For months, the NFLPA has been asking the league to explain the basis for its desire to change the financial terms of the current labor deal.
For months, the NFL has tried to create the impression that teams are losing money without saying that teams are losing money.
The reason for the high-stakes high-wire act is simple — if the league claims that teams are not making money, the league might be forced to disclose comprehensive financial information regarding the individual franchises.
On Wednesday, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti gave the union its clearest piece of evidence to support an attempt to compel full financial disclosure. Per the Associated Press, Bisciotti said during a season-ending press conference that several owners are facing financial shortfalls that could create “long-term problems for the league,” and he reportedly “insisted” that several teams are struggling to finish in the black.
Annnnnnd that’s why the NFL fined Cowboys Jerry Jones $100,000 in September.
Previously, the league had done a great job of avoiding the articulation of financial problems. Whether Bisciotti’s words are enough to allow the union to prevail in legal proceedings aimed at prying loose the financial data remains to be seen; given the union’s ongoing requests for that information, we’d be surprised if the NFLPA doesn’t make Bisciotti’s remarks the centerpiece of precisely such an effort.