American poet Huey Lewis once said that love has the power to “change a hawk to a little white dove.” For some NFL owners, the possible loss of millions of dollars apparently has a similar impact.
Texans owner Bob McNair, regarded as one of the tough-talking owners hoping to foist a bad deal onto the players, suddenly sounds like a guy wishing for a win-win outcome.
“I think we’re going to get it resolved before too much damage is done,” McNair tells John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “We’re going to do everything we can to negotiate an agreement.”
McNair also made a key point that many players may not be considering. The money the league is losing during the lockout will, in one way or another, be passed along to the players.
“Each month that this thing is delayed, we lose money,” McNair said. “The players lose money, too. We’re not absorbing 100 percent of it. Sixty perfect of that revenue would have been going to the players. It’s going to be lost, and it’s not going to be recaptured.”
He’s right, but only if the prior 59.6-percent formula is used. Under the new approach the two sides have been discussing, the lost money would impact the league’s ability to exceed its revenue projection for 2011, which calls for four-percent growth over 2010. If the league fails to reach that number, the players’ take remains unchanged under the terms of the offer currently on the table.
As to the offer currently on the table, McNair oversells it a bit, in our view. “I’m disappointed they didn’t study the proposal,” McNair said. “If they had questions, they could have negotiated or discussed it and really gotten serious about the negotiations because it’s very favorable to the players. We more than met them halfway.”
That last part isn’t accurate. They “split the difference” between the players’ proposed per-team cap number of $151 million and the owners’ offer of $131 million (salary and benefits), but the owners omitted from the offer any provision for sharing the money that exceeds the projection on which the $141 million figure was based. So the owners haven’t met the players halfway, yet.
It doesn’t mean the owners won’t. And there’s only one way for the players to find out, even if the process of getting their is tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel.