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Author Topic: 2011 lockout?  (Read 4979 times)
raptorsfan29
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« on: February 05, 2010, 07:59:00 am »

I decided to start this discussion because of it being a real possibility,

A few questions i was pondering,

- What would everyone do without football.
- What would happen to football the season after a lockout, it toke awhile for baseball to recover, would football be the same?

Smith: NFL to get $5B without playing
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Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The question to DeMaurice Smith was simple, coming from Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco, asking how serious he viewed the possibility of football not being played in 2011.

Smith did not hesitate.

"On a scale of 1 to 10," Smith said Thursday, "it's a 14."

With that, the executive director of the NFL Players Association painted perhaps the bleakest picture yet regarding prospects of labor strife in the league, which could be looking at a 2010 season with no salary cap and, if the collective bargaining agreement expires as scheduled in March 2011, a lockout that year.

"I keep coming back to an economic model in America that is unparalleled," said Smith, who often repeated phrases for emphasis. "And that makes it incredibly difficult to then come to players and say, on average, each of you needs to take a $340,000 pay cut to save the National Football League. Tough sell. Tough sell."

Smith said the NFL would receive $5 billion from its network television deals even if no games are played in 2011. He regarded that as proof owners are preparing for a lockout.

    “ Saturday We've told them, 'Don't go out and buy a new boat. Don't go out and buy a new car. Pay off whatever debts you have.' These are things we've been learning from history.
    ” -- Colts C Jeff Saturday on how players should prepare for a lockout.

"Has any one of the prior deals included $5 billion to not play football?" Smith asked, referring to previous contracts that were extended or redone. "The answer's no."

Some of Smith's nearly hour-long question-and-answer session during Super Bowl week was spent reiterating past claims, such as team values increasing "almost 500 percent" over the last 15 years. There was also a call to have all 32 NFL teams open their books to show who was losing money and how much.

Smith also said he wanted teams to contribute what, ultimately, would be millions into what he called "a legacy fund" that would better support retired players.

Most of his focus, however, was on getting a new CBA.

"I really and truly in my heart believe we'll get a deal done," NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said. "But there's going to have to be some give and some take and not just taking from one side all the way."

The league's response, in part, said that teams like the Green Bay Packers -- whose audited financial statements are the only ones the union said it has seen -- have had a 40 percent decline in profits.

"In most businesses, that would be a serious cause for concern," said Jeff Pash, the NFL's executive vice president and chief counsel. "It would indicate a serious issue that has to be dealt with. You look at your single largest expense, which is player costs."

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, whom the Colts are planning to soon give a new contract that would make him the league's highest-paid player, acknowledged that he has concerns.

"I think as a player, I feel we have a pretty good thing going right now in the NFL," Manning said Thursday. "It would a shame for something to have to change along those lines. I understand kind of like when a player is holding out or a player contract, there is a business side of this that can be tough. It is not always pretty."

Smith said the latest NFL offer to the players would reduce their share to 41 percent of applied revenues from about 59 percent. He emphasized that the teams take $1 billion off the top of the estimated $8 billion the league generates.

Pash argued that the $1 billion reflects actual costs incurred, money "invested in things like NFL Network, NFL.com, putting games on overseas, all of which is intended to and has in fact had the effect of generating substantial additional revenues, 50 percent of which go to NFL players. And the union knows that's true, because the union has absolute rights to audit those expenses."

Echoing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Pash said Smith's assertion that players are being asked to accept an 18 percent pay cut -- the $340,000 per-player-average figure -- was among the "misrepresentations of what our proposal is."

"We have never said it would result in players having to take a reduction," Pash said. "The entire point here is to generate a pool of resources to have continued investment and continued growth, which would lead to higher salaries and benefits for players."

For now, some players say they're bracing for issues. Mawae said he even has recommended players save 25 percent of their salary next season "in the event of a lockout," though he noted "we can't make all 1,900 players save their money."

"We've told them, 'Don't go out and buy a new boat. Don't go out and buy a new car. Pay off whatever debts you have,' " said Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts. "These are things we've been learning from history."

Smith and Mawae said that if next season goes forward with no salary cap, it would be highly unlikely to have a new CBA with a cap reinstated.

"Virtually impossible," Smith said.

"A very difficult task," Mawae said.

Asked about the owners' assertion that the 18 percent pay cut request was false, Mawae said did not hold back:

"That is not true," he said. "That is absolutely true they've asked for 18 percent."

Meantime, the union is increasing dues for now with the idea of returning the money as income to players, if needed, during a lockout.

"Our guys get it," Mawae said. "Our guys understand."
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Cathal
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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2010, 09:15:18 am »

I'm not as fully educated about what's going on as most of you, but from my viewpoint, I look at the players and go "Wahhh". Oh no, I can't buy that luxury boat anymore. Reminds me of that South Park episode about the kids downloading music illegaly and then seeing how Brittany Spears can't afford that gold plated jet.
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Phishfan
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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2010, 09:30:23 am »

I really need more research before I can comment on this. The only thing I can say is that both sides seem to be taking the hard ground at this point. Neither sounds like they are giving much if any at all and negotiations never go well that way.
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jtex316
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 10:48:43 am »

Whatever.

The NFL isn't going to end. Period. You WILL see NFL Football in 2011 and every year thereafter. There is 0% chance that there will not be any NFL Football in 2011.

Nothing to worry about here.
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fyo
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 12:17:16 pm »

Not. Going. To. Happen.

There's going to be a lot of posturing, bickering, arguing points in the press ad nauseam, but come September 2011, there'll be football again featuring all our favorite players (with the possible exception of Favre, who still won't have decided whether to retire or not).

I don't see a deal getting done in time to avoid an uncapped 2010. It actually seems like both sides want to use this chance to explore what everything will look like uncapped. That experience will help guide the negotiations of a new CBA.

As for the percentage of revenues, the current 59% figure is completely unrealistic and the players need to accept that. It was based on the assumption of cheap credit to finance investments.

If you look at the publicly available financial information of teams (Forbes does a nice yearly review which I'm too lazy to dig up now), you'll see that ALL teams carry a significant amount of debt and a lot of that is short term debt that has to be "rolled over" and is thus very sensitive to changes in the credit market. And, let's face it, the credit market today doesn't exactly look anything like what was envisioned 5 years ago. That fact prompted owners to opt out of the CBA, resulting in the situation we have today.
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YoFuggedaboutit
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 01:34:44 pm »

Last time we had a strike shortened season was 1987, before that it was 1982.  That said, the NFL has the longest streak of non-strike shortened seasons.  Here's to hoping it stays that way.
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fyo
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 05:25:38 pm »

The numbers being bandied about don't quite add up, so it's hard to know exactly how big a slice the players would likely have to accept for a deal to be reached, but the final deal is likely going to include elements like:

1. Rookie wage scale. First round picks receive > $5M a year on average. Look for that figure to come down. The savings won't be huge, probably only on the order of $50M league-wide a year, but it has a lot of symbolic value and the owners really want something here. The paying of huge amounts of money to players who haven't proven themselves isn't popular. There could even be a cap on percentage of money that can be guaranteed. One way to sweeten the deal for the players is to lop a year off the first contract (4 years instead of 5 for most 1st round players).

2. Some NFLPA control (or at least input) of the $1B investment pool.

3. More owners money to retired players "in need". This will happen simply because the PR backlash would be astounding if the NFLPA played their cards right.

4. Freezing of the league minimum wages, especially those of veterans. The NFLPA also has an interest in this, bizarrely, since the gap between a veteran and a younger player is so big today that it's forcing out arguably better players in favor of cheaper players.
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StL FinFan
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 06:16:59 pm »

I think the NFL would learn from baseball and hockey and make sure it does not happen.
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YoFuggedaboutit
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 07:36:30 pm »

The numbers being bandied about don't quite add up, so it's hard to know exactly how big a slice the players would likely have to accept for a deal to be reached, but the final deal is likely going to include elements like:

1. Rookie wage scale. First round picks receive > $5M a year on average. Look for that figure to come down. The savings won't be huge, probably only on the order of $50M league-wide a year, but it has a lot of symbolic value and the owners really want something here. The paying of huge amounts of money to players who haven't proven themselves isn't popular. There could even be a cap on percentage of money that can be guaranteed. One way to sweeten the deal for the players is to lop a year off the first contract (4 years instead of 5 for most 1st round players).

2. Some NFLPA control (or at least input) of the $1B investment pool.

3. More owners money to retired players "in need". This will happen simply because the PR backlash would be astounding if the NFLPA played their cards right.

4. Freezing of the league minimum wages, especially those of veterans. The NFLPA also has an interest in this, bizarrely, since the gap between a veteran and a younger player is so big today that it's forcing out arguably better players in favor of cheaper players.

1.  This I totally agree with.  Those $20 million signing bonuses and $50 million contracts to top draft picks have to stop immediately.  Because of this, and the fact that if you cut the player, it accelerates his bonus and cripples your salary cap, there are some teams that are mired in suckitude.   There needs to be a rookie wage scale similar to the NBA's.  Give the big contract to the guys who have proven themselves. 

2.  I haven't heard anything about an investment pool so I have no comment here. 

3.  In addition to the owners chipping in more money for retired players in need, how about creating an  "NFL Social Security" network where a player is required to set aside a percentage of his salary to use when he is not playing anymore.  That way, if there is a financial or medical hardship, the player's got some money to fall back on. 

4.  I totally agree with this one as well.  A longtime journeyman vet can make seven figures.  That needs to stop.  Currently, the league minimum for a rookie is $310,000.  I propose this scale for league minimums and it is based on the number of years in the league:

1-5 years- $310,000

5-10 years- $430,000

10-15 years- $550,000

15+ years- $700,000


And let me add one more idea to the pot:

5.  INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE.   All contracts, especially rookie contracts, should come with an insurance policy, paid for by the team, that will shell out seven figure money in the event that the player sustains a career ending injury.  Additionally, the NFL should set up an insurance program that will cover retired players who are having medical issues due to their football playing days. 
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BigDaddyFin
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2010, 10:19:07 pm »

I saw the interview Smith gave on NFL network.  Based on what I heard that came out of his mouth, he was trying to negotiate will still asserting himself.

1. The NFL may have a guaranteed clause in the contract that pays them money even if there are no games played.  Why would they do this?  Naturally they are anticipating the possibility of a strike, just as Smith is anticipating the possibility of a lockout.  How much commercial time did the NFL buy in advance for all the beer commercials and the NFL.com commercials etc.?  Don't you think they're going to have some kind of guarantee built in there if those commercials don't air?  Besides what group of owners that you know is going to be happy with the $5 billion he keeps quoting, when they could avoid the work stoppage and make $50 billion? 

2. The Ghost of Gene Upshaw.  I've heard Bryant Gumbel and others comment that Gene was Paul Tagliabue's yes man.  Smith obviously is trying to assert/posture that he will not be the yes man.  The problem is that you don't assert yourself against Paul Tagliabue or in contrast to Gene Upshaw as neither is still there.   Does Smith have a weaker hand than he wants us to know about at negotiating time?  If Gene Upshaw was so terrible, why didn't the players get rid of him as their union rep? I wonder because...

3. Why is he demanding to see every team's books and open them publicly in front of the other owners?  If this were a business, they'd release a financial earnings report or something similar at the end of the year.  But what's so special about these goddamn books that he must be allowed to look in them?  Don't the teams release this information to their shareholders anyways?  Even these privately owned teams have shareholders don't they?  I know the Dolphins and Packers do, so what the fuck is the big mystery? 

4. Why is he whining about the NFL hiring a consultant?  He claims that the NFL hired the same firm/person to do the negotiating that served similar capacities with the NHL when they went on strike.  Well if there's the possibility of a strike or lockout, wouldn't it be normal for a company to hire someone who has been through a strike/lockout already and knows what the hell to do about one? 

5. What's this anti-trust crap?  All major leagues are exempt from trust laws.  Baseball, hockey, football, Basketball, NASCAR, you name it.  None of them have any other competition.  So why go on TV like the NFL is so unique and complain about it? 

6. What about the retired players?  I haven't heard a thing come out of his mouth about what benefits retired players would get.  It was such a big deal before that they brought Ditka to capital hill to talk about it before a congressional committee.  He has yet to mention what's in it for the old timers who didn't make that much, have these massive medical bills and are now broke.  Did they settle this yet?  Is he even going to bring it up as part of the new agreement?

I know a lot of this is his job.  He's supposed to be the player's guard dog come CBA time, but it doesn't make any sense to me to go on NFL network and complain about it like that.  Maybe this is part of negotiating but who the hell knows? 
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fyo
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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2010, 07:05:26 am »

3. Why is he demanding to see every team's books and open them publicly in front of the other owners?

Nothing new here. The NFLPA have demanded that teams open up their books FOR YEARS. The reason they want this is two-fold: They want to make sure all revenue is properly accounted for (this is the cake they get a slice from, so they want to be sure the size is accurate) and they want to know how far they can push the owners (huge profits --> we want more money).

Quote
5. What's this anti-trust crap?  All major leagues are exempt from trust laws.  Baseball, hockey, football, Basketball, NASCAR, you name it.  None of them have any other competition.  So why go on TV like the NFL is so unique and complain about it? 

This is a standard issue as well. The NFLPA threaten to challenge the NFL's anti trust exemption, the NFL do something to placate the NFLPA.

Quote
6. What about the retired players?  I haven't heard a thing come out of his mouth about what benefits retired players would get. [...]  Did they settle this yet?  Is he even going to bring it up as part of the new agreement?

He's talked about it, but also openly admitted that he considers other issues more urgent. Everyone recognizes that something will happen here, but no one wants to play this particular card yet. The NFLPA doesn't WANT this settled yet. They want to be able to play this card when the negotiations begin in earnest.
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fyo
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2010, 08:30:59 am »

2.  I haven't heard anything about an investment pool so I have no comment here. 

The term is probably not accurate. I'm simply referring to the $1B referenced above that the owners get to take out of the total revenues before the players get their percentage. This is money that's used to "grow" the league and the current CBA allows the money to be subtracted from the total revenue with the assumption that it results in higher future revenues (and thus a bigger cake).

It makes a certain amount of sense that the players would want some kind of influence on these investments (since they are effectively paying for about half of it). Or at least some sort of official input.
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MyGodWearsAHoodie
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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2010, 08:47:13 am »

it would be incredably stupid for both the owners and players to have a work stoppage.  But never underestermate the abality of greedy people to do stupid stuff....see Crabtree. 
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Spider-Dan
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2010, 01:04:25 pm »

5. What's this anti-trust crap?  All major leagues are exempt from trust laws.  Baseball, hockey, football, Basketball, NASCAR, you name it.  None of them have any other competition.  So why go on TV like the NFL is so unique and complain about it? 
Only MLB has an anti-trust exemption.  In the other leagues, the teams all act as one collective unit; e.g. television contracts are negotiated for the NFL/NBA/NHL as a whole, not for individual teams as in MLB.
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BigDaddyFin
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 02:10:50 am »

His whole approach doesn't make any sense to me is all.  So if all this is retread arguments and he's muttering standard issue, why would he say the following (with my paraphrasing)

reporter: on a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say the likelihood of a work stoppage is?
Smith: 14.

to my way of thinking, you don't bring out standard issue grievances and then answer a question like that unless you've already decided to go on strike.  If that's the way you're answering public interviews and then the NFL calls your bluff and you back down, you'll never regain leverage later.  Whatever the players union/Smith thinks they're doing, I don't see how it will work in their favor when negotiations actually begin.
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