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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

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NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

By HOWARD FENDRICH
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 3, 2011; 9:20 AM


WASHINGTON -- Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL's negotiating team arrived at a federal mediator's headquarters Thursday morning, with the clock ticking down to the midnight expiration of the league's collective bargaining agreement.

Staring at the first pro football work stoppage since 1987, Goodell said Thursday morning, "We're working hard."

Also on hand for the NFL were lead negotiator Jeff Pash, outside counsel Bob Batterman, New York Giants owner John Mara, Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy, Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and several other league executives. Mara and Murphy are members of the league's labor committee, which has the authority to call for a lockout if a new agreement isn't reached by midnight.

"We'll stay at it as long as it takes," Pash said before the 10th mediation session at the offices of George Cohen.

Union negotiators were expected to arrive soon after the NFL contingent.

The NFL and the players' union no longer have months or weeks or days to reach a new CBA. If they don't get it done now, a work stoppage is almost a certainty. America's most popular sport could see its 2011 season jeopardized.

Neither side is making optimistic proclamations.

"We're talking," union president Kevin Mawae said Wednesday. "It's better than not talking."

Are they making progress that could lead to a settlement in a dispute that involves $9 billion in revenues?

"I never have expectations, except to have A, B, C, D and E, and to always plan for F," Indianapolis Colts owner Jimmy Irsay said. "It changes. A chessboard that moves around and things happen at unusual hours."

Including, perhaps, in the final hours before the NFL could lock out the players, or the union could decertify. An extension of the deadline is possible, too.

The owners didn't spend much time discussing where the negotiations stood Wednesday, cutting their planned two-day meeting to a three-hour affair at a suburban hotel. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, both members of the labor committee, headed home rather than stick around for further talks with the union.

"We can't comment, and even more so, we're certainly still involved in our dialogue, and so there is no comment," Jones said.

Two people with knowledge of the NFL Players Association's plans told The Associated Press the union was prepared to decertify Thursday, barring a last-minute breakthrough. That action means the union no longer would represent the players, who would be giving up their rights under labor law and instead take their chances in court under antitrust law. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the union had not made its plans public.

There was a flurry of activity Wednesday: a four-hour mediation session attended by all 10 members of the owners' labor committee, Mawae and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees; the three-hour owners meeting at a hotel 25 miles away in Chantilly, Va.; a one-hour meeting of the league's labor committee immediately after the owners broke up; the cancellation of another planned gathering of owners Thursday; and a private visit with Cohen starting at 8 p.m. by Goodell, two top league lawyers, Mara and Murphy.

Mara - the first owner to attend the nine days of mediation, on Tuesday - and Murphy left at 9:30 p.m., followed shortly by Goodell, Pash and Batterman.

"Long day," Mara said.

Asked the purpose of the 1 1/2-hour evening meeting with Cohen, Pash said: "To speak with the mediator and get some direction."

Irsay said the owners welcomed the opportunity to be updated on negotiations, but there was little reason for them to remain in Washington as the deadline approaches. "We had the chance to ask questions, but we didn't break with a lockout vote or anything like that," Irsay said.

Labor committee members who attended the talks Wednesday were: Mara, Murphy, Kraft, Jones, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers, Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Brown of Cincinnati Bengals, Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers, and Pat Bowlen of the Denver Broncos.

Brees, a member of the NFLPA executive committee, and Mawae hadn't attended this round of mediated negotiations, which began Feb. 18. But now all members of the union's executive committee have been present at least once.

Because Cohen told both sides to stay silent publicly about the current talks, no one has revealed any specifics about what progress might have been made.

The biggest sticking point all along has been how to divide the league's revenues, including what cut team owners should get up front to help cover certain costs, such as stadium construction. Under the old deal, owners received about $1 billion off the top. They entered these negotiations seeking to add another $1 billion to that.

Among the other significant topics: a rookie wage scale; the owners' push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games; and benefits for retired players.

Cohen said last week that the sides were far apart on the core issues.

By the end of Thursday, more will be known about exactly how far apart.

"I don't want to put any certainty on what this evening might bring or tomorrow might bring," Irsay said Wednesday. "It's really, truly hard to predict. These things change."

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 10:33 AM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

personally i would like to see a lock out...

these guys are hired players making hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions per year and now they want a raise...

gimme a break, they could go work in factory somewhere for $15.00 an hour and see how they like that.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 04:19 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

for me its a fine line, if the players , who risk their lives and bodies aint getting the millions, it will be the billionaire owners making all the cash...its not like they spend all their billions building new and improved sports stadiums... thats left up to we the taxparers.....so the players should get large salaries.one thing i will say i do not agree with what first round rookies who never played a down in the nfl get such ridiculous contracts....they should be something like 1 million base for first rounder with incentives to earn much more...depending on performance ...if they lock-out they can have the game im done with it...
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 09:10 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

a MILLION for the first year, more like $100,000.00

prove youre worth a million, then prove more...

a cop risks his life daily, our soldiers risk their life evry minute for far less than a hundred thousand.

i will never agree on the absurd salaries paid to these guys.

i would like to see a clause in their contracts, get found guilty of illegal drugs or any felony conviction and your out for life.

no pension, no benefits, no more pay, no contract buy out,no hall of fame, no sports of any kind for life, youre out on the spot the instant the judges gavel hits the bench...

BAM...the end.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 09:11 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

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Originally Posted by coyoterook
for me its a fine line, if the players , who risk their lives and bodies aint getting the millions, it will be the billionaire owners making all the cash...its not like they spend all their billions building new and improved sports stadiums... thats left up to we the taxparers.....so the players should get large salaries.one thing i will say i do not agree with what first round rookies who never played a down in the nfl get such ridiculous contracts....they should be something like 1 million base for first rounder with incentives to earn much more...depending on performance ...if they lock-out they can have the game im done with it...

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 10:45 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

Owners have locked out the players. I find it unreal the 1)the two sides can't figure out a good, fair split of $9 billion, and 2)Goodell has a job. He's turned everything he's touched in the NFL into crap, and now he's allowed the first work stoppage in nearly two decades. He needs canned.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 10:56 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

Fire em' all, let em' find real jobs.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 11:16 AM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

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Fire em' all, let em' find real jobs.
I second that. Personally, I'm to the point that I hope they cancel the season. Sitting in front of the fireplace watching a football game ranks up there with some of the best things in life, but I'm tired of all more...more...more attitudes.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 11:50 AM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

With luck, the President will grant Mr. Rooney a bit of time off, and he can return from Ireland to fix Goodell's disaster. He always is able to fix these things. He's one of the few that the players trust, and the league respects. Jerry Jones, not so much. Lets face it, he looks the part of a used car salesman. Dan Snyder. Looks like the weasly investment banker he is. Get Mr. Rooney over here for 4-5 hours, and things will be back to the way they should be.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 04:24 PM
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Re: NFL negotiators arrive for mediation

yea, mr. rooney is just as greedy as the rest of them... i just hope they put some college games on sundays and monday night.... let them all get a job.
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