A handful of NFL owners and almost the entire NFLPA exec committee were in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and they "spent roughly five hours with each other in a hotel" for early CBA discussions, according to Albert Breer of THE MMQB. The meeting "stands as the first major action" ahead of the '21 expiration of the current CBA, and it "sets a better tone" than the last negotiations, which led to the '11 lockout. Nine years ago, it "seemed everyone was spoiling for a fight." However, it is "not like that right now." Breer: "This meeting getting off to a good start is, well, a good start." In the last few months, officials from the league and union offices "started dialogue on secondary issues related to the CBA in order to lay groundwork for the bigger, more important negotiations." Both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith attended the meeting in Minneapolis. Among the owners making it were the Cowboys' Jerry Jones, Giants' John Mara, Chargers' Dean Spanos, Chiefs' Clark Hunt and Steelers' Art Rooney. NFLPA President Eric Winston also was among the union execs attending the meeting. Breer noted early indications are that, "aside from setting up the media deals, stadium credits are going to be important for owners." As for the players, the percentage of total revenue "will be the priority" (SI.com, 4/11).
POWERFUL PROTECTION: The AP's Barry Wilner reports NFL and NFLPA officials are "encouraged by the improvements in helmet safety," as the two groups on Friday announced six of 11 new helmets tested this year "moved into the top-10 rated models." Vicis Zero1 "graded best" for the third straight year. Vicis "doubled the number of NFL players using Zero1" from '17 to '18 -- 135 players, including Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, donned the helmet last year (AP, 4/12).
No one is "better suited to showcase the NBA's next generation" than Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo, though he "doesn't relish being a celebrity," according to Nancy Armour of USA TODAY. However, Antetokounmpo "isn't sullen about his growing stardom" and is "engaging in interviews, with a sly wit and wide, infectious smile." His commercial profile, "relatively small until now, is about to expand," with Nike set to "release his first signature shoe" during the NBA Playoffs. Antetokounmpo is an "object of almost universal affection," and Milwaukee's "most unexpected favorite son and the NBA's fast-rising star." Men and women, of "all races and ages, proudly wear his jersey -- home, road and city." Others are "clad in T-shirts with his name, or maybe just his number -- 34" (USA TODAY, 4/12).
MLB on Friday is unveiling its ’19 set of holiday and special event uniforms, continuing special commemorations for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and July 4th that have been held in recent years. One difference is this year’s set will include a recognition of Armed Forces Day on May 18 to honor military members and their families with camouflage-designed caps instead of a uniform commemoration for Memorial Day, along with a retail component. Memorial Day recognitions within the league now will include a moment of remembrance and poppy patches placed on player jerseys and caps, but those items for that day will not be sold. The special event uniforms this year will also include awareness patches on the left chest that are connected to each of the respective tributes, such as a pink ribbon for Mother’s Day, and a stars & stripes silhouetted bat for Armed Forces Day. Like last year, several new cap and sock designs were developed with Authentic Collection partners New Era and Stance. Royalties from the special event uniform sales will again be donated to the Susan G. Komen organization, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and MLB Charities. Jerseys for the All-Star Futures Game and Workout Day in Cleveland in July, meanwhile, will include the first sleeveless, vest-styled designs since the ’00 Home Run Derby.