Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth, a player whom many expect to eventually succeed Kevin Mawae as president of the NFL Players Association, recently spoke with a group of reporters at Capitol Hill. (For Redskins fans in the crowd, HogsHaven.com has a version that includes some comments about coach Mike Shanahan, who originally drafted Foxworth five years ago.) As transcribed by Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times, Foxworth summarizes the financial aspect of the situation in a way that the union should print on bumper stickers.
It’s perfect. It’s beautiful. Sure, the owners won’t agree. But the two sides are disagreeing on pretty much everything. At a time when the two sides are developing talking points, Foxworth finally has come up with something that the union can use to best attack the league’s position.
Here’s the broader context. Foxworth was asked to explain why he believes that a lockout will occur. And here’s what Foxworth said: “They can get more money and we can get less money.
Instead of bickering about how to split up the money, it’s more
advantageous and galvanizing for them to say, ‘Let’s take it from
somebody else.’ Instead of fighting with Daniel Snyder and Jerry
Jones over revenue sharing, it’s, ‘Let’s take it from them.'”
That last line is the key. As we explained in the wake of the release of the Packers’ annual financial report, the union has failed (to date) to push the connection between unshared revenues and the league’s effort to shrink the players’ piece of the pie. In 2006, the owners agreed to a Band-Aid that 30 of them liked at the time — but that most of them now abhor. So with the players now receiving their cut based on total revenues, including the stuff the teams don’t share, it could be that the permanent fix for the problem of the profits of the low-revenue Bengals being reduced by a salary cap influenced by the high revenues earned by other teams arises not from sharing the unshared revenues but from reducing the labor costs so that the low revenue teams will still earn an acceptable profit.
In other words, “Let’s take it from them.”
Foxworth also became passionate when responding to a quote that Foxworth says Pats owner Robert Kraft made during a 2009 interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Foxworth claims that Kraft said the owners are taking all of the risk. We vaguely recall Kraft’s comment; it was made within the confines of the financial risks. But the word “risk” gives the players an opening that none of them, to our knowledge, had previously utilized.
Foxworth utilized the hell out of it.
“I’m asking for respect,” Foxworth said. “You can’t say I’m not taking risks. That
type of thing gets under my skin and pisses us off. Who’s taking
the real risks and who’s making the real gains? Robert Kraft is
bringing in millions of dollars and he’s never had a concussion.
He’s never tackled anybody. I doubt he’s had any knee replacements.
It hurts us to hear stuff like that. I would imagine he would
rethink it and I hope he doesn’t really feel that way. It’s
impossible to say we’re not taking risks. Wes Welker will limp for
the rest of his life and will have arthritis. Tom Brady will deal
with that for the rest of his life. I want him to look those guys
in the eye and say they’re not taking risks.”
According to the HogsHaven.com version of the interview, Foxworth added on the end, “It’s infuriating.”
Though this point doesn’t have as much pop as “let’s take it from them” because Kraft obviously wasn’t addressing physical risks, in this game of high-stakes contract poker the slightest slip can be used by the other side. The only real surprise here is that it took the players so long to do it.
But, hey, better late than never. And though Foxworth may be grossly out of touch on a couple of other issues (more on that later this morning), he has done a good job of giving the rank-and-file a quick and easy way to characterize the league’s objectives.
Instead of taking it from each other, let’s take it from them.