhile, Foxworth is "looking to widen the players’ economic reach through endorsement deals for the NFLPA." He said, "We haven’t been able to monetize and capitalize on our true value. While the NFL does a great job of capitalizing on the official soft drink of the NFL, we don’t do a good job of that. That’s one of my big drives" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/8).

JUST SAY NO: In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz wrote, "This is what I don't understand: Why have players been dragging their oversized feet for more than a year on human growth hormone (HGH) testing?" Kravitz: "I blame the players, who don't respect one another enough to eradicate a performance-enhancing drug that is part and parcel of their game" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 4/9).

GOOD FOR THE SHIELD? In Miami, Dan Le Batard wrote the Saints bounty story has been "prepared and packaged for our consumption by the NFL." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "clearly wants this in the news." He "wants people to be shocked and outraged and clucking." Le Batard: "And, yes, safety is his primary concern ... if by that you mean keeping his league safe from lawsuits. This is all a shield for his shield." If Goodell had "wanted this story to be about merely safety and punishment and protecting the league from bad publicity, he would have done it more privately, and punished everyone at once so that it would stay in the news for a couple of days instead of a couple of months." But there is "one thing the NFL cares about far more than player safety, image or anything else: the dollar" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/8).
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