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Vrabel doesn’t like Kraft’s characterization of labor issues

Linebacker Mike Vrabel spent eight years playing for the New England Patriots, but as a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, Vrabel says he doesn’t like the way Patriots owner Robert Kraft characterizes the relationship between the players and the owners.

Vrabel told the Boston Herald that Kraft “uses words like ‘partnership,’ and he throws the money and the dollars around,” but that Kraft isn’t accurately assessing the situation.

“What we have is not a partnership,” Vrabel said. “If we had a partnership, you would see what we made — they know what we make — and we would see what they made. We don’t have that. So don’t use the word ‘partnership’ or ‘bond’ and all that stuff.”

Vrabel, who was traded from the Patriots to the Chiefs last year, is about to become an unrestricted free agent, and he says he’ll play in 2010, although he doesn’t know where.

He does know, however, that he’ll be involved in the union’s efforts to get a deal done with the owners. And he seems to think those talks will take a long time.

“Is a lot getting done? No,” Vrabel said. “Right now there doesn’t seem to be, as you might say in coachspeak, a great sense of urgency to get anything done.”

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30 Responses to “Vrabel doesn’t like Kraft’s characterization of labor issues”
  1. last starfighter says: Feb 28, 2010 9:01 AM

    He’s exactly right. Why do owners hide the books? And before we get more self-righteous union bashers chiming in just remember this; if it wasn’t for the players union there never would have been free agency and players wouldn’t be able to allow teams to compete for their services in the market place. Some will say the players are being greedy and shouldn’t complain but isn’t that what capitalism is all about after all?

  2. JimmySmith says: Feb 28, 2010 9:04 AM

    Geez, do you think that if Kraft is willing to videotape to cheat your way to three Superbowls that a little hyperbole is not out of the question?

  3. FireJerryJones says: Feb 28, 2010 9:08 AM

    He also says he expects the current free agents to ‘take a hit for the team’…
    Don’t think the guys who are moaning about franchise tags got the memo

  4. Laxer37 says: Feb 28, 2010 9:17 AM

    These guys need to remember they’re the employees. If they think they’re being taken advantage of then go out and see if you can earn a better living doing something else. The owners take all the financial risk so it’s not unfair that they are asking to keep 50% of the earnings. Players need to shut their holes until they’re willing to give part of their salary back when their team builds a stadium, needs some cash to sign a free agent, or realizes they just spent $60 million on a first round draft pick that’s a bust.

  5. PFTiswhatitis says: Feb 28, 2010 9:17 AM

    poor Vrabs never got paid, of course he has that attitude. I love the guy but he fails to see and understand the entire picture.
    For average player that played above his abilities he still managed to make way more than the average american will make in their lifetime and for that reason he should understand that the players do not have it so bad. Mike fails to see the other side and cant appreciate the business end at all. I think he should shut up.

  6. Darth Jay says: Feb 28, 2010 9:28 AM

    Mike Vrabel is an odd cat when it comes to the labor stuff. I remember him saying he also thought that Kraft should be including the money he is making on his retail establishment he’s built on the Gillette Stadium lot because it is called “Patriot Place” and that he is making money off the team there too. It makes no sense, it’s just a random shopping center that happens to make use of land he already owns. If anything, they lose money because of the team every Sunday they play, because NO ONE wants to go shopping around there then and people going to the game pretty much pass it all over.
    I know it’s all posturing by both sides, but Vrabes has some kind of radical ideas…

  7. Bob Buckowski says: Feb 28, 2010 9:32 AM

    The first thing these children need to know is they are not, nor ever will be partners unless they choose to put their own after tax money in to these franchises for shares. That is what a partnership is all about, not just showing up with your talent and saying I want to be a partner and share in your business that you own. Try that at McDonalds or a local car dealership or any business hiring and see what it gets you……the door. Pro players remind me of liberals, it’s great to share as long as I’m not the one being forced to share my stuff……….

  8. schooney says: Feb 28, 2010 9:36 AM

    Leather face Jones needs all the $$$ he can squeeze out of the players to redo his face

  9. Bob Buckowski says: Feb 28, 2010 9:45 AM

    “We want to get the owners cost cuts and cost reductions for things that continue to grow the game – stadiums, capital improvements, scoreboards, suites – so when they invest, we want to invest with them. Because then, we all win,” he said. “We don’t want to have to pay to play. We don’t want to pay to (transport) our team, to practice – things they want us to take ownership of. That to me, those are inherent (costs) to owning a sports team. That’s where we differ right now in opinion.”…….. Vrabel
    So what is your idea of investing/partnering with them Vrabel?
    Showing up with your own football? What a typical union minded douchebag. So somebody lays out $800 million plus to buy a franchise so they can be a partner? Yup…..
    If an employee asked their employer to show them their books first then talk money? It’s no wonder these athletes have trouble with life after the game has passed them………..

  10. 8man says: Feb 28, 2010 9:59 AM

    Hmm. Looks like I’ll be re-stocking my porn collection to have something to watch instead of football in 2011.
    Or I could re-watch the Saints beating the Colts every week.
    “Hey honey. Better watch. There’s about 3 minutes left and Manning has the ball, he’s gonna tie it up…oh wait!”

  11. achain says: Feb 28, 2010 10:04 AM

    I am almost completely ignorant on this subject, but..
    I don’t know how much my employer makes. All I know is that I agreed to the wage and salary that they told me I was going to make when they hired me.
    Should I be bitching about partnerships too, then?

  12. Citizen Strange says: Feb 28, 2010 10:36 AM

    The owners claim they are going broke but won’t open up their books.
    My guess is that their profits are jaw dropping.
    The owners like to play that game where public tax dollars are used to build stadiums for BILLIONAIRES.
    Greedy, greedy, greedy.
    There is no way for the NFLPA to negotiate in good faith unless the owners open their books.

  13. edgy1957 says: Feb 28, 2010 10:42 AM

    But we know that the ownership apologists here won’t be agreeing with Vrabel.

  14. Citizen Strange says: Feb 28, 2010 11:01 AM

    I am almost completely ignorant on this subject, but..
    I don’t know how much my employer makes. All I know is that I agreed to the wage and salary that they told me I was going to make when they hired me.
    Should I be bitching about partnerships too, then?
    …. sigh
    Then there should be no college draft with players coming out of college free to go to the highest bidder and with no salary cap for teams and no anti-trust exempt status for the NFL.

  15. SpartaChris says: Feb 28, 2010 11:28 AM

    I’m not apologizing for the owners, but Vrabel doesn’t have a right to know what they make. I don’t know what my boss makes, you don’t know what your boss makes and they don’t need to know what their boss makes. It’s a negotiation, where both sides will ultimately come to terms with a deal they can live with, same as any employee going to work with a new company does.
    An no, Edgy, no matter how many times you spin it, the players are not going to be having their wages stolen from them, and they are not entitled to any non-football revenue generated by the venue in which they play. Sorry, but that’s purely flawed logic.

  16. CKL says: Feb 28, 2010 11:32 AM

    Citizen Strange says:
    February 28, 2010 10:36 AM
    The owners like to play that game where public tax dollars are used to build stadiums for BILLIONAIRES.
    Greedy, greedy, greedy.
    ________________________________
    You know what…I loved Vrabel as a Patriot and he is a very intelligent guy…but he has no right to complain about Kraft this way because Kraft’s stadium has NO PSLs nor did it use ANY taxpayer money. He is servicing a huge amount of stadium debt OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET.
    De Smith is whipping these guys into a frenzy using misinformation and sensationalization to boot. It’s not good for the future of the NFL.

  17. spudz says: Feb 28, 2010 11:33 AM

    I am sure the owners are making shit piles of cash….
    I am also sure that Vrabel, although a pretty decent football player, needs to shut his mouth as he is a nobody when it comes to negotiations for a new CBA….

  18. patpatriotagain says: Feb 28, 2010 11:45 AM

    achain is an a-****
    of course you don’t know what your employer makes!
    HE’S NOT YOUR PARTNER!! IF HE CALLED YOU HIS PARTNER YOU’D WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE MAKES.
    Vrabel’s point is not that he needs know what kraft makes. Vrabel is saying that league owners are full of **** when they use words like ‘partnership’

  19. erknkc says: Feb 28, 2010 11:51 AM

    uh…you don’t know how much your employer makes because you aren’t his partner. That was the whole point Vrabel was making.

  20. 2brauneyz says: Feb 28, 2010 11:54 AM

    Don’t think Vrabel said that Mr. Kraft didn’t deserve what he makes, but explained the definition of partnership, which clearly does not exist between employer and employee anywhere.
    Stop putting words in his mouth. The focus is on the stalemate in negotiations.

  21. JP says: Feb 28, 2010 11:58 AM

    @ achain:
    “I don’t know how much my employer makes. All I know is that I agreed to the wage and salary that they told me I was going to make when they hired me.
    Should I be bitching about partnerships too, then?”
    I think the difference here is from what I have read, the ownership is asking the players to take a substantial cut in salaries (i.e. cut in the % revenue stream) on the basis that they (the owners) are struggling to make money.
    So a parallel to your situation would be something along the lines of your employer asking you to take a 30% pay cut on the basis that the company was not making money, yet all the while the company refusing to open its books to actually *demonstrate* that it was losing money. Would you go for that? I kinda doubt it.

  22. Realist says: Feb 28, 2010 12:10 PM

    I own a business and there is no way I would ever let my employees know what I make nor is it their right. By the same token, it is their right to take their services elsewhere in a competitive labor market. The NFL is a monopoly; that fact was proven in court – remember the $3 dollars the USFL won? The players cannot take their football playing services elsewhere. There is even a rumor that the NFL is trying to buy the lame UFL just in case.
    The owners like free agency when it comes to blackmailing communities for stadium deals but don’t care for it when it comes to paying their players. This year, free agency is not earned until after the average career ends.
    If the players are paid a percentage of revenue then they are partners regardless of the percentage and the owners should open their books. If not, then Kraft should just shut up. Kraft is more the partner of Jim Irsay than he is of his players.

  23. OrlandoJoe says: Feb 28, 2010 12:54 PM

    I understand it was allegedly Kraft that said partnership but why should there be one. Honestly, did any of Vrabel’s money go to building Gillette Stadium? NO…The owner takes the risk to buy the team, pay the players, build the stadium and pay a staff of hundreds to sell and market the team no to mention the football ops side of the business and the money they make. I don’t know what the owner of my company makes, I agreed on a salary and that was that, get over it Vrabel, enjoy spending your millions over the rest of your life and SHUT UP

  24. bobbyk says: Feb 28, 2010 1:41 PM

    If there’s a strike, I’m going back to baseball. I know they are far from perfect, but at least their strike was over a decade ago. I still follow it a bit, but not the avid fan I used to be… which is what will happen to me and my money on going to football games, NFL ticket, purchasing merchandise, etc. if there is an NFL strike.
    If there is a strike, I would hope that most fans say “f-them,” players AND owners, by not going to games, buying stuff, etc. If there is a strike, I think the fans need to organize a strike when the players/owners finally come to an agreement.
    Nothing would be better than to half empty stadiums for an entire year. Maybe then the owners/players would actually give a sh!t about the fans again.

  25. SFrancis1680 says: Feb 28, 2010 1:42 PM

    Vrabel is right, there not partners, IF these owners are expierencing finacial hardhip, they need to be more transperant and open there books, …the onus is on them, because they opted out of their deal w/the players, IF they don’t want to negiate a deal w/the players, in good faith, the players could seek legal recourse thru the courts, hard to have any sympathy for these owners, knowing they can cut guys loose and not honor contracts

  26. edgy1957 says: Feb 28, 2010 2:31 PM

    SpartaChris, you and your financial “geniuses” don’t know Jack Squat. You talk risk but NOT ONCE have you ever demonstrated that risk. When I’ve asked you and your cronies to do so, no one can. Hell, you guys wouldn’t even venture a guess as to how many people are being employed by the teams on game day (Because, for some reason, you guys seem to think that it’s an enormous cost).
    These very same BOOBS that are running this league were running teams in the Arena League and wait for it – THEY FAILED!
    One of the worst franchises were the Nashville Kats, who had an NFL owner, who couldn’t get the same kind of sweetheart deal that he did with his NFL team (Seems that when OTHER people own the arena, they actually want you to pay rent).
    One after the other, NFL owners in the Arena League didn’t do that well because they didn’t have the same kind of pull with the networks and the arenas like they did with their NFL franchises and that’s because they didn’t have — gasp – the same kind of talent driving the league.
    While they’re telling people like you that they’re having a hard time keeping up with expenses (but then having to back down when the players want to examine their books) and you’re buying it, that WAS a real problem with the Arena League because they didn’t have BILLIONS of dollars at their disposal like they do with the NFL.
    On any given Sunday, the average NFL team generates $4.87 mil in ticket revenue alone while the average Arena League team generated 6% of that. For roughly 1/2 of what they make in ONE GAME, NFL owners could make what would take them 8 games to achieve in the Arena League. Arena League salaries and expenses ate up FAR MORE of their take than the NFL HAS EVER done and while you’d be right to talk about the risk that the owners take with the ARENA LEAGUE, you’re down right foolish to even broach the subject when it comes to the NFL.
    With a few exceptions, these guys have these stadiums built for them – AT NO RISK. Hell, before Jerry Jones ever put up any of his money, the city of Arlington had $297 mil of their $325 mil ready to break ground and the NFL was ready to kick in $150 mil.
    The thing is that many of the stadiums that got torn down could have still served their purposes as stadium BUT it was the extras that got them torn down. Look, Soldier Field and Lambeau Field are both so old that you’d think that they would have been torn down decades ago but all they did was build them up to add in club seats and luxury boxes and they’re good to go for many more years. Without luxury boxes and premium seats (which is revenue that these owners don’t share amongst each other), renovations to their old stadium would have cost the taxpayers even less. These guys aren’t demanding money to help each other but to help themselves.
    It’s goofy people like Jerry Jones that are trying to move away from the business model that made them successful to one where the George Steinbrenner wanna-be takes down the poorer clubs. If the owners WANT to declare a partnership then they should treat it like one. If they want to hit the lottery then they should share their winnings with the people that gave them the money.

  27. The Wishbone says: Feb 28, 2010 4:13 PM

    Dear Mike Vrabel,
    Kraft said “partnership”; he didn’t say “equal partnership,” dumbass. Welcome to the world of big business.
    As far as sense of urgency, the players have been saying they wanted the salary cap to go away, that it would “never come back”. Well, the chickens are coming home to roost. The owners might not bring back the salary floor, so you better tell D Smith to take what he can get.
    The players are a lot easier to replace than the good owners.
    Sincerely,
    Reality
    P.S. You’re done. Retire already.

  28. YawnFlorio says: Feb 28, 2010 8:51 PM

    Gotta LAUGH at all of the LAME Pats fans here who are telling Vrabel to shut up and “take one for the team”. I have a BETTER IDEA…why don’t the Pats fans “take one for the team” and pay DOUBLE the price for tickets. AS USUAL, Pats fans are MORONS and are blind to anything else but their own fantasies about their team. The REALITY is that your team is going down, no matter who wins this labor battle, because they have run out of the luck (not to mention the lack of videotape help) that got the team those 3-point Super Bowl wins so long ago. LMFAO!!!

  29. Richm2256 says: Feb 28, 2010 9:16 PM

    Try this on for a simple fact:
    In any business, there are owners private or shareholders), and there are employees. In the NFL, the players are employees. They are not “partners”.
    In what business in America does any employee get to look at what the owner is making? Does Florio get to look at NBC’s books? Do YOU get to look at YOUR company’s books?
    Who cares what the owners are making; You make more than a fair wage, you are definitely not underpaid by the average American salary.
    Shut up, and play.

  30. Patsfansince73 says: Mar 1, 2010 7:41 AM

    Hey CKL –
    Just so you know, Kraft didn’t pay a dime (literally) for that stadium. He is the most clever business man and team owner in sports. Before ground was even broke for the new stadium he had every one of the vendor locations signed for multi-year leases that actually gave him a profit of about 13 million for the new stadium being built.
    I do see both sides of this arguement for Vrabel and others. The owners do need to open the books up. If you are at a well known and respected company (I happen to work for one of those) then you should (and in most cases can) find or look up the information as to what the company has for assets, who the top people are and what they get paid. Knowing that puts in better perspective what your place is and what you may deserve for pay. With that being said it is also a very good point that when a player enters the league and then signs a contract to a team well then, you just agreed to do something for the price mentioned for the time frame that was on the contract. If you think you should be making more, then why sign for less? No, there is a lot more to it than that I know, but really it can be made simple. Get everything out on the table and work it out from there. Nothing should be hidden. If all assets are known, then the reality of how things should be dealt with are much clearer and easier to define.

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