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Pash responds to NFLPA* letter

NFL Lockout Looms As Negotiations Reach Final Day Getty Images

As we were writing a blurb urging the owners to respond to the letter from the NFLPA* by taking the high road, the league was issuing a public response from general counsel Jeff Pash.

It would have been better to do it privately.  Fortunately, the content of Pash’s message isn’t inflammatory.

“We are pleased now to have received a reply to the comprehensive proposal that we made eight days ago,” Pash says.  “The points made in the players’ letter are precisely the kind of points that collective bargaining is intended to address.  Debating the merits of the offer in this fashion is what collective bargaining is all about.  But we would note that three facts we have consistently identified over the past week are ignored and we therefore assume acknowledged.  First, the proposal called for player costs of between $19 and $20 billion over the next four seasons; second, the player cost figure in 2011 was above the actual cash spending for 2009 and 2010; and third, the economic offer, combined with other elements of the proposal, was a substantial move by the clubs to keep negotiations going and avoid a work stoppage and related litigation.

“This letter again proves that the most sensible step for everyone is to get back to bargaining.  So we again accept Mike Vrabel’s suggestion that the union’s executive committee meet with our negotiating team, including Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, to resume bargaining.  If Mike will let us know when and where he and his colleagues would like to meet, we will be there.  We are ready.”

The final paragraph ignores the portion of the letter in which the NFLPA* invites the NFL to contact class counsel to continue talks.  Though the owners almost uniformly despise Jeffrey Kessler (which means he’s doing something right), they need to hold their collective noses and make the call and start the process.

As Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy acknowledged several days ago on PFT Live, there’s a way to involve the NFLPA* without jeopardizing the players’ position as to the validity of the decertification of the union.  Still, the process must commence with the NFL’s lawyers calling Kessler or Barbara Berens or one of the other various attorneys named on the complaint filed on March 11.

So have David Boies call Kessler and begin the process of working out terms of continued discussions.  And then get back to work.  The back-and-forth nonsense is turning people off.  The two sides need to find a way to turn the negotiations back on.

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47 Responses to “Pash responds to NFLPA* letter”
  1. wryly1 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:23 PM

    Pash – if and when we fans want to hear more lawyers talking, we’ll rattle your cage.

  2. oldhamletman says: Mar 19, 2011 2:26 PM

    the Players decertified and walked away… they’ve been invited back and haven’t done it… end of story

  3. txttn says: Mar 19, 2011 2:29 PM

    Seriously – I wish the court would institute some sort of public gag order until the case is heard. I;m not sure who either side thinks its convincing by whining to the public. I’m so glad the NCAA tourney is going on so this garbage has moved to the back pages.

  4. zoxitic says: Mar 19, 2011 2:30 PM

    The players should just meet with the UFL and get 50% ownership of that league and forget the NFL.

  5. touchdownroddywhite says: Mar 19, 2011 2:34 PM

    Maybe the players aren’t as stupid as they make themselves look. The league has basically stated publicly that the previous offer is still on the table, as a starting point, and I thought the offer (forget about the “true-up” propaganda from both sides for a second) was quite decent, really.

    I think it’s fair to say that the players may be holding most of the cards at this point and the NFL expects to lose the preliminary hearing. If the NFL felt their odds were favorable they’d still likely be pushing for bargaining to resume, but it is doubtful they’d be so candid about making it clear a good offer that was scoffed at is still on the table.

  6. brambo67 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:35 PM

    Yet again this site backs the players.
    He should report facts not make comments.
    And the site has it’s own agenda that they should at least acknowledge: most of their sources are players and their agents. They won’t act unbiased in case they stop feeding it.
    Yet this site has commented about the NFL website having a bias?
    Seems to me that ESPN and the NFL website are much more balanced that this one.

    And saying all that, the best responses so far on this situation have come from Andrew Brandt and Peter King.

    The owners realise that the only way anything can get done is through negotiation. They’ve made steps to confirm that re-starting negotiations would not adversely effect the NFLPA* (sham that it is) case.

    Mike Vrabel has stated it is the best thing to happen.
    Instead some tool (DeMaurice Smith and his best mate Kessler) want everything to go via the lawyers. Funny that Smith is an ex-lawyer too.

    Not that I’m stating this as fact, but it makes you wonder is Smith will get a few kick-backs the longer Kessler is employed?

  7. footballfanatic2010 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:36 PM

    Goodell, owners…get rid of these players. Start from scratch. Increase the draft by another 10 rounds, and begin anew. I’ll watch all the games, and I’ll buy whatever crap you throw out there. You’ll save plenty of money since none of the new players will be earning what these greedy bastards demand.

  8. nashvilletrojan says: Mar 19, 2011 2:39 PM

    Maybe Vrabel should become NFLPA president. Seems the owners dislike Mawae and like Vrabel.

  9. nfl52 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:42 PM

    i get the feeling that this website is always taking a little jab at the owners. i think they would love to show how pro player they are but they read what we write and see that for the most part we hate the players and side with the owners. i could be wrong, it doesnt seem as bad as it was last week. i guess they want to stay cool with the players

  10. skoobyfl says: Mar 19, 2011 2:44 PM

    Vrabel sound like a rat from Ratatouille.

  11. 2009kenny says: Mar 19, 2011 2:45 PM

    NFL is beginning to lose money and by extension, the players even if they don’t immediately realize this. They should stop negotiating over the media outlets and man up

  12. nfl52 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:46 PM

    the players are just distracting until they go to court. i personaly would watch football no matter who the players are. get rid of the players that wont work on a new agreement and bring in a lot of college players and whoever else could play. let the greedy players go find normal jobs with the rest of us. i am sure its no all the players that are greedy.

  13. nfl52 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:50 PM

    “the Players decertified and walked away… they’ve been invited back and haven’t done it… end of story”

    oldhamletman, i could not agree more

  14. toe4 says: Mar 19, 2011 2:54 PM

    “We’ll meet with you. You tell us where.”

    “No! We’ll meet with YOU. You tell us where.”

    “No, I dare say we shall meet with you. You tell us where.”

    “By God no! We will meet with you. You tell us where!”

    Just shut up already. You sound like my kids right before I ground them both and be done with it.

  15. tiredofthestupid says: Mar 19, 2011 2:55 PM

    footballfanatic2010–

    Yeah, I want to watch the UFL…

    The casual fan will have lost interest, TV revenue will tank, and the value of their billion dollar franchises will go down the drain.

    Sounds like a WIN for everyone involved. You think maybe that’s EXACTLY why the owners haven’t done what you suggest.

    Oh, and that whole anti-trust thing would STILL be an issue…damn you Laws!!!

  16. hobartbaker says: Mar 19, 2011 2:58 PM

    Jeff Pash took the high road. From that vantage point he was able to roll rocks and urinate on the angry rabble passing below, with both impunity and accuracy.

  17. cappa662 says: Mar 19, 2011 3:01 PM

    Pash and Goodell are two big jerks. And of course are two lawyers with little respect from the NFL players.

  18. blantoncollier says: Mar 19, 2011 3:06 PM

    Not sure why the Owners need to call the players. Lets see if I get this right. Owners put an offer on the table. Players walk out. Goodell and Pash state “lets keep talking”. As do several Owners. Mike Vrabel says lets talk, but only owners. Jeff Pash responds, “call us we will be there.” DeSmith–no talks, just talk.

    You dont call the girl for the dance if you know she will say no. If De and the boys want a deal, I assume Dee got to keep his cell phone when he cut his salary. Dee make the call. Make a deal.

  19. duanethomas says: Mar 19, 2011 3:07 PM

    footballfanatic2010 says:
    Mar 19, 2011 2:36 PM
    Goodell, owners…get rid of these players. Start from scratch. Increase the draft by another 10 rounds, and begin anew. I’ll watch all the games, and I’ll buy whatever crap you throw out there. You’ll save plenty of money since none of the new players will be earning what these greedy bastards demand.

    Sure the owners know that and would do it, but they would be doing that every 10 years or so. The owners know their audience, its the general public like most of the pro-owner people who would score single digits on the Wonderlic test. The dumbing down of America is at hand, you dont research or study, you want it feed it you. Then instead of studying it you get emotional and vent, like the high school grad most of you are. The owners are not dealing with the Vince Young, Ryan Leaf, Cromatrie guys, they are dealing with very intelligent and smart players. So their propaganda is winning in the court of public opinion(not)/this site only… big deal. Lets see what happen’s on the 6th in the courtroom. How did that work for the owners with their LockOut Insurance??? LOL.

  20. goombar2 says: Mar 19, 2011 3:11 PM

    Maybe you can watch scab football, but I’d rather not waste my time. I remember the last strike, and the defining moment of scab football was the Giants v. San Fran when Bill Walsh was reduced to running the option run offense and Bill Parcells was laughing because it actually worked.

    Nah, I much rather watch the best of the best suite up and rumble.

    I hate the uncertainty, but the sides will hash out a deal and the players are worth the money.

  21. southridge23 says: Mar 19, 2011 3:14 PM

    “The back-and-forth nonsense is turning people off. ”

    ============

    amen…speaks to the arrogance and complete disregard on both sides…if the owners are concerned about profits being down now, I can’t wait for them to see their profit/loss statements for 2011 and beyond when a lot of people are turned off and not buying as much merchandise/tickets

    with each passing week and more and more dumb comments from “modern day slaves”, everyone is in for a rude awakening

  22. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Mar 19, 2011 3:27 PM

    This is exactly why people hate lawyers– they can talk in circles and say nothing (both sides.) It’s very simple: the owners make an offer and if the players don’t like it they don’t play. All this BS about decertification and lockout just runs up the legal bills and aggravates the fans. The over-under on the “slavery” nonsense rearing its head was two weeks and I won my bet so I don’t care if they ever play! Go Red Sox!!!

  23. thetobygrizwold says: Mar 19, 2011 3:42 PM

    Sorry, I haven’t been following the lock-out. Can someone tell me why everyone loves the League and hates the players al of a sudden? I haven’t been swayed by the propaganda but I know the League can release some darn good statements.

  24. klunge says: Mar 19, 2011 3:44 PM

    nashvilletrojan says:
    Mar 19, 2011 2:39 PM
    Maybe Vrabel should become NFLPA president. Seems the owners dislike Mawae and like Vrabel.
    ——————————————
    That, and personally I don’t see why players like Mawae should be allowed to represent or even belong to the NFLPA considering he is not even in the league anymore. If you are not employed or retired from the league, you are no longer a player. You should simply be urging the PA to get those improved retirement benefits that were offered, because it’s clear the current players are out for the instant money-grab and don’t give a crap about the retired guys or even their own retirements.

  25. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 3:45 PM

    Excellent response from Pash … and wise to let him make the response instead of Goodell. Whatever the owners or league execs think of Kessler, you can be sure Boies just sees him as a legal adversary without personal animosity. He’s certainly capable of making a professional phone call to get the ball rolling. After that, keep the litigators and league suits out of it and let the owners and player reps sit down and hash this out. Very happy to hear Pash seemed to back down on insisting that he, Goodell, and Batterman need to be in the room.

    @brambo67 …

    I don’t know how you got anything pro-player out of that post, but Mike isn’t a reporter, he’s a blogger. He posts news and rumors and provides his commentary. That’s his job. He, Gregg, MDS, and the other writers are giving you their take on the events. So far, Mike’s take on these events has been well-balanced.

  26. mick730 says: Mar 19, 2011 3:45 PM

    Mawae hasn’t been a player in two years. For the NFL being such a horrible place, institutional “slavery” if you will, it’s amazing how many hangers on that exist in the players ranks. You would think Mawae would be grateful to finaly be “liberated” from bondage and get on with a real life.

    How surprising is it that he doesn’t?

  27. brave13 says: Mar 19, 2011 3:45 PM

    Shshhh…we’re all trying to watch college basketball. You know, a sport that is actually playing games. Get your act together, NFL, and we can talk again.

  28. zaarnak says: Mar 19, 2011 4:08 PM

    If the league and its teams did start over (void all contracts and open not only the draft but free-agency), they probably could get only about 5 to 8 thousand applicants. It would be wild, for sure.

  29. jerrod777 says: Mar 19, 2011 4:08 PM

    I am thinking that the reason the owners do not contact the lawyers and try to get talks started again has more to do with the legal battle. If they call the players lawyers to negotiate, then they are admitting that they are no longer a union. This would hurt their case in arguing that the decertification is a sham. In other words, you can’t acknowledge there is no union (talking to lawyers), and at the same time say that they really are a union (just pretending not to be through decertification)

  30. These pretzels are making me thirsty! says: Mar 19, 2011 4:22 PM

    zoxitic says: Mar 19, 2011 2:30 PM

    The players should just meet with the UFL and get 50% ownership of that league and forget the NFL.

    ———–

    Absolutely, completely, 100% agree.

    These greedy, out-of-touch-with-reality players weren’t there 20 yrs ago, and won’t be here 20 yrs from now–my NFL team will. I’d LOVE to see them all join another league, make all the money they can, and let the NFL hit the reset button.

    And then, once they do that, *everyone*, from each player to every ignoramus commenter, will realize the value of the NFL brand and history, the stadium deals, community roots, network TV contracts, and marketing deals that feed the players’ current 59.6% revenue share. Say it’s the players all you want, but the NFL was successful before these players, and it will be successful once these players have moved on.

    So let them get 50% of the bankrupt, mismanaged, horribly marketed UFL, as you suggest. Or start their own league so they can keep 100% of the revenue. Won’t be long before they’d be begging to return for a 10% share of NFL revenues.

  31. commandercornpone says: Mar 19, 2011 4:26 PM

    what union, pash, they decertified… supposedly.

  32. stataddict says: Mar 19, 2011 4:32 PM

    @zoxitic

    You want the players to to approach the UFL for 50% ownership? The players have turned down that same revenue split from the NFL.

  33. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 5:34 PM

    @stataddict …

    The owners turned down a 50/50 proposal from the players.

  34. reidstinks says: Mar 19, 2011 5:46 PM

    Don’t trust any anonymous posters on this site or any other site that claims bias, or that a site is arguing in favor of one side or the other. Other than players or the owners or someone one of the two them is paying to be interested to the level of defending one or the other, who could possibly care this much about who is right or wrong or who wins?

    I think the fans, real fans without any interest in who gets how many billions only care about football not which of these babies is right or wrong or if one or the other is being portrayed unfairly.

    If this keeps up, I’m taking my Sunday back. No football, I’ll spend all my money on some other meaningless activity.

  35. goodbyenfl says: Mar 19, 2011 5:47 PM

    @duanethomas “Then instead of studying it you get emotional and vent, like the high school grad most of you are. ”

    Dear NFLPA,
    members this is exactly what is ruining your stance in the public, I guess your degree in underwater basket weaving makes you “smarter” than your fans (OBTW I have a peice of paper called a MBA, along with my HS diploma). Just a little FYI many more of those comments will unleash the true power in the league. We (the dumb fans) have the power to put an end to the fleesing of the football fans, BY BOTH PARTIES.

    I know the strategy, you believe all will be forgiven once a CBA is reached and your “on feild” performance will override all the hard feelings. You better wake up sir, you can be replaced. If you feel so strongly that you are getting a raw deal, do what other business’ have done, start your own league as an “employee owned company.”

    I for one (and a number of my freinds) are boycotting product hawked by the *NFLPA and will soon start boycotting any sponsers of the NFL, if it grows we will find out WHO OWNS WHO!

  36. realitypolice says: Mar 19, 2011 6:27 PM

    So we again accept Mike Vrabel’s suggestion that the union’s executive committee meet with our negotiating team, including Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones, to resume bargaining.
    =====================

    This is an outright lie. Mike Vrabel did not suggest that the union’s executive committee meet with their negotiating team “including Jerry Richardson, Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones”, he specifically said the players and owners should meet directly WITHOUT the lawyers and other executives in the room.

    So if he is willing to make such an obvious and outright lie about this, what else is he lying about?

  37. 6thsense79 says: Mar 19, 2011 6:39 PM

    I keep seeing comment after comment calling the players greedy etc. But I haven’t heard them ask for more money. I keep seeing commentors upset that the season may be cancelled yet it’s the owners who have instituted a lockout. The owners always have the power to continue or cancel a season. During strikes they can bring in replacements. During contract negotiations if they can’t get what they want they can lockout players.

  38. thefiesty1 says: Mar 19, 2011 6:54 PM

    Just get the players and owners (except for Jones and Richardson) together. Leave ALL the lawyers out of it.

  39. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 8:06 PM

    @reidstinks …

    ROFL … with one keystroke you say “real fans” care only about the game and couldn’t argue passionately for either side. With the next you announce you’re on verge of dumping football because of the infighting.

    “Real fans” wouldn’t abandon the game over a labor dispute and would take an interest in the business of football. I can passionately argue the issues because I’m passionate about the principles involved. But I’m passionate about almost everything.

  40. eagleswin says: Mar 19, 2011 8:10 PM

    6thsense79 says:
    Mar 19, 2011 6:39 PM
    I keep seeing comment after comment calling the players greedy etc. But I haven’t heard them ask for more money. I keep seeing commentors upset that the season may be cancelled yet it’s the owners who have instituted a lockout. The owners always have the power to continue or cancel a season. During strikes they can bring in replacements. During contract negotiations if they can’t get what they want they can lockout players.
    ———————–
    I must have missed the part where the owners broke off negotiations. It must’ve been the owners who said they were going to decertify and stormed out of the negotiations. Or maybe you are intentionally playing stupid in order to incite. I’m assuming it’s intentional?

    Also, you ask the same questions as poster Deb and ignore the facts much like poster Deb. Please tell me how the owner’s proposal takes 1 penny away from Manning’s guaranteed $23 million next year? How about Brady’s contract? How about Brees? These guys must be losing a ton in the new CBA proposal if they are spearheading the lawsuit.

    The reality is that the players are losing $0. In fact they are gaining lifetime medical benefits, increased pensions and reduced offseason workouts. The owners even guarantee annual salary cap increases and a greater percentage of the cap being spent in cash.

    The owners want to make player expenses more of a fixed cost as player costs have been rising 12-15% a year which is an incredible rate. They are just afraid that the NFL will make $1 that they don’t have their fingers in the pie.

    The players will not be “writing a check” to the NFL as DeMaurice Smith likes to trumpet because the players won’t be giving back a dime, a nickle, or a penny that is in their contracts. Their percentage of the pie may decrease but the actual money will increase greatly over the term of the CBA proposal.

    I hope this addresses all your questions so please refrain from posting wild accusations without specifics to back it up as most of the people who support the union do. They tend to rely on D. Smith’s catchy phrases and wild accusations that sound reasonable on the surface but fall apart completely when you take the time to analyze them.

    From what i’ve seen so far the union has put all their marbles into the litigation from day one without intending to negotiate (compromise) with the NFL. To date we have not seen any counterproposals or seen anything about the NFLPA compromising on anything in negotiations.

  41. easyeddie says: Mar 19, 2011 8:58 PM

    mick730 says:
    Mar 19, 2011 3:45 PM
    Mawae hasn’t been a player in two years. For the NFL being such a horrible place, institutional “slavery” if you will, it’s amazing how many hangers on that exist in the players ranks. You would think Mawae would be grateful to finaly be “liberated” from bondage and get on with a real life.

    How surprising is it that he doesn’t?

    ———————————————
    He probably tried a “real life” job but nobody wanted him.

  42. goodbyenfl says: Mar 19, 2011 10:59 PM

    @eagleswin

    Great job in exposing the spin of the players, but here is a point to add. The players have stated on many occasions, that they were upset over the owners opting out of the CBA.

    Funny they HIRED a laywer (DIG IT Boy) to head the NFLPA*, so it appears they had been planning litigation from the day the owners opted out.

    I have seen a quote from players that Godell has never played a down, hummm how many has DIG IT played??

  43. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 11:41 PM

    @eagleswin …

    Mike posted a breakdown that outlined the compromise proposed by the players weeks ago and the players have referred to their proposals. But you post that you have yet to see anything from the players but litigation. We could all win our arguments if we just ignored facts the way you do :roll:

    It’s been explained to you many times that the players had a midnight deadline. If they didn’t decertify before midnight, the league could lock them out and they would have had no recourse for fighting that action. The owners presented a proposal at 12:30 p.m. that players believed was a step backward from the previous proposal. Since they didn’t feel the owner’s were acting in good faith, they felt they had to decertify before the midnight deadline left them no options. They decertified at 5 p.m. I’m sorry that’s too complex for you.

    The reason poster Deb can’t explain to you what will be shaved off Peyton Manning’s contract is because she has explained to you countless times that it doesn’t work that way.

    The total percentage of revenue that goes to the players doesn’t dictate individual contract amounts, which are negotiated between each player and his team. That total percentage includes player salaries, health care, pensions, and ongoing health care to retirees. Nothing that happens in this negotiation will change the terms of current player contracts. This negotiatons will affect the amount of revenue available for future player contracts, pensions, and health benefits.

    You might also bear in mind when launching your rabid diatribes about Manning’s salary that he will never actually receive the full amount of his contract. Contracts are back-loaded. If a player signs a 5-year, $10 million contract, he might receive $1 million up front, a few hundred thousand in the first couple of years, with the bulk of the contract scheduled to pay off in the final years. The team could cut him, trade him, or renegotiate before they have to pay off the balance of the contract. Or the player could retire or be injured and forced to leave the game. McNabb’s highly publicized contract signed last year is a good example. He will never be with the Redskins long enough to collect.

  44. Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 11:43 PM

    @goodbyenfl …

    De Smith has been called a lot of ridiculous names but did you really just call him “boy”? Seriously? No wonder you have a problem with players asserting themselves. No wonder you’re a fan of eagleswin. You both live in some otherworld where reality doesn’t apply.

  45. rovibe says: Mar 20, 2011 1:26 AM

    THIS WILL MAKE YOU PUKE:

    256 regular season games –

    70,000 fans per game –

    That’s 17.9 million game tickets sold –

    9 BILLION dollars being fought over…

    Do the math. If they lowered the pot to just 7 BILLION dollars to fight over, the other 2 billion that’s left would be enough to give away every game ticket FOR FREE.

    And I’m supposed to feel sorry for any of these clowns?

  46. CKL says: Mar 20, 2011 10:47 AM

    Deb says: Mar 19, 2011 11:41

    You might also bear in mind when launching your rabid diatribes about Manning’s salary that he will never actually receive the full amount of his contract.
    ____________________________________
    He was referring, I believe, to the 23 million that is the franchise tag # for Manning. If Manning plays under the franchise tag he will indeed receive every single penny of that 23 million.

  47. Deb says: Mar 20, 2011 1:10 PM

    @CKL …

    Thanks … I stand corrected. But you know as well as I do that the players don’t receive the full amount of their publicized contracts unless they are guaranteed.

    @rovibe …

    If the players agreed tomorrow to let the owners skim $2 billion from the top of the revenue pie before dividing up their agreed-upon percentages, you would not see one penny’s decrease in the cost of tickets or merchandise. Any savings would go directly into the pockets of the owners and none of it would be passed on to the fans.

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