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Union challenges NFL TV deals

The NFL Players’ Association has challenged the structure of the league’s contracts with ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox and DirecTV, saying that the owners acted in bad faith by setting up the TV contracts in a way to protect themselves in the event of a 2011 lockout.

In a filing to Special Master Stephen Burbank, the union says the league set things up so that it could receive $4 billion in TV revenue while not paying anything in player salaries and canceling the entire 2011 season if it chooses to lock out the players.

“It appears that the owners bought a strategy to lock players and fans out and nonetheless financially protect themselves,” Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, a member of the NFLPA’s Executive Committee, said in a statement on the union’s web site. “The players want to leave no stone unturned to make sure that CBA negotiations proceed in good faith and that next season is played in its entirety.”

In the event of a lockout, the union wants Burbank to order the TV money to be put in escrow, rather than divided among the 32 teams.

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19 Responses to “Union challenges NFL TV deals”
  1. Nacho Libre says: Jun 9, 2010 2:34 PM

    “In a filing to Special Master Stephen Burbank…” Anyone know how I could get that title, WITHOUT having to join the KKK?

  2. robert ethen says: Jun 9, 2010 2:47 PM

    Jeez, quit griping. You’d think those guys never heard of reruns before. I bet Foxworth and DeMo are cracking up over Hogan’s Heros or Sanford and Son just like the rest of us.

  3. BoltsFan says: Jun 9, 2010 2:50 PM

    Who cares what the union wants? When the union wants to start calling the shots, it can pony up and buy the teams.

  4. AlanSaysYo says: Jun 9, 2010 2:55 PM

    It’s about the money, not what the networks would show in lieu of football in the event of a lockout.
    BUT… can you imagine how royally screwed NBC would be if that happened? They rely on SNF to prop up their A18-49 numbers for the entire first half of the season. Without SNF, NBC would be in the toilet.

  5. boredsilly says: Jun 9, 2010 2:56 PM

    @ Nacho Libre….That was hilarious…I agree, I want that title too!
    as for the deal, of COURSE the owners want to protect themselves in the event of a lockout…they’d be dumb not too
    That doesn’t meant the players’ point isn’t valid…I like the solution of the escrow acct…seems fair as the money will still be paid, just later.

  6. damnitall says: Jun 9, 2010 3:02 PM

    Why aren’t the TV stations considering their option of suing the NFL. If I paid 4 billion dollors for x amount of NFL football games, the NFL better supply the games or my money.

  7. BenRapistberger says: Jun 9, 2010 3:04 PM

    That sounds all great when you look at it on the surface, but the residual trickle-down of having no Football for even one year isn’t included in that. Lets say there’s no football in 2011, but then they’re back to work in 2012 and beyond. The players only lose 1 year worth of playing time (but their current contract carries over so they don’t lose any money, they’re just a year closer to retirement, which is their choice by pushing the NFLPA to a lockout).
    Sure, the NFL may not ‘lose money’ in 2011, but surely they will lose revenues in the following years that they otherwise would have generated without a lockout. It took baseball and hockey years to come back in ratings/popularity after their lockouts.

  8. BenRapistberger says: Jun 9, 2010 3:06 PM

    Also, it’s not like these TV companies just said “SURE, WE’LL GIVE YOU GUARANTEED MONEY EVEN IF THERE’S NO FOOTBALL, NO PROBLEM”. As indicated, this was a NEGOTIATION. The NFL had to charge them less for the other years in this contract to have that insurance. That means in prior years, the NFL took money out of their own pockets as insurance. Money that the players and the NFLPA didn’t have to cough up at all.

  9. hawk22314 says: Jun 9, 2010 3:07 PM

    So the players are angry at the owners for having the foresite to prepare for a potential lockout/strike? Too bad, so sad.

  10. tom coughlin's coat holder says: Jun 9, 2010 3:43 PM

    this is like one big chess match,the players are playing one move at a time while the owners are playing three moves ahead.my god!does anybody think that these owners got where they are by being stupid.

  11. OC Dave says: Jun 9, 2010 4:05 PM

    @ BenRapistberger
    If the players are locked out, they won’t receive their salaries as in any strike or lockout during the duration of the dispute per the collective bargaining agreements. Also, the NFLPA can’t lock out the players, they can only suggest to strike. Only the owners can effect a lockout.

  12. EverybodyGotAIDS says: Jun 9, 2010 4:22 PM

    I’d say the majority of the league is made up of guys who make at or around the league minimum (including the practice squad players, who I also assume are members of the union). As such, considering these guys are able to make $400k or so/year with football, and maybe able to make $10.50/hr without it….and that $400k goes to taxes, agents, baby mommas, “bling”, etc….I’d think they’ll be screaming for a new agreement, and I’m pretty sure each guy gets an equal vote in the union. This thing should get done.

  13. kingmj4891 says: Jun 9, 2010 4:37 PM

    I hate the NFLPA its root is all based on greed. They are turning players into their pansy as well see Batch the Snatch and Foxworth the Snitch recent comments. Poor players go cry to someone who makes more money then you cause most of us average guys who work 40hrs a week year round say stfu and get back on the field cause your making more then most of us will make in a life-time.

  14. Ryan35 says: Jun 9, 2010 5:39 PM

    “Locking out the Fans” LOL. If you dont like what they pay, then don’t play.
    “Million Dollar Babies”

  15. edgy1957 says: Jun 9, 2010 6:16 PM

    BenRapistberger says: June 9, 2010 3:06 PM
    Also, it’s not like these TV companies just said “SURE, WE’LL GIVE YOU GUARANTEED MONEY
    ******************************
    The CURRENT deal was signed in 2004 and it ran from 2006 to 2011. What you’re talking about is the EXTENSION that they signed in 2009 when the economy wasn’t as hot and they only got a bump in pay from DirecTV.

  16. Advo says: Jun 9, 2010 6:31 PM

    I find this move very interesting and wonder if the union can pull off that argument. I can’t think of another reason for a deal being negotiated that way unless it was to provide one side with revenues that the other wouldn’t have in case there was a strike or lockout.

  17. CliveRush says: Jun 9, 2010 8:29 PM

    DeMaurice is up against real businessmen who know how money works(or doesn’t work). This is not some political game to them. They have in many cases bet their fortunes on these teams. He has been working as a political activist most of his life. This is not going to go well for the players if they continue to rely on his De’s Obama style tactics of pointing fingers at others. The players need to realise that this guy is all mouth without a real plan. The owners are going to eat this guy alive.

  18. Kenny says: Jun 9, 2010 8:57 PM

    Damn, Who is representing the players ?? SEIU ?? Typical union goons ! They are not happy until they destroy everything they touch IE GM, Chrysler, Eastern Airlines, Braniff Airlines.

  19. mrf47 says: Jun 9, 2010 9:25 PM

    DeMaurice Smith is either the dumbest man to ever lead an organization or he believes his union members are imbeciles. Regardless, the NFLPA membership needs to know how cash flow priority works.
    In short…..
    The money that would be paid to the NFL, in the event of a lockout, is essentially a loan. Like any debt obligation, that money ultimately has to be paid back to the entity that loaned it out….which is not the NFLPA.
    Money owned to the members of the NFLPA from “strike years” belongs in the Equity tranche (the same place as the owners $$$), which is paid out after the loaners (i.e. TV) receive their cash.

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