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Refund announcement is the clearest sign yet that a lockout is possible

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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.

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23 Responses to “Refund announcement is the clearest sign yet that a lockout is possible”
  1. ravensrule says: Nov 30, 2010 12:52 PM

    The zillionaires are bluffing,,,stay strong union. 18 games will ruin the game and you,,,think of your kids, do whats right.

  2. brintfatre says: Nov 30, 2010 12:56 PM

    If the lockout happens can we all agree any starting streaks should be reset so we can finally move on without BrINT Favre???

  3. PFTiswhatitis says: Nov 30, 2010 12:57 PM

    FWIW the club seat contracts I’ve seen indicate that an abatement will be given for any games not played. I am sure most other team contracts read the same.

  4. JSpicoli says: Nov 30, 2010 12:59 PM

    I need to start boning up on my NHL and NCAA Hoops knowledge for next year. they will be the only games in town. NFL and NBA will be self immolating.

    It will be interesting to see how badly they let the golden goose fry before they come to their senses.

  5. bspurloc says: Nov 30, 2010 1:02 PM

    too bad them trying to move games to europe canada and mexico isnt a bluff…..

    money grubbing scum bags the nfl is.

  6. savocabol1 says: Nov 30, 2010 1:03 PM

    Florio, for lazy bastards as myself that don’t want to intergoogle it, can you tell us the date of when the current labor agreement expires?

  7. vahawker says: Nov 30, 2010 1:04 PM

    The head of the union appears to be more politician than business man. He seems more interested in press than results. Where did these guys get this moron from?

  8. kisstherings says: Nov 30, 2010 1:08 PM

    Get a grip Florio.

    This is the clearest sign yet that there might be a work stoppage? – How about the fact everyone has been talking about it all this time? How about both sides saying “There might be a stoppage??”

    This is a non-story and another crystal clear example of you trying to make a mountain of a mole hill.

    fyi – Not every person planning on going and buying tickets to an NFL game have the opportunity to “read the fine print” on the backs of the tickets. I’m sure the NFL has gotten a lot of questions about it from folks thinking about buying packages or season tickets next year and it is very logical that they would come out and make a formal announcement of it. It helps there leverage at the same time – but it in NO WAY provides any clearer sign of what is to come with the new CBA.

  9. 4sacroc says: Nov 30, 2010 1:08 PM

    Thug play by the likes of Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan will ruin the game before any owner will ….

  10. clownburger says: Nov 30, 2010 1:16 PM

    Yeah, 18 games will ruin football, just like 16 did.

  11. damaddhatter29 says: Nov 30, 2010 1:22 PM

    So what happens to college players who decide to come out this year if there won’t be a season? Will they go into the pot for the next year or will there be a team stacking up on college stars?

    If this lockout does happen, I expect the NFL to take a blow like the MLB did back in the 90’s. I expect to see a lot of empty seats when it kicks back in. If the players come in and expect the same rise in salary as in recent years, then I hope the NFL fails.

    But hell, let’s call up Keanu Reeves so he can be one of the replacement players for real. I see alot of people leaning towards the other leagues and not looking back if this all goes down.

  12. natelan says: Nov 30, 2010 1:25 PM

    The owners are the jerks who are putting a stoppage to football by not continuing the CBA.

    NO EXPANDED SEASON!

  13. pack93z says: Nov 30, 2010 1:30 PM

    The NFL and the NFLPA give good lip service to the fans that it might be criminal to screw the product up for the fans, but in the end, they know the fans will just come back post agreement.

    Personally, much like the BCS nonsense in the college game, until the fans force change, it will remain the same.

    Additionally, the networks could be applying pressure in both situations, but their vision is clouded by the cash flow surrounding both situations.

    So you have the NFL, the NFLPA, the Networks and the somewhat hidden player, the agents all doing a cash grab.. and we the fans sit back, flop our arms about, then allow it to happen.

    Could be as simple as turning the TV dial come week 17, watch the ratings drop and apply some pressure to the entities above to get the deal done.

    Won’t happen.. because we the fans have effectively become sheep.

  14. quannumkid says: Nov 30, 2010 1:31 PM

    Seems like a scare tactic to me.

  15. db105 says: Nov 30, 2010 1:35 PM

    Would the NFL offer refunds if replacement players are used like during the 1987 strike?

  16. coachstram says: Nov 30, 2010 1:40 PM

    Lockout?

    That would really suck.

    Now every Tom, Dick, and Harry will enter UFL fantasy drafts and try to take my Championship away.

    Ravensrule is right – especially if Drew Brees has his way. Pensions are for wimps, right, Drew?

  17. pack93z says: Nov 30, 2010 1:57 PM

    “So what happens to college players who decide to come out this year if there won’t be a season? Will they go into the pot for the next year or will there be a team stacking up on college stars? ”

    No, the Draft is the last event under the current CBA.. thus allowing the two sides to drag their feet throughout the spring and summer.

    Of course.. the real question, is what happens if this lasts throughout the summer to the free agents/ or possible free agents that will be left twisting in the wind.

    Personally, all sides in this deal are guilty.. the money grab knows no bounds.

  18. daCoach says: Nov 30, 2010 2:28 PM

    What about Sunday Ticket Subscribers? Do we get a refund too?

  19. icanspeel says: Nov 30, 2010 3:07 PM

    It’s probably just a tactic to get season ticket holders to start buying tickets with the insurance they get money back if it happened. I know I wouldn’t buy season tix now..

  20. mcnast731 says: Nov 30, 2010 3:14 PM

    The NFL is a cutthroat business that treats its employees like crap just like most large corporations. I think its hilarious that the NFL has gone fine crazy this season when there is a big chance that a work stoppage can happen. They are trying to strong arm players by taking enough of their money so they will gain an advantage when labor talks begin. They started penalizing defenders for concussion causing hits when the players that get the most concussions are offensive and defensive lineman in short area collisions. The real reason they have gotten so protective of offensive players is because they want to protect their money making offensive skill players because a) that’s what they think the fans come to see, and b) they want a scapegoat when players come suing the NFL about post concussion diseases after they’ve played. No NFL official has spoken out about maybe getting better equipment for the players. I know a lot players are a bunch of over paid divas, but they are nowhere near as bad as the cutthroat snakes that pay them.

  21. toe4 says: Nov 30, 2010 3:23 PM

    The Replacements is awesome. I’d pay $20 to see The Replacements and buy a bag of popcorn before
    I would pay for a PSL.

  22. touchdownroddywhite says: Nov 30, 2010 3:40 PM

    “If this lockout does happen, I expect the NFL to take a blow like the MLB did back in the 90′s. I expect to see a lot of empty seats when it kicks back in. If the players come in and expect the same rise in salary as in recent years, then I hope the NFL fails. ”

    Not only were there empty seats when the MLB resumed, but people who did show up to the games booed and threw trash etc. Nothing pisses off blue collar people more than seeing rich people complain about how much money they make other than seeing whiny rich people complain about how much money they make while the rest of us get robbed of one of our favorite past times.

    Any and all ground that has been gained in the past 10-12 years over the other American sports, will be lost, indefinitely, by any work stoppage in the NFL. Something tells me that the talking heads in both the league and the union are severely underestimating the kind of hatred and discontent a work stoppage will create with those of us who line their pockets. The loss of revenue due to a work stoppage will continue well beyond the end of the stoppage.

  23. pier588 says: Nov 30, 2010 3:54 PM

    Florio sez – “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.

    I wish you the same result with this email campaign that PFT readers got when we sent you tons of emails and comments asking the return of the “comment ratings” on PFT/CFT.

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