1. The letter starts with this sweet nothing: “We start by reminding you that we were there at negotiations and know the truth about what happened.” (Their bolding, not ours.)
2. The letter criticized the league for not having owners present during the majority of negotiations. The players listed a number of facts with the preface to Goodell: “Your statements are false.”
3. The facts primarily dealt with the problems that the union has with the financial aspects of the proposal, with the players contending that their percentage share of revenue decreasing. Much of the same ground was covered by DeMaurice Smith earlier in the week.
4. The players expressed unhappiness with the proposed rookie wage scale. “Your rookie compensation proposal went far beyond addressing any problem of rookie ‘bust’ and amounted to severely restricting veteran salaries for all or most of their careers, since most players play less than 4 years.”
5. The NFLPA* dismissed the apparent gains in health and safety issues like so:
“All of the other elements of the negotiation, which you claim players should be eager to accept, were conditioned on the players agreeing to a rollback of their traditional share of 50/50 of all revenues to what it was in the 1980’s, which would have given up the successes the players fought for and won by asserting their rights in court, including the financial benefits of free agency the players won in the Freeman McNeil and Reggie White litigations more than 20 years ago.”
6. The most depressing part of the letter for fans: The chances for further negotiations before a court date don’t sound promising. “We no longer have the authority to collectively bargain on behalf of the NFL players, and are supporting the players who are asserting their antitrust rights in the Brady litigation,” the players write. “We have heard that you have offered to have discussions with representatives of the players.
“As you know, the players are represented by class counsel in the Brady litigation with the NFLPA and is Executive Committee serving as an advisor to any such settlement discussions. If you have any desire to discuss a settlement of the issues, you should contact class counsel.”
Next stop: Court?
In the meantime, we’ll continue to report on the owners and the NFLPA* talking to each other without, you know, actually talking to each other or getting anything accomplished.