Rosenthal pointed out earlier today Michael McCarthy’s report in USA Today that the NFL will give refunds to customers who buy tickets to 2011 games that are scrapped due to a potential work stoppage. The league has now issued a formal release announcing the policy.
The move represents the clearest sign yet from the league that a work stoppage could happen. Though it may simply be part of the bluff that the league is trying to pull on the union, prior steps had entailed a less obvious connection to the possible loss of games.
And as Rosenthal pointed out, the notion that refunds will be paid is a no-brainer. What did the league plan to do? “Sorry, sir. You should have read the back of your ticket. It says that we are not required to actually play the game.”
Far more surprising is the fact that the league won’t compel teams to refund payments for club suites, luxury boxes, and/or Personal Seat Licenses. Surely, a class-action lawsuit will be filed against any team that doesn’t compensate folks who have forked over big money for these high-end menu options.
We still are holding out hope (and offering to provide the eggnog) for extensive discussions aimed at reaching a deal before Christmas. (In fact, starting today, we are going to send a daily e-mail to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello and NFLPA spokesman George Atallah requesting an update on the talks.)
In an interview with Dan Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash seems to recognize the importance of intensive meetings. “What we need is to have sustained engagement,” Pash told Kaplan. “We need to be meeting regularly, we need to leave meetings not worried about how we are going to characterize meetings, whether we are gloomy, whether we’re upbeat, whether we are excited, whether we are exhausted. We need to get past that. . . . But it has got to be a shared commitment. One side cannot do it alone.”
Pash said that he’s not blaming the union, though it sure looks that way. Either way, the top agenda item for the league office, the owners, and the union should be sitting down and trying to get a deal done. Hopefully, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has commenced the process of twisting arms.
So let’s make it happen, guys. The eggnog is approach room temperature.