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Players push back against Goodell letter

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On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to every player summarizing the offer made by the league on March 11 and urging the players to pressure their representatives to respond.

The bold move possibly has backfired.

Multiple players have spoken out against the gesture, using it as the latest rallying cry against the owners.  It’s the same dynamic that Ross Tucker of Sirius NFL Radio spelled out during a visit to PFT Live on Thursday.  NFL players wouldn’t have become NFL players if they were willing to back down from a fight, and these NFL players perceive the NFL Commissioner to be trying to spark an implosion of the NFLPA*.

Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com reports that Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett and receiver Anthony Gonzalez (pictured) pulled an all-nighter (Colts fans would say Gonzalez also pulled a hamstring while doing it) to prepare a response.

“Looking at what Commissioner Goodell sent out, it would be pretty easy for guys to say, ‘You know what? This actually looks pretty decent,’” Gonzalez told Marvez.  “But we know as advocates for our players that we need to go point-by-point on this letter and show them how deceptive this really is.

“Deceptive isn’t the word.  To say there are half-truths in that letter is ambitious.  They’re like quarter-to-less truths.  We’re trying to fill in the gaps.”

“When you just look at the email itself, it’s really a joke,” Washington Football Club defensive end and player representative Vonnie Holliday said.  “That’s why you see some of the players around the league speaking out. This does not tell the story. This is just another ploy by the NFL to make us look like bad guys, to divide us. But we’re strong. Our leadership has been strong. Our players are informed.

“For the most part, I think [the NFL is] surprised at how strong we are as a group and what we’ve been able to accomplish so far.  That’s what’s going to carry us throughout the rest of this process.”

Or it possibly will carry a lot of them to Chapter 7.

We continue to be neutral in this matter.  We simply want this all to end, so that we can get back to the offseason and free agency and everything else that makes the NFL popular months before a game is even due to be played.

At this point, the players can huff and puff all they want about Goodell’s tactics.  But their representatives know what the offer was, and their representatives should be developing a response.  We’ve got no problem with players saying things aimed at keeping other players from going to Twitter after drinking a few Friday night fuzzy navels and firing off F-bombs in the direction of the NFLPA*.  Still, the representatives should be doing more than using actual or perceived assaults on solidarity to pull the players’ strings and/or to keep them in line.  The representatives need to be looking for ways to get this resolved so that the players can be working out with their teams, getting new contracts, having access to counseling, and being able to talk to their coaches.

We’ve previously said that players shouldn’t voice concerns publicly if they believe something is amiss, and we strongly suspect that something is.  Still, they should find a way to make their concerns known, before a small handful of lawyers or agents or players put a brick on the gas pedal as the car approaches the point of no return.

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38 Responses to “Players push back against Goodell letter”
  1. joshuavkidd says: Mar 18, 2011 4:48 PM

    How dare he send out a letter to let everyone know exactly what was offered to the NFLPA!!! How dare you sir! I’ve never been so insulted. In the future please never tell me anything i prefer to be left in the dark.

    Yours truly,
    Dense NFL player

  2. rcali says: Mar 18, 2011 4:51 PM

    Anyone else seeing a bigger divide occurring? The gloves are officially off.

  3. thevillain112 says: Mar 18, 2011 4:52 PM

    These player reps are idiots. Goodell isn’t saying here is the entire deal tell your union heads to sign it. He’s saying these are things we are offering, so come back to the negotiating table because it’s not “The worst deal in sports history”…

  4. tb12eatitbitches says: Mar 18, 2011 4:56 PM

    This is becoming so idiotic. The next announcement on this topic should be “A deal has been reached”. Please.

  5. steelergold says: Mar 18, 2011 4:59 PM

    Back and forth is getting dull. Get your butts to the table and solve this.

  6. mmickute says: Mar 18, 2011 5:02 PM

    I don’t care how strong you are, 50 percent of you can get replaced tomorrow and no one would notice. You really aren’t as valuable as you think you are.

    and I’m still trying to figure out how that letter wanted the players to divide? I thought that was a simple letter about bringing both sides together? Agh. How did these people even get in college.

  7. ttommytom says: Mar 18, 2011 5:03 PM

    You all don’t think the players should speak out?

    You posted Goodell’s letter thus bringing it to the attention of 1 million readers. So now these guys want to also respond publicly to not look bad. Human nature.

    p.s. Please pass this response Greg. I will vote for you to have a salary one day.

  8. hail2tharedskins says: Mar 18, 2011 5:04 PM

    I don’t think this a backfire at all. If the players by-and-large were dismissing the let the player reps would not be spending all this time publicly denouncing it. Apparently enough players have read Goodell’s letter and started asking questions, which of course was the intent. Just look at the hard-line player responses, the hard-liners are being further divided from the moderate player base (and of course the fans and retired players) with each over-the-top response they give.

  9. j0esixpack says: Mar 18, 2011 5:06 PM

    Memo to NFLPA:

    The point is that the NFL made an offer, regardless of how you want to characterize it.

    All the fans – and likely members of the NFLPA – are all still waiting for your counter offer.

    That’s da fact, Jack.

  10. vomitingliberals says: Mar 18, 2011 5:06 PM

    Oh no! The players are being asked to take 45% of overall revenue (which would still see them horribly overpaid) instead of robbing their respective franchises by taking just south of 60%. Quick, somebody frisk them and take away all of their shoelaces!

    Who cares if franchises become completely unprofitable in the future due to the current 15% annual player salary increases, at least we will be able to watch the league die amidst all of our favorite players retiring really, really rich!

  11. sagnam says: Mar 18, 2011 5:07 PM

    Man, I’d love to see the “clarifications” these two amateur economists came up with.

    Why can’t the players understand that this was nothing more than an offer with some concessions. The next step is to counter with desired adjustments accompanied by concessions to less critical points as incentive to get the other side to agree to some the new proposals. Rinse and repeat.

    The amateur psychologist in me likes to point out that when stupid people are presented with a situation that they are too stupid to comprehend more often then not they lash out in anger. Stupid people are also apt to blindly follow and violently defend one they believe can comprehend the situation and that can gain their trust.

  12. duanethomas says: Mar 18, 2011 5:12 PM

    Way to win friends ans influence people Mr Goodell. I’m not a betting man, but I would bet a significant wager that’s the last letter the commish will send to the players. April 6th!

  13. jeff061 says: Mar 18, 2011 5:13 PM

    Backfired? Don’t think so – its spot on as it has shown the public what the offer is – and they whining and name callign by the players, absent of any details or counter offer – is making them look like idiots.

    It was a brilliant move.

  14. kegpack says: Mar 18, 2011 5:18 PM

    I’m really sick of these players. Can you put together a potential scab list please?

  15. tdk24 says: Mar 18, 2011 5:22 PM

    It really appears that this players are going to hold on forever. Instead of feeling lucky to have the career that they do, they take it for granted. That is what really pisses me off. Sure, you can fight for “point-for-point” issues, but you’re not going to win them all! That’s what negotiations are all about. It’s like this… the buyer(team owner) offers the seller(the players) a deal. The seller says no, i want more. The buyer offers another deal, again the seller says no, i want more. Eventually the buyer is going to say fine, i’ll buy it from someone else, you’re not the only sellers around. He players, don’t get pissed if this happens. For all the college players that wouldn’t normally get a shot in the NFL, it’s called “The American Dream”.

  16. jerehall says: Mar 18, 2011 5:33 PM

    “For the most part, I think [the NFL is] surprised at how strong we are as a group and what we’ve been able to accomplish so far. That’s what’s going to carry us throughout the rest of this process.”

    I’m sure the NFL is surprised that ONE WEEK into the lockout and half the players haven’t had to file for bankruptcy.

    We’ll see how this looks when the real paychecks start getting missed. Baby mama’s lawyer isn’t going to be happy when those payments start get missed. . .

  17. bluepike says: Mar 18, 2011 5:37 PM

    These players make me laugh. Are they really this dumb? Goodell is trying to re-start negotiations and get this thing resolved while the players get mad had him for trying to do so.

    Meanwhile, their “leaders” refuse to make a move toward returning to the bargaining table as it appears litigation is what they truly wanted all along.

    On top of everything else, the players are telling us how stupid they think we are when they think that we don’t understand anything by siding against them.

    Then get back to the table and show us something guys and get this thing over with. Or at best, one of you at least tell us why you won’t re-start negotiations.

  18. broncfanor says: Mar 18, 2011 5:40 PM

    Instead of calling it a bunch of lies why don’t you present your side that proves this to be lies?

  19. childressrulz says: Mar 18, 2011 5:47 PM

    Go players and go union!

  20. citizenstrange says: Mar 18, 2011 5:56 PM

    If the Goodell and the NFL really care about the fans as much as they say why don’t they NEGOTIATE with Time Warner so I can watch a freakin’ Thursday Night game?

    Where is my freakin’ letter you shifty a-hole?

  21. Deb says: Mar 18, 2011 6:09 PM

    If one player sneezed and the others said “Bless you!” the owner contingent posting on PFT would tell us all how stupid the players were for saying “Bless you.” Nothing players do satisfies these people–most of whom have only been posting on PFT since last Friday :roll:

    If we’re being honest, most players and fans dislike Goodell–with good reason. He keeps claiming he’s pursuing policies fans want, such as European expansion and an 18-game season, when polls say we don’t want them. He spent the season blathering about safety while fining players for obviously legal hits. But he’s done nothing about poor officiating. It might help if bad hits were flagged as they occurred. But Goodell has proved he’s not interested in problem-solving, but only in playing to the cameras.

    No wonder the players reacted negatively to a letter from a commissioner they dislike and distrust. It was a foolish gesture.

  22. thefiesty1 says: Mar 18, 2011 6:09 PM

    The players are getting bad advice from their representatives. Get back to the table without De Maurice. Take a look at the last offer from the owners.

    Your acting like spoiled children you dumb jocks.

  23. mick730 says: Mar 18, 2011 6:11 PM

    “How did these people even get in college?” So asks a previous poster.

    When I was in college at a PAC-10 school, I used to tutor for the athletic department to earn some extra cash.

    The stories I can tell!

  24. sh4doww4lker says: Mar 18, 2011 6:17 PM

    Want some credibility in your statements? Provide a link so we can see who votes for or against the responses.
    Thumbs up — Thumbs down crowd exposed

  25. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Mar 18, 2011 6:17 PM

    There has not been professional football played in D.C. since the current ownership took over – except that professional football was played by visiting teams.

    The Washington Team Football may be referred to as “WTF” in newspapers seeking to avoid further legal issues with “TMD”*

    *The Midget Dictator

  26. Jim Fennell says: Mar 18, 2011 6:24 PM

    I am extremely tired of hearing both sides of this issue whining to the media about what was said or what wasn’t said. Why can’t these idiots simply talk to each other, work out the differences, misunderstandings, half-truths, whatever, and just get on with it already. Each time one side or the other puts out a statement to the media instead of talking with each other, they’re losing points in my book.

  27. mayfieldroadboy says: Mar 18, 2011 6:25 PM

    What did Goodell’s email say? What are the points with which the association of former NFLPA disagree? They say the NFL tells quarter truths, half truths, and downright lies. Could you please reveal the email with the the players’ notations of which points are untruthful and filled with deception. We really should know exactly what the former players are asking – beside wanting to see 10 years of financial statements and wanting to become the senior partner in this employer/employee relationship. The teams financial records were already available to the NFLPA; or do the former players now want to include all the income from the teams’ owners assets? It seems the former players want more than a partnership in the league; the former players now want to become the owners of the owners.

  28. dkeyser says: Mar 18, 2011 6:29 PM

    You keep hearing “It was a bad deal” over and over again. Yet what we dont hear is why it was a bad deal. Then the player reps tell their “guys” about said “bad deal” and answer questions from their guys about said “bad deal”…Now how exactly can one answer questions about an offer most of them have no 1st hand knowledge about. 85% of these reps werent even at the meetings. They are getting 2nd hand info from the executive bargining group….When asked about a specific point of the NFLs offer, all they can say was it was a lie..Sounds to me these guys are being led blindly and arent asking teh right questions to their leadership

  29. pdxpanther says: Mar 18, 2011 7:14 PM

    joshuavkidd, you’re fooling yourself if you think the NFL is telling the 100% truth of what they offered to the players. All they released were super vague bullet points to make it sound like they were giving the players the best deal ever. All that was missing was the crappy stock powerpoint theme and presentation. The leagues nfllabor.com site is a complete joke. They are doing the same thing to the fans that the union is doing, “pick our side,” when in fact they are both equally stupid in thinking we are that stupid.

  30. melikefootball says: Mar 18, 2011 7:29 PM

    These players don’t get it. They are in the intertainment business. Always someone to come along to take your place , then you can sell your greatest hits on CD Universe. They want to strut their feathers but some are losing their luster to many of the fans.

  31. garyman1 says: Mar 18, 2011 7:29 PM

    “we need to go point-by-point on this letter and show them how deceptive this really is”. That is what Vonnie Holiday said…but I didn’t see anything where he actually goes point by point. BS aside…it’s ALL about the revenue split… the rest is fluff

  32. commandercornpone says: Mar 18, 2011 8:23 PM

    well they can all be replaced. i agree the nfl should put out ads for scab players who have never played in the nfl regular season or playoffs or have played only a handful of games and have been out for at least 2 years.

    suiting up counts as playing. no union member as of the day before the sham decert can apply.

    offer them no more than 10% more than the going rates in the best paying other football league out there, per game, if the games are played and they are in them.

    then watch duh get thrown off a tall building. and the players cave for even “less”.

  33. These pretzels are making me thirsty! says: Mar 18, 2011 8:41 PM

    “We continue to be neutral in this matter.”

    Most of your commentary suggests the exact opposite, Mike. Been reading your site for six years, love your work, but I really wish your commentary was consistent with your claim. The tone of your posts pegs you as squarely on the players’ side, and the angry undercurrent running throughout the majority of your commentary on this issue is rather unbecoming.

    You can get your point across without the cheap shots at the owners (clever asides like “Scrooge McDuck coffers”) while criticizing them for not “respecting” the players… or your continued calls for the owners to cave 100% to the NFLPA*’s demands, while ignoring the reality that the players have not, and are unwilling to, negotiate.

    Not sure what’s at the root of it, but you’re a lawyer, and by all accounts, were pretty successful at it. You’d not have gotten that far if you didn’t know how to negotiate, and didn’t understand the process. All of which makes so much of your commentary on the issue all the more curious.

  34. apetits says: Mar 18, 2011 8:45 PM

    I’m actually giving less of a s**t about the NFL every day this goes on. Go f**k yourselves, players – maybe I’ll actually keep my money in my pocket this year instead of giving it your whiny, disingenuous asses.

  35. Deb says: Mar 18, 2011 9:22 PM

    @commandercornpone …

    Whatever you may think about this situation, there is a special place in hell for scabs … and the people who support them.

  36. anthonyfromstatenisland says: Mar 18, 2011 11:55 PM

    These uppity punks make me sick.

    I hope the owners bust the union, and drive salaries down to where they were in the good old days – in 1969, Tom Seaver (different sport, I know) made $90,000!

  37. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 10:50 AM

    Uppity? Well … maybe those slavery analogies aren’t so crazy after all :roll:

  38. djam74 says: May 15, 2011 3:00 PM

    Regardless of how legit or not legit this letter was, I am beginning to think the next letter Goodell comes out with should be his official letter of resignation.

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