In response to the NFLPA’s latest effort to bang the drum about a lockout that the union is poised to block via decertification, the NFL has taken off the gloves regarding the time being spent on matters other than working out a new deal.
Here’s the full text of the statement issued Tuesday by the NFL, and posted at NFLLabor.com:
“Now that the union leaders have concluded their decertification ‘going-out-of-business sale,’ arranged for form letters to be sent to NFL owners by other unions, and issued press releases about their letter-writing campaign to mayors and governors, we are hopeful that they might find more time to talk to us. The union’s request for state and local political leaders to intercede in the negotiations ignores and denigrates the serious and far more substantial problems that those leaders, and that state and local workers across the country face. We can resolve our own issues as we have done many times in the past but the NFLPA has to want to participate in resolving them.
“Every governor, mayor and state legislator understands the need to balance revenue and labor costs. That is why all over the country state, county and municipal employees are facing layoffs, salary cuts, benefit reductions, and other changes in working conditions far more severe than anything proposed by the NFL in these negotiations. In fact, NFL player compensation has doubled over the past decade and will continue to grow under our proposal. And we have offered to increase jobs and improve benefits.
“Nobody — least of all NFL owners — wants to shut down our business. The best way to ensure uninterrupted NFL football in 2011 is for the union to stop asking everyone else to solve its problems and to sit down and engage in serious, constructive bargaining. If the union does so, we can and will reach an agreement.”
And so there it is. The NFL has done exactly what we’ve said the union should be doing. Demanding that the two sides focus their efforts on negotiating a new labor deal.
I’ll be sitting in for Dan Patrick on Friday, and joining the show will be NFL outside labor counsel Bob Batterman and NFLPA spokesman George Atallah. We’ll be asking them why there haven’t been more direct talks, and when we can expect them to lock themselves in a conference room at a five-star resort for three or four weeks of uninterrupted negotiations. At a time when fans are enjoying a wide-open scramble for playoff positioning, we all need to realize that the labor talks are approaching the two-minute drill, and that neither side has displayed the cardiovascular endurance necessary to deliver an accord.