With the politicians making clear to the NFL and the NFL Players Association their lack of interest in becoming involved in the ongoing labor drama, at least one team is taking the issue to the paying customers.
Given last Sunday’s miraculous, last-second win over the Texans, the paying customers likely will be more inclined to listen.
In an e-mail to Jaguars season-ticket holders, owner Wayne Weaver provides an update as to the CBA situation, with the kind of reasonable language that we wish the two sides would use more often.
“Most of you are aware that the agreement that the NFL has with the players’ union, called the CBA, will expire in March,” Weaver says in a “special message” dated November 17. “In any such agreement, there are many issues to be discussed, but our negotiations are professional, not personal. We have immense respect for our players and all who play and have played this game. No one believes that it is in their interest — the union, the teams, the players, the former players, the fans — for disagreements on these issues to damage the game that all of us love and to which you have given your whole-hearted support and enthusiasm.”
Weaver goes on to express high optimism that a new deal will be negotiated.
“There is no question that an agreement will be reached,” Weaver says. “However, the more time that goes by before that happens, the more that all of us will lose – players, clubs and fans. We remain committed to doing all that we can do to reach agreement as soon as we can on a deal that is fair to players, fans and all 32 clubs and provides for the growth and health of the game of football.”
Weaver doesn’t say what the fans will lose, and some may conclude that Weaver is referring indirectly to a work stoppage that would be imposed in a last-ditch effort to get a deal done.
As to the issues between the two sides, Weaver identifies four general concerns.
1. “The great appeal of the NFL is based on the competition among 32 franchises, each of which must be strong and able to win.”
2. “To insure [sic] this competition and the safety of our players, the NFL has created the best drug and conduct policies in sports, and has focused on player safety improvements, recognition of our retired veterans and on continuing to create value for our fans.”
3. “To enhance the value for our fans, we made the proposal that the regular season be increased to 18 games.”
4. “To address inequities that have evolved under the current system, such as paying untested rookies in a manner that makes no sense, we have proposed shifting money toward proven veterans and retired players.”
Weaver omits the biggest issue — that the league wants the players to take a smaller slice of an ever-growing pie. That continues to be the biggest sticking point. Once the money issue is resolved, the rest of the deal should fall together pretty quickly.
Regardless of the issues and when/if they’ll be resolved, it’ll be interesting to see whether other owners begin to get the word out to the folks who buy the tickets — and how the union will respond.