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On the labor situation, Domonique Foxworth hits the nail on the head

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.

Let’s take it from them.”

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.

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26 Responses to “On the labor situation, Domonique Foxworth hits the nail on the head”
  1. rsa says: Jul 25, 2010 9:25 AM

    •Lame duck congress passes card check.
    •Union decertifies.
    •Players vote to unionize.
    •No agreement between owners and players.
    •Federal arbitrator imposes settlement, creating Football Czar to oversee the league.

  2. Darth Vader says: Jul 25, 2010 9:33 AM

    Now if only Foxworth could play corner half as well as he does smart-ass comebacks.

  3. Chapnasty. says: Jul 25, 2010 9:39 AM

    @ rsa
    Well played sir. Just a further reach by this embarassment of an administration into our lives.

  4. JoeSixPack says: Jul 25, 2010 9:41 AM

    Both sides are right on this one.
    The players are risking their health, and are exceptionally well compensated for that.
    The question of how much more well compensated they should be is the question. If the union gets their way it will mean a few more million for the top tier players (who likely won’t notice the change in their checking account) and a few hundred thousand dollars more for the lower tier players.
    As far as revenue sharing, unless teams that benefit from publically subsidized stadiums are willing to share the cost that the Patriots and other teams with self-financed stadiums incurred, it’s understandable that there’s no point in slicing all revnues 32 ways.
    Perhaps the players should create their own league, build their own stadium, sell tickets and wholly self own – then they can keep ALL the revenue and truly “take it from them.”
    Until then they need to “rent” the stadiums and all the infrastructure that is the NFL, and yes, that costs money and yes, the NFL organizations ARE going to profit from that.

  5. Terry says: Jul 25, 2010 9:43 AM

    Unfortunately for the union, the rank and file of this union is not as intelligent as Foxworth on the issues. The majority of the members is ” I want my money NOW” and ” i’ve spent every dime I’ve made and can’t afford to strike”
    They couldn’t care less about FUTURE players, benefits and the like; they live in the NOW!
    The league certainly understands the mentality of it’s players and with that in mind will continue to whittle away at the union, low balling them at every turn. At the end of the day the Union will accept whats offered simply because the idiots that make up the majority want to be paid “today” not caring a bit about tomorrow!

  6. GRpatriot says: Jul 25, 2010 9:44 AM

    I’m pretty sure Kraft was referring to the union!
    Not the players… What risk does the union take??? Not collecting enough? Not taking care of ex-players? Which was brought to Congress!
    Even Mike Ditka testified there. So, if the union is doing such a great job, why?
    I’m also convinced that Kraft was in his metal bleacher seat when Darrell Stingley got paralyzed!
    Let’s open up the unions books, Dominique and see where the union payouts are going?
    I’ve read multiple stories over the years were ex-players are scrapping by while J. Russell, Haynesworth etal are blowing millions on whatever? Get real.

  7. geek says: Jul 25, 2010 9:45 AM

    OK, let’s consider the “risk” perspective a little. According to the USA Today NFL Salary Database, Foxworth made $8,006,240 last year. That was including a $4 million signing bonus and $3,386,240 in other bonuses. That leaves him a base salary of $620,000. That is over six times the average annual salary of a high-level government employee. According to the NFLPA, the average length of an NFL player’s career is 4 years. So, in that time, the player would make as much money as 24 years of service working as a GS-14. That doesn’t include the bonuses, nor the fact that the average career length is brought down drastically by all the role-players that can’t compete. The stars (like Foxworth) make it many more years.
    So, an average player could play four years of football and have a really nice nest egg to carry them over until they have a really well paying job (using that wonderful free college degree they were given for playing football). Most Americans enter the workforce broke with no experience and over $50k in college debt. A 7th rounder who makes it four years before washing out enters the workforce with close to $2 million in the bank, no college debt and some name recognition that makes their job searching a little easier.
    I understand that players generate the product, and should get paid their fair share. Still, they are delusional if they think all that money is nothing. If I had the option to warm a bench for four years and work out with my buddies and end up in that position, I would count my blessings and be happy.

  8. CKL says: Jul 25, 2010 9:55 AM

    Foxworth IS a smart kid (read Steven Fatsis’ book on the Broncos and you will see that)…and dangerous because he is smart enough to use some misinformation to galvanize the players. If De Smith and his patronizing BS attitude wants the union to win, he would be better served letting Foxworth talk than talking himself.

  9. TheWizard says: Jul 25, 2010 9:56 AM

    So the future union president doesn’t have the brains to differentiate what the hell Kraft is even talking about.

  10. plt2006 says: Jul 25, 2010 9:59 AM

    The crew over at football pros live covered the labor dispute in their webcast the other day and did a pretty good job. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for something more substantial than Florio’s witticisms.

  11. Fan says: Jul 25, 2010 10:01 AM

    Someone should write about dealing with unions. Real unions. Until this lesson is mastered it is impossible to fully understand this negotiation.
    You can’t have it both ways, players.

  12. PFK says: Jul 25, 2010 10:02 AM

    The players make a choice to play a physical game that has some injury risk. They have utilized the game and their skills to get the opportunity for a free education. They then get HIGHLY paid to play a game for the entertainment of the public. They profit AGAIN due the elevated name recognition and their connection to the team.
    \
    Robert Kraft made what was THEN considered a highly questionable financial investment, when he plunked down $187MM to buy the Pats. At the time it was a huge risk.
    If the players want to be in a TRUE partnership with the league, then they should start to share not only in the revenue, but in the operating costs
    Foxworth shouldn’t compare injury risk with financial risk, its an apples and oranges comparison.

  13. radioboy20010 says: Jul 25, 2010 10:06 AM

    Of course most fans won’t do this. They will whine and complain about the billionaires vs. the millionaires, etc., but when it comes to taking REAL action, most fans are complete losers.
    But I’m going to suggest this anyway: a fan boycott one weekend THIS YEAR.
    Here’s how the labor talks are going to play out: nothing will get done between now and the deadline date, which I believe is March of 2011. Then the billionaires will tell the millionaires there’s a lockout. So this will drag out until sometime in late Aug. 2011, when there will be a “breakthrough”,(spurred on by the TV networks now losing their backends financially) and an agreement will be reached. They will have some sort of training camp through September, then play a shortened season.
    Something akin to that happened during the last major labor dispute, but the league resorted to “replacement” players.
    The sheep, er, fans, could make a statement this season: one entire weekend of play no one shows up for the games in person, and no one watches the games on TV. The league still has it’s revenue, ’tis true, but the ghostly reminder of the group actually paying for all this might register among the millionaires vs. the billionaires.
    Nah, the fans are too spoiled to skip one weekend and find out that there’s life outside of TV, their cellphones and computer games.

  14. QJ1984 says: Jul 25, 2010 10:22 AM

    geek
    You make a good point and I would agree with you if the players were trying to get more money but they are not. The players are perfectly content with the way things are right now. And they are trying to keep the owners from cutting down their slice of the pie.
    NFL player salaries are not garuanteed and players risk life changing injuries anytime they step on the field. There are alot more “Joe-smo” players than there are Peyton Manning’s. The guys at the top are going to get paid regardless of what the system is but what about those undrafted guys just trying to break into the league. They’ll get paid for being in training camp but thats it and if one of them suffers a career ending injury, which likely impacts their “real world” job hunt they are up the creek without a paddle. Practice squad players make about 70 or 80 k per year, thats better than the average American but thats certainly not a salary, even at 4 years, that can carry them through the rest of their post football lives.

  15. Scott A. Miller says: Jul 25, 2010 10:27 AM

    The 2011 season is in real trouble.

  16. Bob Buckowski says: Jul 25, 2010 10:30 AM

    Does the $25 an hour window washer take any risks when he is working 15 stories in the air?
    If he falls I suppose his family can always live off his huge signing bonus………….
    There used to be a love for the game growing up for most athletes, now it’s all about fame & money & money plus a little more money.
    That’s the part Al Davis has trouble adjusting to……

  17. VASeahawk says: Jul 25, 2010 10:36 AM

    Imagine if the Lions didn’t have to drop 40mil on Stafford or the Rams a likely 50mil on Bradford how much more money the vets would get. The players should be angry with themselves for allowing this stupidity to circle out of control.
    Let say Lions “only” paid Stafford 20mil and equally spread out the difference between the rest of the players, that leaves and extra $377,000 per player assuming a 53 man roster.
    Put in a rookie wage scale and redistribute the other millions to the players who have already paid the price to be in the NFL and watch them smile all the way to the bank.

  18. LPH says: Jul 25, 2010 10:55 AM

    OK I give up. Can someone translate this?
    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.

  19. MSWRavens says: Jul 25, 2010 12:08 PM

    Nice job Florio covering Foxworth’s comments, putting them into explaining. Very nice indeed!!!

  20. Filbertkiwi71 says: Jul 25, 2010 12:12 PM

    JoeSixPack says:
    July 25, 2010 9:41 AM

    As far as revenue sharing, unless teams that benefit from publically subsidized stadiums are willing to share the cost that the Patriots and other teams with self-financed stadiums incurred, it’s understandable that there’s no point in slicing all revnues 32 ways.”
    ===
    Wait a minute. Are you telling me that the Kraft’s financed every and all aspects involved in building that stadium? That includes: buying the land, paying for the access roads, building walkways and parking lots, etc. etc., the whole kit-n-kaboodle involved in building that stadium?
    I don’t believe that for a minute.
    All you have to do is look at the Chargers’ situation. They probably would have had a new stadium by now if someone else was GIVING them the land.
    Hell, they probably would have had a stadium by now if they could have bought the land before real estate prices took a tumble.

  21. edgy says: Jul 25, 2010 12:19 PM

    GRpatriot says:
    I’m pretty sure Kraft was referring to the union!
    Not the players… What risk does the union take??? Not collecting enough? Not taking care of ex-players? Which was brought to Congress!
    ********************
    The PLAYERS have to take care of the ex-players because the owners won’t do the right thing – are you frigging nus! People get mad at the players because of the acrimony but in order to get to that point, there had to be a reason and the owners in all sports are reaping the “rewards” for decades of screwing the players (Heck, even after “peace” broke out in the NBA, the owners have been found guilty a couple of times of hiding revenue that was supposed to be shared with the players. MLB, despite all the naysayers siding with them, has been found more than once to be colluding to keep salaries down). With or without a union, companies that treat their employees right have a good relationship and when times are REALLY tough, they both work together to find a solution. If you’re constantly lying to them and asking for givebacks and still handing out executive bonuses, they’re eventually going to stop listening to you.
    As for what risk does the union take? Try this: before they even distribute the money, $1 billion comes off the top and they get less than what people say. This has been used to help pay for the new stadiums like the Palace Near Dallas. When NFL Europe was around, they also helped subsidize it. That money went to the owners and they shared in none of the rewards and while you can say that the owners took the risk, there was no real risk involved. In return for give backs, there are companies that have profit sharing plans to reward the employees for helping the company but the NFL prefers to keep the money for themselves and they won’t even share it with each other.
    The owners suckle from a $3.7 bil TV teat that is built ENTIRELY on the quality of the players. Put Arena League players on the field and let’s see if 66,000+ show up and they get paid $118 mil per team for that and see if Jerry can charge $159 per game ticket.
    Lamar Hunt and Pete Rozelle built the league on revenue sharing and the greedy bastards like Jerry Jones, who couldn’t do it while both were alive, have managed to move more and more toward a MLB model and one day, they’re going to regret it; especially if they stop sharing revenue ala MLB. Of course, on that day, Jerry will find out just how much money the New York teams are really giving up and I’m going to laugh my ass off at him.

  22. BDiddy says: Jul 25, 2010 12:41 PM

    @LPH — I hear you. Only a lawyer like Florio could possibly write that monstrosity of a sentence. Basically, he is trying to say: Some teams (like Dallas) are far more profitable than other teams (like Cincinnati), and revenue sharing only partially addresses this. The problem is that this makes it very difficult for the Cincinnati’s of the league to compete while still maintaining profitability. There are basically two ways to fix this: (1) make an agreement among the owners to increase the amount of revenue that the Dallas’s share with the Cincinnati’s; and/or (2) make an agreement with the players’ union to reduce the percentage of total revenue that goes to pay the players. Florio speculates that the second option could be the basis for a permanent solution. Foxworth unsurprisingly prefers option #1.

  23. RavensFreak00 says: Jul 25, 2010 12:42 PM

    @Darth Vader
    So true.

  24. PossibleCabbage says: Jul 25, 2010 12:52 PM

    I don’t quite get the point of the league or the union courting public opinion here. I could care less about what happens, I just want there to be football in 2011 and I want the league to be sufficiently financially solvent in perpetuity. So anything at all that happens that preserves football in 2011, I want. I’m not really interested in who’s right and who’s wrong beyond that.

  25. JSpicoli says: Jul 25, 2010 1:56 PM

    The NFL is at it’s apex of popularity, and is about the shit the bed.

  26. edgy says: Jul 25, 2010 1:58 PM

    geek says:
    A 7th rounder who makes it four years before washing out enters the workforce with close to $2 million in the bank, no college debt and some name recognition that makes their job searching a little easier.
    ******************
    Well, talk about someone who is totally ignorant of the facts. First of all, do you believe that 7th round picks make a million a year or what? I say that because you obviously don’t have an idea about taxes and in order for a guy to put $2 mil into the bank after 4 years, he’s going to have to make about $4 mil, which 7th round picks don’t do. Most will make no more than a couple of million and after their agent’s 3% and taxes (yes, they do pay them) and union dues, they bring in half of what they signed on for. Yes, it’s better than most people make but it’s most likely the most money that they’ll ever make AND unlike you, they’re more likely going to be in for a lifetime of pain and suffering because of injuries sustained on the field (unless that paper cut that you got when you first started opening envelopes has caused you PTSD).

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