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League denies report of refusal to negotiate last week

Clay Redden AP

Earlier today, we pointed out an eyebrow-raising report from ESPN’s John Clayton that the players “planned to meet with the owners March 28 and spend the week settling this mess,” but that the league refused.  Making the report even more curious was that, even though Clayton cited “multiple sources” (all unnamed) in support of the contention, it appeared not on the bottom of the screen or at the top of the SportsCenter loop or on the front page of the website but at the very bottom of a mailbag column.

The league denies the report.

“No such proposal was made by players or a player representative,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via e-mail.  “We are interested in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.  We wanted to continue negotiations at the federal mediation office based on our March 11 proposal, but the union walked away from negotiations and filed a lawsuit.  We are not interested in discussing a litigation settlement.  We are prepared to continue negotiations immediately over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement and communicated that to the NFLPA  two weeks ago.”

In other words, if the proposal had been made, it would have been refused.

That said, the parties are free to negotiate a “litigation settlement” that results in a new collective bargaining agreement.  Though the league isn’t interested in having a federal judge supervise the next labor deal — and thus doesn’t want a court-approved settlement to become the labor deal in the same way the settlement of the Reggie White antitrust case became the Judge Doty-governed CBA — the parties can negotiate whatever they choose to negotiate.  Though the settlement of any class action must be approved by the court, the parties can agree to a dispute resolution procedure that doesn’t entail anything other than a third-party arbitrator to determine the outcome, which is the normal procedure for labor-management contracts.

The fact that the league refuses to negotiate within the confines of the litigation creates yet another significant hurdle for the process.  Unless one side or the other blinks, there will be no negotiations until the Brady case is resolved.

But there’s some hope.  Judge Susan Nelson has the authority to order the parties to mediate.  The NFL then will have no choice but to attempt negotiate a potential litigation settlement.

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39 Responses to “League denies report of refusal to negotiate last week”
  1. blackshirtz says: Apr 4, 2011 2:39 PM

    It is just a ploy by the players and former Union to win some of the public opinion back.

    GOOD LUCK players and NFLPA, you have a lot of work to do in my eyes!

    bunch of overpaid babys anyway.

  2. nfl25 says: Apr 4, 2011 2:45 PM

    why does it seem PFT writers leave little things out that make the owners look bad? not in this article but they did it in the prvious article about them refusing to meet and they have done it in many others. why is it 90% pro-player people are either from philly or are age 13-19? or why do pro-player people have comments like this:

    “I will make this simple. The bigger someone’s bank account is the less trustworthy they are and they are always a bigger slime ball as well. The rich don’t get rich giving people a fair deal. Go Union”

    or

    “my nfl teams always do good. and the players on my teams are what gets people to the stadium”

    do posts like that sound reasonable? one has a couple differnt nfl teams and one thinks anyone that is rich is a slimeball. there are 100 other posts like that

  3. chapnastier says: Apr 4, 2011 2:54 PM

    “In other words, if the proposal had been made, it would have been refused.”

    Not sure how you could twist the statement to say this but I guess when you are convinced of supporting one side you will believe anything. Even if it isn’t there!

  4. b7p19 says: Apr 4, 2011 2:56 PM

    In a shocking developement one side said something bad about the other…and then the other side denied it.

  5. 2011to2020lions says: Apr 4, 2011 3:03 PM

    Surprise!!!! Like we didn’t see this coming. I just want this crap over and back to football

  6. zaggs says: Apr 4, 2011 3:11 PM

    “Clayton cited “multiple sources” (all unnamed) in support of the contention,”

    Still trying to hide the truth floor-boy. What Clayton wrote was “The players, according to multiple sources,…”. That means all these sources were on the players side. Otherwise he would have typed something like “multiple sources on both sides said..”.

  7. burnzy32 says: Apr 4, 2011 3:13 PM

    this is horsepoop…..if the players wanted to meet with the league, De Smith could go on ESPN and say on record that he’d like to meet, put them spotlight on the owners and apply the pressure…..IF they wanted to meet, but I think theyre hoping the courts side with them

  8. ilockoutu says: Apr 4, 2011 3:14 PM

    thanks for the link to John Clay, Wisconsin’s RB.

  9. bowsi says: Apr 4, 2011 3:25 PM

    If the owners are thinking the Norris-Laguardia Act (1932) is going to trump antitrust laws in the litigation dispute I think they are the ones gambling. The union has been great for the owners and going forward without it even if they win the lockout litigation is a risk. It’s not worth the risk and I now question whoever is advising the owners if they have their best interests at stake.

  10. angrycorgi says: Apr 4, 2011 3:26 PM

    @chapnastier

    Well said. If you’re looking for pink elephants, you’ll somehow eventually find pink elephants.

  11. willycents says: Apr 4, 2011 3:36 PM

    Hmmm, come on Mike, better definition for the players posting here. The NFLPA**** wants to negotiate SETTLEMENT terms, not a new CBA. As in, they want the owners to concede that the union decertification is legit, the lockout is illegal, and arrive at punitive damages for the owners “illegal” actions.
    Currently, there is no one for the owners to negotiate a new CBA with since there is allegedly no union representing the players. Exactly who are they supposed to negotiate with?? One possible group with which they could negotiate with: get all 1900 players together with all possible incoming rookies and all the former players in a room and negotiate with that group? I mean really; give us the names of the group(s) that have the authority to negotiate a new CBA!!
    The players used their “nuclear” option to get out of bargaining on a new CBA by de-certifying. The owners still have theirs….think about this press release:
    “The NFL is ceasing all football related operations pending the creation of a new business paradigm. The players have suggested in court that the NFL is operating outside the confines of the law, therefore, the franchisees have voted to temporarily dissolve the league pending the implementation of a new set of business practices within the law. All contracts signed under the auspices of the NFL or the NFLPA are now considered null and void, and the concerned parties on those contracts are no free to find employment with whomever they wish. Thank you.”
    yup, the players won big time didn’t they. After all, their goal is to wrest control of the league from the owners, IMAO

  12. airraid77 says: Apr 4, 2011 3:38 PM

    What will happen when the owners flick the players the bird and just shut down the league……
    and those of you who think they wont? you better consider how cold hearted a bastard you have to be make that type of money. the owners dont give two flips about public opinion.

  13. steelers24019 says: Apr 4, 2011 3:43 PM

    I’m not from Philly, nor am I an Eagles fan and I wish I was anywhere close to being as young as 13-19. I don’t pay to watch the owners. The players are the ones risking their health. The owners are making far more money than the players. The players are only trying to hold on to what they already have. They are not asking for anything extra. Not only are the owners making tons of money, the value of their franchises are skyrocketing. The owners get help paying for their stadiums. If I was that state of PA, I’d sue the Rooney’s for taking tax payer money and then locking out the state from trying to get their money back from revenue associated with games being played. Signed, A Steeler fan!

  14. jimr10 says: Apr 4, 2011 3:46 PM

    does anyone actually pay attention to john clayton. most of these guys talk about “sources” when actually it is what they think happened and report it as unamed sources. they are unnamed because they do not exist.

  15. steelers24019 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:07 PM

    Blackshirtz:

    Is that why you watch them? They are over paid babies? Maybe those are the players are your favorite team?

  16. steelers24019 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:08 PM

    ANGRYcorgi and chapNASTY are in agreement!

  17. bobwhitequail says: Apr 4, 2011 4:15 PM

    This is just semantics.

    The NFL won’t talk to legal counsel about a settlement agreement because then it appears they accept that the de-certification is not a sham. They do want to negotiate with NFLPA though.

    The players want the opposite. Forcing The NFP to talk to them on “litigation settlement” terms strengthens their hand.

  18. iseek11 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:35 PM

    The games continue. The fans twist. Free Agency is all but wasted. The draft is compromised. All the while the owners and players bicker. Yet the want our $$$$.

    Boycott all NFL merchandise in 2011. Do not buy NFL swag. Do not buy players jerseys and posters and shoes. Watch your teams games and root for them. But don’t spend a dollar on the NFL this year, regardless of when the CBA is reached.

  19. nfl25 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:39 PM

    the main differnce between player backers and owner backers is owner backers support the team. i would rather lose a bunch of players than the coach, or even the dline coach. you could put all new players on my team and i could care less. i dont sit up thinking if my favorite player will be traded or resigned. i dont even have a favorite player. i love football. i will even watch preseason games cuz i am a football nerd. but i could care less about a few players leavin my team. i am not saying i dislike the players at all, i just back my team and organization over the players

  20. FinFan68 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:41 PM

    steelers24019 says:
    Apr 4, 2011 3:43 PM
    I don’t pay to watch the owners. The players are the ones risking their health. The owners are making far more money than the players.
    ————-
    No, you pay to watch the teams play. If not for the owners, there would be no teams and by default, no players.

    The players are more than adequately compensated for “risking their health” and in fact walked away from a league concession that would have lowered workloads and increased medical care.

    As for your statement about who makes more money…Duh! Are you suggesting that the players should make more money than the owners? Your statement shows your true rationale. You seem to hold contempt for those that make more money. If that is a concern for you, perhaps you would be better served by directing your anger where it is more justly deserved, like, the elite players that demand and get huge sums of money at the expense of the other players. All of them are necessary for the game to continue. The players faulty logic of comparing what they make to what the owners make has filterd down to many fans, but that concept is not rational. Players play and owners run their businesses; there is no logical comparison between the functions so there can be no good comparison between how much money either side makes. The class warfare argument is assinine

  21. hail2tharedskins says: Apr 4, 2011 4:42 PM

    I notice your mention that the judge could order the two parties to mediation. I highly doubt that would come out of this lawsuit at this point. In order for the judge to order mediation, she would have to agree with the owners that this is a labor dispute and not a anti-trust matter. If she agrees this is a labor dispute, then as a judge sworn to uphold the law she would be required to dispute the lawsuit and tell the two parties that this is not currently a matter for the courts. You have to remember that the lawsuit has nothing to do with CBA negotiations. The lawsuit actually attacks the validity of the negotiated terms in the CBA. So a judge would have a hard time allowing the lawsuit to proceed while ordering mediation. With no legal background to support my position, I have a little feeling the judge is likely to tell the players they are premature in bringing this matter to the courts. I just find it hard to believe the courts are going to sanction a lawsuit that its sole purpose is to circumvent a lawful lockout which is legally recognized negotiating tactic (as is a strike but not a lawsuit to prevent a lockout). Its easier for the judge to dismiss and allow them players to refile at a later date than it is for her to get involved at this point – especially when she knows and ruling would be subject to judicial review (both sides have already said they plan to appeal any ruling she makes – so why make a ruling now when she can easily force them back on the parties for the time being?). We shall see, less than 2 days now and we should have some indication of how she plans to handle the situation.

  22. blantoncollier says: Apr 4, 2011 4:42 PM

    This isnt semantics, this is a serious legal issue.

    What the players want is a settlement agreement acknowledged by the US District Court, similar to the last few agreements. This keeps the Court System as the final authority.

    The Owners want to reach an agreement on a new CBA. Which is a stand alone agreement under US Labor Laws.

    The Owners have been very clear about their desire to reach a new CBA. The players have been clear they only want to reach a legal settlement.

    Why is this important? Because every dispute in the current Settlement Agreement can find its way back to Judge Dopey.

    Had the players truly wished to reach agreement on a new CBA they would have stayed in Washington and kept talking. As you go back and read and read evey post on this site you can see the players have been pushing for the Court to be the final answer..or the Replay Official.

    As I have said and others have said, Dee wants this in the courts not a bargining table.

  23. hail2tharedskins says: Apr 4, 2011 4:50 PM

    As for this notion that players invited the owners to a negotiating session…

    I can not confirm or deny it. However, I suspect that the players Clayton talked to mixed up some of the facts (as has happened before). The NFLPA posted on its lockout website two letters that were sent to owners’ counsel inviting them to settlement negotiations and advising them not to talk directly to the players. These were dated around March 22 and posted I believe on the players’ website on March 28. So, I find it highly doubtful the players were planning on negotiating with owners the week of March28 – if so it would make their posting of those documents quite curious and would also lead me to question why they didn’t post the letter inviting the owners to negotiate. Based on this evidence I think a player or two got wind of that article on their site and that letters had been exchanged and they didn’t fully comprehend the context of those letters or even bother to read them.

  24. tednancy says: Apr 4, 2011 4:56 PM

    Why on earth should the League pursue a “litigation settlement” when it’s obvious that said litigation is a sham?

    The players dug this ditch when they sued to decertify. Don’t blame the owners for standing up against a frivolous action.

    According to your logic, all victims of frivolous lawsuits should settle with the plaintiffs. Thank God the owners have a backbone.

  25. Deb says: Apr 4, 2011 4:58 PM

    @nfl25 …

    No one has to try to make the owners look bad.

    @angrycorgi …

    Well, that clears up one mystery. You and chapnastier support the owners because you’re seeing pink elephants. Perhaps if you lay off the booze (and Rupert TV), you’ll start to see things more as they are than as you fantasize them to be :)

  26. steelers24019 says: Apr 4, 2011 4:59 PM

    FinFan68:

    Did you really just post “Duh!”? The owners don’t bring anything to the game. You are correct in that I root for the Steelers not the players. That has nothing to do with the fact that their is no real risk in owning an NFL team. Again, the owners bring nothing to the game. Class warfare began decades ago, you’re just too stupid to realize it.

  27. steelers24019 says: Apr 4, 2011 5:03 PM

    When did the Tea Baggers take over this site?

  28. tednancy says: Apr 4, 2011 5:07 PM

    By the way, if the League dared to negotiate with the NFLPA’s* advisers (so called), the union would claim that the NFL was thereby acknowledging decertification.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the players started this mess when they launched this decertification sham. All obstacles to and delays in reaching a deal result therefrom.

  29. thefiesty1 says: Apr 4, 2011 5:51 PM

    They will gladly meet with the players not the lawyers filing the injunction. Wednesday will be here soon enough and then the players will figure it out and get back to the table.

  30. chapnastier says: Apr 4, 2011 6:11 PM

    @ Deb

    I have said a million times, the owners are also to blame for this mess. The players have done themselves in for walking away from the last offer without a counter offer. The pissed off working class folks like us by calling themselves slaves. They have their propaganda website that I think you work for that spews lies of hatred. And now one of their leaders just got arrested. Deb I respect your opinions on here more than most everyone but you can’t keep carrying the water for the players. While both are at fault the players hold the majority of the blame for this mess. Imagine if they would have had a counter offer and agreed to negotiate further rather than de-certify and sue the leauge?

    Imagine that for a minute and get back to me…

  31. nfl25 says: Apr 4, 2011 6:30 PM

    Deb,
    Actually PFT leaves out why the owners wouldnt want to do negotiate right now, so they are trying. I think everyone sees that the players think they are untouchable. I dont hate on the players and say they are scumbags and slimeballs when they do knucklehead stuff. But u have to admit the players think they can do whatever they want, when they want. So ur statement is kind of backwards, nobody has to try to make the players look bad, they do it at least twice a week. This just goes to show u how i told u these players are not the same players from back in the day. You cant compare them to the guys in the 70’s and 80’s

    also for the player backers that are mad that the owners arent negotiating, were u mad when the players stopped negotiating? or how bout when u said the owners planned this cuz they had lockout insurance, but then u found out the players did as well, were u mad at them for putting money aside all those years?.

  32. certtified49er says: Apr 4, 2011 8:16 PM

    All these so-called fans on PFT talking trash about the players and the NFLPA are ridiculous. Am I missing something? Do you guys go watch football on sunday to see Jerry Jones or Dez Bryant? Or maybe you brought your kid a Robert Kraft jersey. I mean come on now, your all insulting the players for standing up for their rights. These are the same guys jersey’s that your going to go buy this September. #LETSNOTBEHYPOCRITES

  33. Deb says: Apr 4, 2011 8:27 PM

    @steelers24019 …

    Scary, isn’t it? They’re everywhere. I think they clone themselves.

  34. Deb says: Apr 4, 2011 8:47 PM

    @chap …

    You’ve said a million times the owners are also to blame? Goodness gracious, you’ll make your nose grow ;) And you know Peterson made that slave comment, which was echoed by a couple of others. Several players slammed it. You can’t get upset over every nutty thing said by one or two of 1700 players.

    Doesn’t take imagination to answer …

    If the players hadn’t decertified by the midnight deadline, the owners would have initiated the lockout anyway. And players would have had to wait six months to challenge it. We’d definitely have lost the 2011 season and players probably would have had to cave to owners’ demands.

    I do believe there’s room for movement on the players’ side. But you’re naive if you really think those 32 savvy businessmen have been backed to the wall by a bunch of players. It’s like those bailed-out banks and Wall Street firms miraculously landing on their feet and finding bonus money for their execs … but they can’t find money to put back into the economy. Didn’t they say they were going under? Big Businesses know how to take care of themselves. Don’t underestimate them.

    @nfl25 …

    The players lockout insurance is a small legal fund. The owners were trying to illegally funnel billions of what was supposed to be joint TV revenues into a fund to keep them going while they, in essence, starved out the players. Nasty business.

  35. chapnastier says: Apr 4, 2011 9:00 PM

    @ steelers and Deb

    Polls show that the majority of Americans agree with the basic Tea Party ideas. I am sorry you both fail to take the time to understand those who do not agree with you. Unions were useful 80 years ago. Times have changed. Now they bleed companies and governements dry. Its a simple concept.

  36. Deb says: Apr 5, 2011 1:32 AM

    @chap …

    At one time, the majority of Americans were against declaring independence from the Crown. The majority of Americans supported slavery. The majority of Americans didn’t want to get involved in European problems like that pesky Hitler guy.

    The majority is often wrong.

    And I’ve spent many many hours discussing issues with those few Tea Partiers who’ve taken the time to develop their ideology beyond parroting what they hear on Fox. You learn by listening to people whose viewpoints differ from yours but who still have a complex view of the world.

    You can’t just say: It’s simple. Unions were useful then, and now they’re not. Nothing is that simple.

    First, the NFL is not the typical business model, so whatever your issues with unions–right or wrong–you can’t blanket apply them to the NFL.

    Second, while some union practices have gotten out of hand, human nature hasn’t changed. The love of money is still the root of all evil. When nobody’s looking, corporations still dump deadly chemicals into community water supplies and put exploding tires on the road and release medications they know will cause liver disease. So if you eliminate unions, companies will still screw workers. And even if you’ve never belonged to a union, you’ll still get screwed by their absence because the standard will fall for everyone. If you don’t understand that, you’re ripe for the screwing.

    The NFL was built on exploiting and breaking players. The entire system from college through the pros still exists to make a few powerful people very very wealthy on the backs of athletes–most of whom reap nothing long-term from the experience. This situation is not about greedy workers. It’s about the powerful trying to secure an even richer future for themselves.

  37. southmo says: Apr 5, 2011 12:54 PM

    It’s all about politics with some of you pro-union folks. Politics and name-calling I should say.

    Explotation of the workers! lol We could all be so lucky.

    This is all business. For either side.

  38. dadindebt6 says: Apr 5, 2011 1:53 PM

    Newsflash to all the pro-player supporters. Every business in existence is built on the backs of the workers. The workers in this country simply have the luxury of being able to move on elsewhere if they really don’t like what is being offered. Heck, they can even risk their own time and money and create their own business if they want to. Then they can decide how much money to keep for themselves.

    Newsflash to the pro-owner supporters. The owners business is dependent on the workers. And yes there are many businesses where salaries and wages account for more than 50% of revenue. In the long-haul trucking industry (which I have been employed in for 25 years) wages account for nearly 70% of all expenses. If the owners don’t like what the workers are demanding, they have the right to shut down the business and not be bothered anymore with those responsibilities. Then they will be out the money they had hoped to make.

    Newsflash to everyone. The only purpose for any business is to make money. If there is any other reason first and foremost for an organization, then it is a charity, not a business. Do the players deserve their money? NO! They only get it because the owners are willing to pay it. Do the owners deserve their yearly income from football operations? NO! They only get it because they provide the product that we want to see.

    In the end, the owners will have an easier time providing the product (with replacement players who will be happy to accept the owners’ offer) than the players would have trying to create their own competing league.

    It is good old American suply and demand. Their are far more people capable of playing the game in an entertaining way than their are places for them to play. Because of this reality, the owners will win any protacted dispute. The players only hope is to go for a court ordered agreement which may or may not cause the owners to shut down the league. If that happens, then who do the players go to for their salaries?

    That is why I say to the players, get what you can while you can. In my mind that means you take the owners’ offer, add a little more in your counter offer, and get back on the field before any games and checks are missed. The longer this takes, the more it will shift to the owners favor.

  39. Deb says: Apr 5, 2011 2:19 PM

    @southmo …

    What name did I call you, hon … other than “hon”? “Tea Partier” is the name of an American political faction–it’s not an epithet. My view is that it’s all about politics with the anti-union folks. They think unions are destructive, so they’re against unions no matter what.

    Yes, it should be business. And as I said, the NFL business model doesn’t operate like a traditional business and can’t be treated like one. The NFL model is more comparable to the relationship between an author and publisher. However, historically, these publishers have profited from their authors’ work without providing compensation commensurate with the revenues the authors generated. That is called “exploitation.” And you wouldn’t consider it lucky if it happened to you.

    Here’s an example from my own college team:

    Tyrone Prothro was a star WR for Bama, destined for pro stardom. Final college year, Coach Shula puts the kid in on a fourth-down TD pass when we’re killing the opponent. No need to be throwing TDs with that score, let alone to your start wideout. Prothro suffers a Theisman-type leg break. His career is over. He came from a poor background and didn’t get paid to play. Now he’s a bank teller. While he was earning zip to get those Bama crowds chearing, Bama earned approx. $125 million. And Bama is still earning. The school earns selling Prothro’s photo, jersey, and DVDs of his games. He doesn’t get one dime of that money because college athletes are required to sign away rights to their names and images throughout the universe for all eternity.

    That is exploitation.

    Only a small percentage of pro players make over a million dollars. Most come into the league with Big Dreams, only to leave with no money and no way to earn a living. Sure, they got a “free” college education. What good does that do when you grew up in a hell hole (as many did) with no college prep and no parental guidance in how to take advantage of a college opportunity? The school urged them to take easy majors and easy classes that didn’t interfere with football. “Who cares? You’ll be making millions.” No one tells them the truth until they’re no longer useful and kicked to the curb. Then it’s too late.

    Meanwhile the colleges and NFL are raking it in. Testing for HGH, my pretty lil backside. The NFL had to be bullied into testing for steroids by a player who was dying from the side-effects. They don’t care what happens to the players as long as they’re raking in the money from the fans. You’re darn right, it’s all about business. For the vast majority of players, it’s about making a living. For the owners, it’s about making a killing.

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