SBJ/Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2011/In Depth

NFL labor: The issues

ECONOMIC
NFL:
Complains that the cost of building stadiums and investing in other football-related business has driven team profit margins down to the low single digits, notwithstanding more than $9 billion in league revenue. Proposes shaving 18 percent off the pool of money calculated for the salary cap.
NFLPA: Wants the audited financial statements of the league to prove expenses are rising faster than revenue, and to show that those expenses truly are revenue generators. Points to continued record revenue deals for the league.

18-GAME SEASON
NFL:
Wants to eliminate two preseason games and replace them with two regular-season games. Contends its research shows that injuries would not rise significantly with the extra meaningful games. Says the added revenue could also help solve the core economic issue.
NFLPA: Believes injuries already are a major concern, as the league is cracking down on dangerous hits and treating concussions seriously. So it asks why the league wants to add games.

ROOKIE WAGE SCALE
NFL:
Says paying tens of millions of dollars to unproven rookies makes no sense, and like in the NBA, calls for a slotted system so each pick already knows what he gets.
NFLPA: Under DeMaurice Smith, has switched its position from the old leadership, which opposed rookie pay restraints. However, in return proposes that maximum rookie contracts be three years, while the league wants to stick to a minimum of five.

PLAYER FINES
NFL:
Commissioner Roger Goodell has made his name in part for enforcing penalties for off-field behavior, and recently for on-field behavior. The current CBA gives him great authority to do so.
NFLPA: Believes the commissioner has too much power under the current system.

FEDERAL OVERSIGHT
NFL:
Believes that federal supervision of the labor deal since 1993 is no longer necessary and that the two sides can resolve their differences without federal judicial interference.
NFLPA: Says federal judicial oversight remains necessary and has proved effective at settling disputes between the two sides that they otherwise could not.

REVENUE SHARING
NFL:
Five years ago the union made supplemental revenue sharing a requirement of a new deal, the theory being that low-revenue clubs need the extra cash to afford the higher labor costs. Now the league says the issue is none of the union’s business.
NFLPA: Confronted with a steep pay cut proposal from the league, the union has not specifically made an issue of insisting supplemental revenue sharing be part of the new system. But it’s no secret it believes the real issue is not how much is paid the players, but the divide between high- and low-revenue clubs.
— Compiled by Daniel Kaplan

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