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Old 03-12-2011, 11:47 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports...7161607.column
When NFL dust settles, owners still will be rich and the players will have gained … what?

March 13, 2011

In trying to absorb the avoidable antitrust lawsuit filed Friday under Tom Brady vs. the NFL that preceded the league's first work stoppage in 24 years, one thought won't go away. (Well now I have another reason to hate the Gayby. - mesa)

Maybe it's time the NFL players considered putting their names behind another signal-caller. And I don't mean Brady's fellow plaintiffs Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. (Two more losers. - mesa)

If DeMaurice Smith, the leader of the now-decertified NFL Players Association, showed as much interest in making a deal as he seemed to have in making history, perhaps we would be debating who got the best of whom in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Instead, 1000 Football Drive leading to Halas Hall has become 2011 Lockout Lane, and Smith as much as anybody steered the sport down an uncharted road that looks bumpy.

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"We're disappointed in the need to take this step, but it is necessary for the long-term health of our league,'' Bears President Ted Phillips said in a statement about the NFL's lockout. "Ultimately we believe an agreement will be reached at the bargaining table.''

Forcing the dispute into a courtroom only threatens to cure our national addiction to the NFL.

In football parlance, all the players needed Smith to do was manage the game. Be Kyle Orton in a $5,000 suit and keep the chains moving. Based on reports, Smith insisted on trying to force the big play. The only people dancing in the end zone now are Washington law partners. Who has David Boies in the Fantasy Football Lawyers League anyway?

The players didn't need Smith's inappropriate analogies to war or 11th-hour ultimatums. They needed perspective. They needed compromise; they got confrontation over money.

Smith's risky decision to establish leverage by decertifying the union and turning this into a protracted courtroom battle ignored the league's last-ditch proposal that addressed critical player concerns. The NFL said the offer Smith walked away from included the following:

1) Maintaining a 16-game schedule through 2012; 2) implementing a rookie wage scale and funneling savings to veterans and retired players; 3) cutting the number of offseason workouts and organized team activities; and 4) contributing $82 million into a fund for retired players and offering current players lifetime health coverage.

The league also vowed to disclose limited audited profitability information and reduce the money owners should be given off the top of league revenues from $1 billion to $325 million. A lawyer for the former NFLPA responded by saying the league had "lied.''

That's always a possibility. The NFL spins better than a new toy on Christmas morning. Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners deserve a measure of blame for not doing a better job of building or earning trust. But lost in Friday's inflamed rhetoric assessing the failure were two key points.

•If current players really wanted to do something profound for those before and after them, they would have focused on the league's offer of lifetime health coverage and increased retirement benefits instead of the disparity in profit. That's sacrifice in the name of something.

•Smith consistently sought to present the players as partners in the league with the owners. As much as the ability and charisma of players have put America's most popular sport at its apex, they are employees. The owners are employers.

Players and owners aren't partners on equal footing. Without the NFL, most owners still would be filthy rich. Dare I suggest you can't say the same about many of the 1,900 players.

That doesn't mean players need to take a deal on terms the owners dictate. But it should mean players recognize they benefit from the opportunities the NFL provides more than these negotiations have shown.

The lack of trust between players and owners is nearly as old as the league itself. But before Friday, the league never had been healthier. Players never had been richer. The game never had been better. Everybody was, duh, winning.

Workers in this union aren't being oppressed. The average NFL salary in 2010 was $1.9 million. Sure, it's a violent sport, but the NFL's final offer improving short- and long-term health coverage reflected that reality.

"A deal will get done, and we expect to play football in 2011,'' Phillips said.

I want to believe Phillips. Just as I will want to believe the next player who swears he's playing for the love of the game.

But as long as Smith remains in a position of influence with players whose best interests he claims to represent, I will have my doubts.

Last edited by mesaSteeler; 03-13-2011 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

i cant see the problem here. the players are paid more then fair. they should be happy they make millions playing a sport that we all play sometimes as fun.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

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i cant see the problem here. the players are paid more then fair. they should be happy they make millions playing a sport that we all play sometimes as fun.
Owners are asking for givebacks - given how much the league is making would you agree to roll back an agreement you had negotiated 4 years ago if your employer was trying to force you to do it?
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

hmm, interesting article...as i thought myself that the player rep was going WAYYYYYYYY overboard in both demands and attitude. I kept saying "who does this guy think he friggin' is??".
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

Upshaw is rolling in his grave right now.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

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Upshaw is rolling in his grave right now.


you're right. I think he would have made a more fair play with the owners and would have tried to avoid any kind of stoppage.
This new guy's head is in the clouds and needs to come back down to earth.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

Maybe the owners should have put the offer they allege was made in the last several days on the table in 2010?

For someone who is "overplaying his hand" by resorting to litigation (as opposed to ever so reasonable owners who appealed the American Needle case they won to the Supreme Court and got smoked in a 9-0 decision) it certainly appears that the owners only got serious about negotiating after Smith & the NFLPA "resorted to litigation" and Judge Doty blew up the owners strategy of renegotiating TV contracts to bank that money as a war chest to ride out a lockout.

SC Mom - I always respect your opinions and would be interested as to why you think Gene Upshaw would be rolling over in his grave because the NFLPA is seeking to preserve the terms of a CBA he negotiated which the owners are attempting to cut back?

Today's NYT article indicates that, contrary to the article that started this thread, there apparently is blame to be placed on both sides

“This is no different than any other industry where the parties scare each other with lawsuits,” said Gabe Feldman, the director of the sports law program at Tulane University Law School. “There’s a lot of time between now and a true litigation Armageddon. They’re not fighting over a fundamental shift in the sport. It’s still just a dollars issue, and if you’re fighting over $500 million, that seems like a lot, but not relative to the $9 billion you’d be giving up by not playing,” he said, referring to the N.F.L.’s revenue last year.
...

Players’ positions had hardened in part by what they considered an indication that owners did not respect them: few owners were directly involved in negotiations, and on Thursday, players were particularly upset that they never negotiated face-to-face with the owners’ full labor committee. ...

“The parties are going to get their money’s worth out of their lawyers,” Feldman said. “It’s uncharted, complex territory. That’s why I think there can be reason for optimism, because neither side can be too comfortable with their positions. There is enough risk on both sides to get them back to the table.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/sp...r=1&ref=sports
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

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i cant see the problem here. the players are paid more then fair. they should be happy they make millions playing a sport that we all play sometimes as fun.
Which is a testament to how little you understand. While the players make impressive wages, blame Capitalism, not them.

This is a money-making business, and the players are arguing for what they determine as fair in this. Can we trust what they say? Not really, nor the owners. But if you think what you and your family do is even remotely close to what these players do, I'm afraid you need to read a bit more.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

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Which is a testament to how little you understand. While the players make impressive wages, blame Capitalism, not them.

This is a money-making business, and the players are arguing for what they determine as fair in this. Can we trust what they say? Not really, nor the owners. But if you think what you and your family do is even remotely close to what these players do, I'm afraid you need to read a bit more.
your insane. if i tell my company that the 100 workers in our office want 20% raises because the company made 2 billion last year i would be out of a job. your freaking nuts if you think the players deserve a raise. this is a business and thats how businesses work.

let me ask you this, if the owners take a major loss can they cut every players salery? hell no. there the owners and the players make more then enough. you got to be out of your freaking mind if you belive tom brady or whoever deserves a raise for playing 1 football games a year. get a clue my man

oh yea one more thing, maybe you dont work but there are alot of people who work alot harder then a football player and make alot less. go get a job in a coal mine and bust your ass for 12 hour shifts for 32 grand a year and come back and talk to me. better yet go join the marines and see how you feel after making 29 grand a year as a private. your out of your mind brother
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Old 03-13-2011, 09:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Union chief's ego gets in way as he overplays players' hand

It makes me sick and im sure most of you agree, what these players make on their measly 5-10 mill contracts (some more) but im goin with averages here. I watched the episode with Bryan Gumble on HBO about past NFL players that are broke after retirement. The one guy was a former player from the Tampa Bay Bucks....The guy had 3 houses, spent ungodly amount on fancy cars and gambling. And now he's on tv crying he's broke. Sorry my friend i really dont feel bad for ya. Like Pete said, try workin on our salary at a mere 29g's a year. Give me a few million i bet i can make it last a lifetime, but then again us common folk know we would have to make it last! Im not sayin players dont deserve to make good money but maybe they should be required to take a money management class or something if they dont allready do. You'd be surprised at how many players dont think about their future, its all about the here n now.
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