Owners consistently have accused the players of pushing the negotiation process toward decertification and litigation. And one former player who has been involved in the negotiations disagrees.
“I’m incredibly disappointed,” Pete Kendall tells Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “It’s completely false. The outcome we have today is outcome the owners sought starting in 2007 when they hired Bob Batterman. Owners started talking publicly about a lockout in 2008 and evidence in the [“lockout insurance” case] made it clear owners planned to do a lockout in 2011. No other conclusion can be drawn.
“The people on the players’ side were more than willing to sit down with ownership and be convinced of the real problems,” Kendall said. “The only way the owners could convince the players was to demonstrate it. Not just say it. The owners said, ‘Trust us.’ After everything revealed in the lockout insurance case, how could we do that? Now we have a lockout. So who got what they were positioning for?”
Well, Pete, both. The players were positioning to decertify and sue, and the owners were positioning to lock the players out. Each side got what it wanted, and now each side is trying to blame the other.
Something else Kendall said caught our attention. With the union supposedly insisting on nothing less than audited financial statements, Kendall indicated that the union would have taken something far less than that.
“We were more than willing to agree to confidentiality in that,” Kendall said regarding the possibility of financial disclosure. “The results could have been blinded so we didn’t know which teams were declining in profitability.”
In other words, the players apparently would be willing to consider team-by-team profitability information without the teams being identified.
The good news? NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith’s public demand for audited financial statements apparently was, as it appeared to be, grandstanding. If/when the negotiations resume, hopefully the two sides will find a middle ground as to the issue of financial transparency, so that they then can find a middle ground as to the challenge of figuring out how to share more than $9 billion per year.