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League finally provides its version of the union’s 50-50 proposal, sort of

Last week, during the first day of a two-day bargaining session between the NFL and the players’ union, the league reportedly walked out after the NFLPA proposed a 50-50 split of all revenues.

The league previously declined to provide a specific rebuttal of the report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.  “Despite the inaccurate characterizations of yesterday’s meeting, out of respect to the collective bargaining process and our negotiating partner, we are going to continue to conduct negotiations with the union in private and not engage in a point-counterpoint on the specifics of either side’s proposals or the meeting process,” the league said a day after the talks collapsed.

Now, a full week later, the league has decided to engage in a point-counterpoint of the specifics.

“Any interpretation that this was a new proposal and a move toward the clubs is not accurate,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFLLabor.com, the labor-only website the league launched last year.  “This was an offer to keep things where they are, to simply extend the status quo.  It is consistent with what the Union has been saying for two years — just keep the current deal in place.   As Kevin Mawae has acknowledged, the players got a great deal in 2006.

“The CBA defines what ‘total revenue’ is in detail and gives the Union roughly 60 percent of that amount.  The Union has created a new measure of revenue, which it calls ‘All Revenue,’ and says that the players get 50 percent of that,” Aiello said.  “Saying they want 50 percent of this new revenue base, is the same as saying they want 60 percent of the existing revenue base.  It is a status quo deal.  That is exactly where we are today, and we have been clear that is unacceptable.  This reported offer by the Union last week is just one more offer to ‘just kick the can down the road,’ as Jeff Pash says, and keep things where they are.  There was no change in the Union’s position or movement off of their earlier proposals.”

Aiello’s statement omits one key fact — whether the proposal to take 50 cents of every dollar generated was an opening offer from the union oe a bottom line/take-it-or-leave-it position.

The distinction is critical.  If the union said, “We’ll take 50 cents on every dollar and not a penny less,” then it made sense for the NFL to abandon the process.  If the union couched its proposal as an opener, then it was more than reasonable for the union to essentially say, “We’ll start the bidding by taking what we currently get.”  As an opener, an offer to take 50 cents of every dollar implied that the union will move toward a position entailing less money than the players currently get.

Aiello’s adroit failure to address that point makes us inclined to think that it was an opener, not a bottom-line position.  Since the caretakers of the league-owned labor website didn’t ask the natural follow-up question, we will.  We’ll let you know what he says.

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22 Responses to “League finally provides its version of the union’s 50-50 proposal, sort of”
  1. teke184 says: Feb 16, 2011 3:17 PM

    “Aiello’s adroit failure to address that point makes us inclined to think that it was an opener, not a bottom-line position. ”

    This. The owners are the ones pushing for a new deal while the players liked the old one.

    Thus, it’s reasonable for the players to want to use the old deal as a starting point.

    If the owners are claiming that wanting to use the old deal as a starting point is an “insult”, then I’m fairly sure that the *players* aren’t the ones who are unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

  2. toe4 says: Feb 16, 2011 3:28 PM

    This is basically just a restatement of the PFT article from last week.

    Let me get this straight. Mort’s report came out. PFT wrote on it. The NFL said it was inaccurate.

    Then today they restated it was inaccurate and went on to explain how it was pretty much dead on.

  3. prior0knowledge says: Feb 16, 2011 3:29 PM

    Now that you explain it, I understand why the owners walked out. It was an insulting offer. Even the players acknowledged that the current deal was too good for the players, so to make an initial offer that was basically the same as the current deal is outrageous and insulting.

    What? You think the owners can’t figure out that 50% of all revenue is the same money as 60% of the previous CBA’s defined revenue? You think the owners will go, “Duh… oooo… 50 is less than 60, this is good.” You think the owners are not smart enough to know that?

    No wonder the owners walked out. How can you negotiate with someone who is assuming you are an idiot and trying to take advantage of you.

  4. zinn22 says: Feb 16, 2011 3:30 PM

    You should point out that taking 50% is actually less than what the players were getting under the old agreement. It would shift year to year but the players were normally getting 51-52% per year. So the players initial offer is actually less than what they had been receiving. A pretty amazing starting offer.

  5. heyooooh says: Feb 16, 2011 3:38 PM

    If this thing drags out over a long period of time, I could see the players eventually winning the PR battle.

    In the short term, people tend to side with the owners because they can understand the financial risk and costs associated with running a business.

    Over time, if it appears like the owners are trying to “bury” the union, I think people will feel more sympathetic to the players (even though they are millionaires) because a lot of people have been “buried” by their employers in the past 3 years during the recession.

  6. jfluke65 says: Feb 16, 2011 3:42 PM

    “This was an offer to keep things where they are, to simply extend the status quo. It is consistent with what the Union has been saying for two years — just keep the current deal in place.”

    Isn’t that the answer to this:

    -Aiello’s statement omits one key fact — whether the proposal to take 50 cents of every dollar generated was an opening offer from the union oe a bottom line/take-it-or-leave-it position-

    After 2 years, shouldn’t they be way past opening offers?

  7. mark0226 says: Feb 16, 2011 3:57 PM

    As the League points out, they have been saying the existing deal is NOT working for TWO years, so why on earth would the Union start with a shell game that basically keeps things the same? You can call it a starting offer, but the Union basically said this…”OK, so I understand the current deal does not work, but we like that deal, so let’s put a new coat of paint on that deal and call it a new deal. Will that work?”

  8. MovieGoober says: Feb 16, 2011 4:07 PM

    Maybe I’m confused. Did the owners lose their shirts on the last deal? Isn’t the NFL doing pretty well? Why are the players being ASKED to take a pay cut?

    I’d be willing to bet there is not ONE owner in the league losing money. For some reason or another though, they’ll make the players look like the bad guys and lots average Joes will buy it hook, line and sinker.

    I’m on the players side. They’re labor and so am I. When I go to watch a football game, I go to see the players. They SHOULD get half of ALL revenue?

  9. zaggs says: Feb 16, 2011 4:13 PM

    “The distinction is critical. If the union said, “We’ll take 50 cents on every dollar and not a penny less,” then it made sense for the NFL to abandon the process.”

    Whats the point of bargaining if one party never changes their demands?

  10. finfanbernie says: Feb 16, 2011 4:14 PM

    “If the union couched its proposal as an opener, then it was more than reasonable for the union to essentially say, “We’ll start the bidding by taking what we currently get”

    You cant wait until a month before a deadline and start with what you already get! they knew that was not an option so why even say it. It’s a waist of time. If that what you get and its already a problem then start just below that because you know you arent going to get that deal. The players could probably make more money if they didnt have to pay the union to represent them.

    If I was the owners I would tell the union that they could have that deal, but…… Players will have to have their own doctor and will be chargered for their locker space, position coaches, parking space and game fees. In addition to this players will also pay their part of the power, water, travel, accommodations and any other bills that keep the business running. No more fans, heaters or oxygen will be supplied (players must bring their own). You want to split the profit you have to split the bills

  11. toe4 says: Feb 16, 2011 4:17 PM

    The union sticks to “we like it like it is” line for two reasons:

    1) The players say “we like it” the owners say “we can’t afford it” the players say “prove it” the owners say “no”… by keeping the line the same the players put pressure on the owners to open books.

    2) they punt. By not making a new offer they punt the ball back to the owners.

    Clearly neither side wants to make an opening offer, the players not wanting to give up anything at the start and the owners are good with waiting and going into lockout mode.

  12. ontboltfan says: Feb 16, 2011 4:17 PM

    First the agreement wasn’t extended because the owners didn’t like the existing share so an opening position of the status quo means the NFLPA has made no effort at compromise and has taken 2 mos to do so.

    The NFL has also stressed that the expenses allowed were never fair at $1B. In fact they are $2B. In other words, the NFLPA has been getting $1B more then they should have for some time. The NFLPA is also aware of this and has again offered nothing as a compromise.

    They propose 50% of $9B leaving the owners the other $4.5B out of which they have to pay expenses of $2B leaving really only $2.5B.

    The reality is this as a 50/30 split w 20 set aside for paying rent, leases, admin, land taxes etc.

  13. flaccotoboldin says: Feb 16, 2011 4:38 PM

    The fact is, until the Owners open their books, anyone with half a brain (not many people apparently) should be skeptical that the league is losing money.

    If anything, the league isn’t making as much as the owners would like.

    The players are the ones playing and putting on the show, they seem to have no intent of willingly doing a lockout, so. . .

    its on the owners. Period.

    Any talk to me that the players are in teh wrong is stupid.

    And like PFT has noted, the league walked out after what was likely an introductory offer. Thats bad negotiation.

  14. terrygca says: Feb 16, 2011 4:42 PM

    How dare the union try to redefine “total revenue” to include all revenue? Why does it feel like the league is trying to sell me a pleather jacket at the cost of real leather?

    Besides, that offer doesn’t completely kick the can down the road. If the split changes to 50-50, that means the owners get a bigger share of any revenue gains in the future, which puts the onus on them to grow the game for the good of everyone.

  15. grpatriot says: Feb 16, 2011 4:59 PM

    This is all about revenue sharing….. The small market teams want thier dole. The big market teams want the players to kick in the ante!
    Here’s a proposal Owners eat 5% and the Players 5%. Seems fair!
    However, small market teams need to realize that they can’t run thier franchise poorly and still expect Jones, Kraft and the Mara’s to constantly bail them out!

  16. mick730 says: Feb 16, 2011 5:01 PM

    “The players are labor and so am I.”

    Therefore, I don’t have to know jack about anything, I just go along with labor like the mindless nitwit I am.

    Why don’t the players, since they’re the “whole show”, just go start their own league? Call it the UFL, the Union Football League. They can build their own stadiums, they can buy their own uniforms, they can lease their own jumbo jets to pay for their travel to away games, the can pay their own medical expenses; things will be grand.

    Just as labor unions have screwed up every industry they’ve ever gotten their hands on, these morons will screw up the NFL.

  17. liquidmuse says: Feb 16, 2011 5:46 PM

    This is so frustrating—
    1)People pay to see THE PLAYERS.
    2)The owners are stating “We need more money to build stadiums, maintain stadiums, etc”. Um, the TAXPAYERS built you those stadiums, which you then essentially just make pure profit off of.
    3)This comes down to people don’t want to go to a crowded stadium & be overcharged for beer, parking, etc., when they can watch from the comfort of home on high-def tvs. Yet, blackouts. The owners are insular, greedy(& I don’t throw that word around too often)bastards who have made A TON off their original investment—& now think people want to simply see the LAUNDRY they own, & not the players. Stupid & absurd.

  18. MovieGoober says: Feb 16, 2011 5:52 PM

    “The reality is this as a 50/30 split w 20 set aside for paying rent, leases, admin, land taxes etc.”

    Ok, then. So the players, all the players, get 50%. The other employees get 20% and the owners get 30%. That’s a pretty good deal for just 32 men.

    I think your numbers are screwy, but if they’re right, that’s a great deal for the owners. 30% of $9 billion. Keep the status quo!

  19. MovieGoober says: Feb 16, 2011 5:59 PM

    “Just as labor unions have screwed up every industry they’ve ever gotten their hands on….”

    Buddy,

    If by “screwed up” you mean set a 40 hour work week, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, unlocked fire escapes then unions have screwed things up for someone. You’re just a dittohead.

  20. heyooooh says: Feb 16, 2011 6:06 PM

    This posting feels like it just got infiltrated by NFLPA and NFL representatives. Some of the comments sound way too much like the negotiators from each side.

  21. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Feb 17, 2011 10:22 AM

    In 1969 – the year the “Miracle Mets” won the World Series – their top pitcher, Tom Seaver, made $90,000.

    Those were the days!

  22. toe4 says: Feb 18, 2011 10:44 AM

    1969… do you mean the Miracle Jets? What is this position called pitcher? Do you mean quarterback?

    Oh… you are referring to baseball. Thats the game they used to play before WWII… right? No, not college football… the other game.

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