Foxworth says players are ready to talk now

The owners have said all week that they are ready to resume negotiations.  Mixed messages, at best, have come from the players.

A report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, citing an unnamed NFLPA* source, indicated that there was “no chance” of additional talks before the April 6 hearing on the players’ motion to end the lockout while the Brady antitrust lawsuit proceeds.  Since then, men like NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith have indicated that talks may continue through the lawyers representing the players in their lawsuit.  Seahawks guard and NFLPA* players’ rep Chester Pitts, after initially insisting on Twitter that no talks of any kind may occur now that the case has landed in the court system, ultimately agreed that talks could happen that way.

Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, a named plaintiff in the lawsuit but also a member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee, potentially undermined the union’s decertification effort by telling ESPN that “we” want to negotiate directly with owners like Robert Kraft, Jerry Jones, and Jerry Richardson.  On Saturday, the NFLPA* told Commissioner Roger Goodell that, if the owners want to continue negotiations, the league should contact the lawyers handling the Brady case.

Now, another NFLPA* Executive Committee member has provided the ultimate mixed message.

In the same interview during which (as Rosenthal pointed out earlier) Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth said that the players are fine with never being a union again (it’s impressive that he has been able to ask all of them that question), Foxworth explains that “we’ve expressed that we’re ready to begin talks as soon as they’re ready.”

So who is the “we”?  Foxworth isn’t a named plaintiff in the Brady case, he’s a member of NFLPA* leadership, the entity that has renounced its ability to negotiate with the NFL and, per Foxworth, never intends to do it again.

Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy, a member of the NFL’s negotiating team, said recently on PFT Live that the league could resume talks pursuant to an agreement that would allow the NFLPA* to be involved without that involvement being used against the players in conjunction with the argument that decertification is a sham.  Frankly, the NFLPA* need to request that, in exchange for the immediate resumption of talks, the league also won’t use any of the statements made by Vrabel and Foxworth as ammunition in the “sham” argument.

Time is of the essence.  With the league’s brief opposing the motion to lift the lockout due Monday, the lawyers for the two parties need to get together quickly to negotiate the terms of a re-engagement.  And the NFL should agree to whatever it takes in order to get the talks going again, without attempting to score a concession by agreeing not to beat the NFLPA* over the head with any statements suggesting the union still is a union, even if the union indeed still is a union.

Either way, it’s time for action.  Currently, the NFL and the NFLPA* are lined up against their respective walls like the boys and the girls at a junior-high dance.  It’s time for someone to make the first tangible move.

30 responses to “Foxworth says players are ready to talk now

  1. First thing I have heard from the players’ side that shows any intelligence or logic on their end. And that is to negotiate for themselves because the other clowns in place are incompetent and biased towards ulterior motives. The longer this plays out, the worse it will be for the players. If the players get to negotiate directly, then a deal will happen. It won’t be as good as what the NFLPA* thinks they could have got or believes what they should get, but it nevertheless will be a better deal than they will get in the long-run, and more importantly they will continue to have great NFL jobs that still overpay them more than they deserve.

    Players, go get your money and be grateful for what you get. It’s your best play.

  2. all this s*it about we the owners and we the player are ready to talk… shut the f*ck up and do it already….. and get this deal done already!!!!!!

  3. so who is stopping the players from going back to the table?? i think even the people that are in love with the players can admit the owners genuinely want to get back to the table. are certain players just saying this so they can say they wanted to continue the negotiations? sounds like they are stalling and distracting until April 6th.

    if they want to continue negotiations then do it. or is it the most annoying man on earth, d-smith that is stopping them. sorry but he is so annoying. i feel like he tries to be cool but he is not

  4. the more the players talk the more their decertification becomes a sham. at this point the owners are better off waiting for the hearing and beating them over the head with their own statements.

  5. LOL, it’s pretty obvious none of the players have a clue what’s going on. You may as well ask them for an discourse on Nietzsche.

  6. DeMo declared “War” and has waged an emotional battle. The “Shamification” of the NFLPA* takes the players down a path through the Federal Courts that may take 4 years or more to resolve. DeMo is going to be fired before long. Owners should not be in a hurry.

  7. “And the NFL should agree to whatever it takes in order to get the talks going again”

    And there it is again.

    I have a challenge for you, Mike: one single post about an NFLPA* demand that doesn’t include some variation of “the owners must give the union* exactly what they’re asking for right now.”

    Just one. Try it, shouldn’t be too painful.

    You know, because you’re “neutral in all this.”

  8. ” Currently, the NFL and the NFLPA* are lined up against their respective walls like the boys and the girls at a junior-high dance.”

    The difference is that the junior-high dance crowd is much more emotionally mature than what the principals in the NFL labor dispute seem to be.

  9. The NFL should allow this to go to the courts. It may lose in the lower court in Minnesota but there is no way the NFL loses on Appeal at the 8th circuit.

    The decertification is a sham and it’s time for the owners and the league to put an end to this nonsensical notion that these miscreants and reprobates that compose the NFLPA are “partners”.

    That the players of a child’s game, who have been made rich beyond their wildest dreams, by the owners of the NFL, yet compare themselves to “slaves” and the owners to “masters”, and who believe they are more important than the game, that they are the game, shows just how out of touch with reality they are. Why would successful individuals like the NFL owners want as partners people who are so utterly dilusional and immature?

    Even if it costs the 2011 season, in the long run, it will be better for the league to crush these guys sooner rather than later.

  10. I know that you are biased in favor of the union (I guess it comes from your lawyer days when you apparently represented employees), but don’t you think that it is time for the players to make a move to negotiate. The owners have been begging for negotiations. As some people would say – it’s the players, stupid.

    Also, any players’ group that wants to can talk with the NFL. The players that are not involved in the Brady suit can get together and talk with the owners. They do not need the lawyers’ or NFLPA* permission.

  11. Good god. Where to start. The players executive committee flops around more than a fish out of water. Vrabel wants to meet and then signs off on a letter saying he can’t meet and to talk to the lawyers. Foxworth didn’t want to meet and now wants to meet. The nonunion/union is a PR nightmare.

    Frankly Mike, you spend alot of time protecting the players for someone who is supposedly neutral. You have given alot of space in your articles telling the owners that they need to concede to the players demands (ie .. the owners should concede to the 10 years of financials, etc). Now, even though the owners have offered to meet with with the players without using it against them in court you want them to also give the players amnesty retroactively for statements they already made to the press? Just because they can?

    My question is that it seems that owners are supposed to concede this, concede that, give up leverage here and give up leverage there. What, in any of your articles have you asked the players to concede or give up in leverage?

    Why should it always be the owners that have to make concessions? It hasn’t worked so far. Maybe if the players conceded something that would grease the wheels? Heck, i’d settle with the union following through on doing anything they said they’d do to restart talks. Vrabel was a spectacular failure as he renounced his ability to talk to the owners the day after he challenged the owners to talk to him and they accepted.

  12. Vrabel says he wants to meet the owners without their lawyers & reps and the owners respond by saying yes we’ll meet and we’ll bring our lawyers & reps.


  13. I have never seen a situation where settlement negotiations were anything other than “without prejudice.” For you non-lawyers that means that anything you say, anything you offer, anything you do and whoever does the negotiating for you, cannot be heard as a legal or factual argument against you in the courtroom. Any judge wants to see the parties negotiating before they get to the courtroom. Any judge wants to avoid making a decision if an agreement can be worked out instead. So, IMHO, the union heads can negotiate for the players at this point without any real danger. Personally, I don’t think that’s a good thing because both sides are a still a little too surly. There’s too much tough guy stuff still going on. One side is going to feel much more vulnerable after April 6 and that might lead to a deal. The players have the upper hand legally. But winning at this stage won’t get them a deal. If the judge is smart she’ll scare both sides, not tip her hand on her ruling, and appoint her own mediator to take 2-3 weeks to thrash out a deal. That’s what I’d do.

  14. These pretzels are making me thirsty! and eagleswin

    i totally agree. this site 100% is on the players side. they always slip one little thing in there against the owners. just cuz one player says he wants to negotiate doesnt mean the league can just go sit down with them. the one thing that is clear to every person following is that the owners want to sit down and work out a deal and the players want to go to court, that is 100% the case. but this site is still one of the best out there.

  15. Too late. The players had their chance and blew it with De Smith. Sorry, you guys have lost this fans support.

  16. Dare I say can u give back your 2010 salary cause your Knee is broke? He made millions for rehab! If only his mouth could back up his play on the field!

  17. This is beautiful. You can almost hear the players solidarity begin to crumble. Remember people, these guys are not real “union” guys. There is huge disparity in what the highest paid guy makes and lowest paid guy makes.

    Further, many of them aren’t real good at planning. Can you imagine their trophy wives yipping, “Go and out and get you some game, man! The kids got to eat!”

    Most of these players don’t have the stones or resources for a protracted stare down. They just don’t. Each minute this goes on, it moves closer to a favorable conclusion for the owners. Now do the owners have the wisdom to know that and time their offers accordingly?

    Owners own for decades. Most players have 3 to 4 years to cash in.

    Tick, tock.

  18. Dear God

    Please help all the people in Japan and Libya in these difficult times. And if you have a moment to spare, please let Dominique Foxworth get beat like a rented mule by every two-bit receiver in the league next season.


  19. ummmmm yeah…. the checks in the mail…. I gave at the office… the dog ate my collective bargaining agreement….

    all I know is the Owners have been waiting a week for someone to show up.

  20. April 6th comes the hearing begins. It could take several weeks for a decision. If it goes the players way, the league appeals, gets another hearing. All this could run into June until either the courts put an end to it.

    I’d heard that Upshaw and Tags reached their agreements with few people in the room. The players kept quiet and let Upshaw do the talking. There are too many voices out there stiring up the pot.

    And Foxworth is the rented mule for my team who didn’t play a down last season and played like crap the one before.

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