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Many players apparently don’t realize that Kessler is attacking the draft

2011 NFL Pro Bowl Getty Images

Every once in a while, I trip over an issue that strikes a chord with me.  In the labor dispute, I’ve finally found one.

The lawyers hired by the players believe that the NFL should have no rules, no draft, and no limits on free agency.  Most of the media has been asleep at the switch on this issue for most of the six weeks since the NFLPA decertified and filed a lawsuit that attacks any and all rules that would be implemented among the league’s 32 teams in an NFL without a union representing the players.  The media finally is waking up to the issue, in part because the league has begun to focus on it.

In addition to the comments from league executives during a lengthy interview with Associated Press sports editors, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who raised the issue during a conference call with Giants fans, reiterated it during an interview with USA Today.

“I think when you get back and look at this, I think what’s being pursued by the union attorneys is a completely different vision for the NFL than what I have,” Goodell told Jarrett Bell.

“They’re challenging fundamental aspects that have made the league successful and popular with the fans. They’re going after the draft, as an example, pursuing the draft as illegal.  They’re pursuing free agency restrictions as illegal.  They’re pursuing aspects of the salary cap as illegal. That’s what they’re saying. We don’t believe that.  It’s been negotiated.  We think they’ve been good for the players, the clubs and, most importantly, the fans.  It’s what’s created a successful product.  So the union attorneys are attacking everything that we think has made the league successful.”

In fairness, the 10 players who have filed the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit against the NFL do not argue that the 2011 draft is illegal.  (The plaintiffs in the Carl Eller case, which has been consolidated with the Brady case, are indeed attacking the draft as illegal.)  But that’s only because the expired labor deal contemplated that there will be a draft in 2011.  Via rookie linebacker Von Miller, the incoming rookies are attacking any restrictions or rules regarding the money paid to the 2011 draft picks.  By next year, if the lawsuit is still pending (and it very well could be), we fully expect the players to add a member of the 2011 draft class, who’ll claim that the draft violates the antitrust laws, too.

We’re confident that this will happen because lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has argued, repeatedly, that a non-union NFL should have no player-acquisition rules of any kind — including no draft.  (Daniel Kaplan confirmed Kessler’s beliefs earlier this month, during an appearance on PFT Live.)

When it comes to Kessler’s position, the players fall into three possible categories.  First, players like Cardinals kicker Jay Feely understand Kessler is doing, but they assume that, eventually, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith will tell Kessler to put a sock in it.  Those players must have missed Smith’s comments last month during an extensive interview (we could call it “exclusive!” since he was only talking to PFT Live at the time, but that tactic is lamer than a one-legged Dachshund).

Will next month’s draft be the last draft ever?” I asked.  “Is that the end result of this anti-trust lawsuit:  no rules, 32 companies acting independently and therefore no draft?  You think that’s where this is headed?”

Smith could have said, “We’re not attacking the draft, and we never will.”  But he didn’t.  He provided a vague answer that suggests the draft will be attacked, and that this isn’t simply huffing and puffing from Kessler.

“You know what, I don’t know,” Smith said.  “And Mike, man, you’re a lawyer, I’m a lawyer.  You and I have probably had a lot of confidence in the way in which court cases were going to work out, either ones that you and I were trying or ones that we were watching.  You know you can’t predict anything.  I don’t know.  What we hope to achieve is the game of football for our fans, the game of football for our players.  And that’s what I’ve got my eye focused on right now.”

Smith is right.  Once the pin is pulled on the legal grenade and the lawyers are given the ability to throw the thing wherever they want, no one knows if, where, and how it will explode.  The players may simply want the leverage that comes with attacking the draft, but once the draft is under attack the players may win.

And then all of us lose.

The second category of players consists of those who agree with Kessler, and who want the draft and all other rules to go away.  We’re aware of not a single player who agrees with Kessler.

The third category consists of players who don’t realize what Kessler is doing.  Rams running back Steven Jackson is the charter member of that group.

In response to Goodell’s quotes regarding the attack on the draft, Jackson basically told Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com that Goodell is lying.  “The glaring omission from the Commissioner’s comments is the truth,” Jackson said.  “We are challenging his lockout of players and fans.  How could he miss that?”

Jackson is only partially right.  The short-term strategy is to argue that the lockout of a non-union work force violates antitrust law.  And there’s a good chance the players will win, ending the lockout.

But ending the lockout won’t end the lawsuit.  There still will be no labor deal, and the players will challenge within the confines of the lawsuit any rules that the NFL applies post-lockout as antitrust violations, including any restrictions on free agency, the use of a salary cap, and unless and until De Smith unequivocally says otherwise, the draft.

Again, we’re not pro NFL and we’re not pro player.  We’re looking out for the long-term interests of the game.  Currently, Jeffrey Kessler is playing Russian Roulette with the long-term interests of the game, and De Smith is letting him.

So what should the players do?  They should privately (not publicly) press Smith to insist that Kessler drop any attack on the draft.  It’s not disloyal for the players to express themselves privately to Smith, and it wouldn’t conflict with the effort to end the lockout.  Though abandoning any effort to end the draft would technically sacrifice some leverage for the players, it would also eliminate an argument that potentially threatens the foundation of the sport.

This isn’t an attack on the players.  Our goal is to make sure the players understand what the lawyers are doing.  If the players understand it and support it, then the players should come out and say so.  If they don’t, then they should make their views known to the folks running the litigation, so that this labor dispute won’t inadvertently result in serious, long-term damage to the game.

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104 Responses to “Many players apparently don’t realize that Kessler is attacking the draft”
  1. cdjones34 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:07 PM

    About time they are WAKING UP. I have been worried about this from day one and don’t think they realize that if they win the lawsuit that 90% of NFL players really just LOST!!!!! I hope on Monday Judge Nelson issues her ruling in favor of the NFL and they players have to go back to the table in good faith and take what they can get!!!!

  2. drmonkeyarmy says: Apr 22, 2011 10:08 PM

    I find it amusing that most players don’t even understand what issues those who represent them are pursuing. The players and those they have chosen to represent them are in the process of ruining the game and the only thing that they can do is criticize Goodell and call him names. Mason criticizes him because he wants HGH testing then some other players comes out and calls him a Nazi because he wants the player to have a code of conduct. The players are losing the media battle because they can’t shut up.

  3. section731 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:11 PM

    The owners need to sweeten the deal to make sure that this doesn’t happen. They will need to offer a deal good enough for the players to drop the lawsuit. Other than that they risk losing and really having to pay for it. Split it 50-50 with the players without taking your billion off the top.

  4. harmcityhomer says: Apr 22, 2011 10:25 PM

    Personally I always hated the idea of the draft. My team is almost always picking beyond the top 10 and never in the top 3 and I would like to see them land a Suh or Peppers type of player for a change instead of having to get lucky and have a propspect play better than expected.

    I do not think the draft creates parity. Bad teams pick high every year and draft the wrong guy more often than the right one anyway. Why shold they be rewarded for sucking and the top players be punished by having to play for a perennial loser?

    It may or may not be good for the NFL to have a draft, but how is it good for any player?
    How is it legal without a CBA?
    The players may have walked away from collective bargaining, but they did not walk away from the CBA or go on strike. They are just doing the same thing the owners did, using the leverage they have to get the best deal they can.

    When football starts up again, no matter what rules they decide on, most football fans will watch it and love it.

  5. profootballwalk says: Apr 22, 2011 10:27 PM

    “drmonkeyarmy says: Apr 22, 2011 10:08 PM

    I find it amusing that most players don’t even understand what issues those who represent them are pursuing”

    Because you talk to NFL players all the time.

  6. dangmalzone says: Apr 22, 2011 10:28 PM

    I miss the days when pouring over the countless mock drafts thrown up online by various “draft experts” was the most tedious NFL-related activity I had to keep watch over during April.

  7. agnt28 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:30 PM

    seems to me that Kessler & co. are taking this position because they have to. The have filed a sherman act lawsuit where they need to show that the league rules (including the draft, cap, restricted free agency, etc) constitute unlawful agreements amongst the 32 member clubs that unreasonably restrain trade in the relevant market. They can’t take the position in the complaint that these league rules violate the antitrust laws and then on the other hand state publicly that they are in favor of the draft.

    All of their comments need to bolster the positions that they are taking in the complaint so that they preserve the leverage that comes with the complaint. If the lawsuit is settled, there likely will be a new labor agreement that contains a cap, draft, restricted free agency, etc. Why? Because everyone knows that these rules serve to create a better, MORE competitive, and thus stronger league overall….which results in more TV revenue into the league and thus more money for the players.

    If anything, this highlights the awkward position the players and there lawyers have created for themselves when they left the bargaining table, de-certified, and then filed a lawsuit that challenges the very same rules that they agreed to in the last CBA, and that were going to be part of a new CBA before the negotiations cratered.

    Blame Kessler and the players? Not sure you can reasonably do so. They had one shot to avoid the lockout (and the ultimate leverage that follows). They had to file the lawsuit challenging those rules because its the only shot they had to avoid the lockout. IMO you can;t really blame them from answering questions in a manner that is consistent with their pleadings.

  8. bigsuede says: Apr 22, 2011 10:31 PM

    I guess I might be the only one who thinks having no draft would be pretty cool. I am a niner fan- just think- if this year was without a draft- the niners would have the pick of QB- and QB’s could choose which coaches would be best for their careers.

    There may be less parity- but I enjoyed watching football in the 80’s and 90’s when there were 3 or 4 major teams and those games they played were MAJOR.

    Another point that too many are missing too is that with anti-trust any billionaire or collection of millionaires could just start teams and compete. That could be really really fun.

  9. puntpasskick says: Apr 22, 2011 10:34 PM

    I don’t know why so many people are afraid of this lawsuit because no judge is going to allow the NFL to become like MLB.

  10. willycents says: Apr 22, 2011 10:36 PM

    Mike, please explain what leverage Smith has over Kessler in regards to this suit. As I understand it, he is now an attorney for the litigants, and de facto head of a union that does not exist. Seems to me that the only ones who have any control over the attorneys is the litigants themselves. The union, or whatever in the hell they call themselves, is not a party to the suit, they have “advisor” status. They can advise whatever the hell they want, and Kessler can tell them to suck eggs. Any pressure from Smith on Kessler will seriously undermine their case before the NLRB concerning the decertification; and that pressure will certainly be reported on by someone in the media.
    As for De Smith stating unequivocally that this will not effect the draft, the decision will be up to the judge and her alone. The players cannot sue to overturn SOME antitrust rules they feel damage them, and leave in place those which benefit them, IMAO.
    Suppose the judge rules for the players on the lockout case, the owners impose workplace rules, the players sue under the anti trust laws, and the judge orders NO collusion of any sort between the 32 independent franchise? End of season? End of the NFL?
    Someone please explain the “doomsday” scenario of prohibiting any collusion between the teams.

  11. diehard82 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:36 PM

    Sounds like the federal government, where most voters have no idea exactly what they’re up to. They say one thing, but do another. So the NFL really is a reflection of our society as a whole. Maybe we all need a wake-up call.

  12. possiblecabbage says: Apr 22, 2011 10:37 PM

    This is why I sincerely hope that Mr. Foxworth was either lying or simply hadn’t thought it through when he said “we don’t plan on ever being a union again.”

    The important thing for the fans to realize is that both the players and the owners are against the fans. The owners tactics jeopardize the season, not all seasons, but just this one. The players tactics, on the other hand, jeopardize the offseason. Without the NFL offseason being as compelling as it is, football would no longer be a 12-month sport. I will hate the NFLPA forever if they take the draft away.

    Here’s hoping we can just get a deal done and take the grenades away from the lawyers.

  13. Kave Krew says: Apr 22, 2011 10:37 PM

    A proper epitaph will be needed for the NFLPA’s headstone:

    “Won the battle – lost the war”

    or

    “We were big idiots”

  14. johnnyshore says: Apr 22, 2011 10:41 PM

    For the most part, I have felt like that no matter what happens with the lockout, I will still be as big a fan of the NFL as ever, but if they get rid of the draft and the salary cap I think the game will be so different that it will be unwatchable.

  15. tony420 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:43 PM

    It gets more clear every day – the players don’t have a clue where their lawyers are taking them.

  16. johnnyshore says: Apr 22, 2011 10:43 PM

    Also, Jeffrey Kessler must be a soccer fan.

  17. agnt28 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:46 PM

    Similarly, this touches on another question that I’ve been unable to answer (or have answered). The players filed a request for an injunction to “lift the lockout”. Normally injunction relief is available to affirmatively stop a party from doing something to harm the other party. Here, the players are asking the court to enter an order to “lift the lockout”. What does that mean really?

    Seemingly, the players are asking the court to enter an order to stop locking out the players AND to impose some sort of league rules for the 2011 season (and beyond?). Setting aside whether the court has the authority to do so, if this happens what are the owners to do at that point? Their prior league rules are in effect only while the CBA was in effect, and the non-statutory labor exemption to the antitrust laws clearly applied, and protected the league rules from sherman act scrutiny. Under this scenario, the Court would be ordering the owners to impose league rules while an antitrust suit is pending. As a result, those very same rules would immedaitely be subject to antitrust scrutiny.

    On their face, the league rules (like the draft) clearly violate the sherman act. Are the owners expected to issue rules that would have the effect of exposing the owners? Aside from the court’s authority, not sure this puts the owners in a fair position. Would they be forced to issue temporary rules that are crafted to NOT violate the sherman act? If so, bye bye draft…at least for a while. This illustrates the strange chaos that might be created if the Court orders the lockout lifted….unless someone can answer this question.

    Most seem to thing that the Court would order, or the owners would voluntarily choose to implement the 2010 rules. Do those rules not violate the Sherman Act? Answer—yes they do. So is it possible for the Court to affirmatively order the owners to implement rules that necessairly expose the owners under the sherman act? Unless there is some stipulation, (which would further complicate this mess) that would seem awfully unfair, and I’m not sure the court could, or would realistically choose to impose injunctive relief that would affect the potential liability under the underlying lawsuit.

  18. 3octaveFart says: Apr 22, 2011 10:52 PM

    Had the owner’s not started this whole thing by “opting out” of the same CBA they previously agreed to, and wasn’t set to expire until 2012, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
    But the talking heads will still indulge us with their fantasies about how this is all the players’ fault.

  19. VonClausewitz says: Apr 22, 2011 10:53 PM

    Please. For the vast majority of rookie players, the draft is bad. They’re locked into contracts that undervalues their worth while the pool of funds that could be used more equitably is often wasted on busts.

    Players are better off with a completely free market.

    In a completely free market you will tend to be paid your market value.

    If you’re worth it, you’re paid well. If you’re not, you’re not. The only people that don’t think this is fair are a) slappies b) owners who can underpay by colluding to create a false market.

    It’s as simple as that.

  20. peanutbutter&jelly says: Apr 22, 2011 10:54 PM

    this whole thing is completly messed up. and the players & the nfl are going to lose. i know i’ve been a fan of the nfl since i was 7 and i’m 45 now and i’m getting down right sick of this bullcrap i know already i will not be attending any game this year and even my time on this site has dropped quite a bit. i think those are signs of getting fed up with a game i have loved for 38 years and i’m also quite sure i’m not the only one who feels that way and the players and the nfl should be praying that a whole lot of long time fans don’t start feeling that way or the game cold be in serious trouble

  21. sphyre17 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:56 PM

    Where are all the people saying “they’re just like any other employees, if they don’t like it then they can get another job!” Fact of the matter is, NFL players face severe restrictions on trade of their labour through the draft, free agency restriction and salary cap rules. This is why they’re entitled to a proportion of the NFL’s revenue. And the NFL wants to reduce that proportion while keeping the restrictions on trade? While providing NO evidence of the financial conditions that necessitate a reduction in the players’ share of revenue? Has the NFL ever heard of having your cake and eating it too? Give me a break.

  22. dabigbangclock says: Apr 22, 2011 10:58 PM

    The best laid plans of Jeffrey Kessler…

    This has gotten unbelievably ridiculous and it’s looking like no matter what the outcome, we the fans will lose… I got to say I kind of hope this happens, all these self entitled NFL players who think it is their right to make a minimum of $500k a year its wake up time

    And Jay Feeley are you serious??? You are a kicker (and not even a good one you moron), you will be making less than me when the minimum salary is lifted… I don’t think you are gonna be too happy when you have to go to a 2nd job after football practice to pay the bills… Welcome to the real world you fool

  23. possiblecabbage says: Apr 22, 2011 10:58 PM

    “harmcityhomer says: Apr 22, 2011 10:25 PM

    Personally I always hated the idea of the draft. My team is almost always picking beyond the top 10 and never in the top 3 and I would like to see them land a Suh or Peppers type of player for a change instead of having to get lucky and have a propspect play better than expected.”

    This is a ridiculously short-sighted comment. The defending superbowl champions landed an elite QB at #24, one of the league’s best pass-rushers at #26, and one of the league’s best receivers at #52. Tom Brady was drafted 199th. Just because you never have a top pick, doesn’t mean you can’t land elite players.

    In fact, one of the reasons your team may be always picking towards the bottom of the first round is that the draft is no longer effective at creating parity since the financial obligations created by very high picks more than outweigh the talent differential, which is the harm that the rookie wage scale was intended to address.

    The principle of the draft, “we want the worst teams to be able to get good players so that they will stop being the worst ones” is a laudable one, and one that the NFL should embrace in perpetuity.

  24. hobartbaker says: Apr 22, 2011 11:01 PM

    Kessler, when he’s not causing earthquakes in the Far East or tearing holes in the Ozone Layer, he’s busy screwing up the game of football.

  25. jbniner says: Apr 22, 2011 11:04 PM

    When I think back to the period when negotiations were going on, we heard alot about how condescending the owners were toward the players. Now I understand why we were left with that impression. There was nothing the owners could do that the players would not take as an insult. The players cannot even even ask their representation pointed questions about what they are trying to accomplish. How could they be expected to possess the skill set required to read a balance sheet, or understand what information was appropriate to make a decision?

    The lawyers now control the process, and we all suffer for it. Had the owners not agreed to a poor deal in 2006 in an effort to protect on man’s legacy, the good of the game in 2011 would not be served up for sacrifice as it is currently.

  26. possiblecabbage says: Apr 22, 2011 11:11 PM

    A thought.

    If Kessler does succeed in doing away with any and all player acquisition rules. One of the potential harms is that the bottom of the roster will become completely disposable and those people will be paid very little and have very short careers on average. If this is the case, where you get guys cut because they are unwilling to play special teams for $25,000 a year, wouldn’t the potential solution for the players be to unionize and collectively bargain for things like “minimum salaries” with ownership? Which would leave us right back where we were?

    Of course, even if we do come back to the system we have currently, the result will probably be a decade or more of bad football… and I’m probably not going to want to stick around that long.

  27. mhs8031 says: Apr 22, 2011 11:13 PM

    Morticians, Lawyers, and prostitutes. Necessary evils in every society.

  28. goawayeverybody says: Apr 22, 2011 11:17 PM

    Did anyone else notice that a lot of the QB busts over the years have had terrible names?

    Ryan Leaf: Bust
    Jamarcus Russell: Bust
    Ty Detmer: So so name, quasi bust
    Danny Wuerffel: Bust
    Eric Crouch: Bust
    Gary Beban: Bust
    Brady Quinn: Bust
    David Klingler: Bust
    Rick Mirer: Bust
    Matt Leinart: Bust
    Tim Couch: Bust
    Akili Smith: Bust
    Art Schlichter: Bust

    Sure there have been QB’s with cool names who are also busts, but it seems like if a QB has even a marginally odd name, he goes bust. I mean look at your Tom Brady, your Peyton Manning, your Joe Montana, your John Elway, your Joe Namath, your Roy Williams: all guys with awesome names who won the big game.

  29. clownburger says: Apr 22, 2011 11:19 PM

    I’ve been a die hard NFL fan for over 0ver 30 years.

    If they do away with the Draft and the Salary Cap, I’m done.

  30. goawayeverybody says: Apr 22, 2011 11:20 PM

    Oh and by the way, according to my rule stated above, Cam Newton will be a great QB, and Blaine Gabbert, with his horribly unfortunate name, will not. Jake Locker will be good and Christian Ponder will not be. Not sure about Ryan Mallett.

  31. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Apr 22, 2011 11:25 PM

    This is a wise strategy by the NFL. As a practical matter, fans are more likely to identify with the prospect of losing the NFL draft, among other things, than the jurisdictional questions raised by Section 4 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act, or whether the union’s “disclaimer of interest” is a sham.

  32. jbniner says: Apr 22, 2011 11:36 PM

    I keep reading a common assumption from some who seem to support the players. They suggest that those who support the owners are “free market” people who really should support the players because the current NFL model is “socialism”.

    Quick economics lesson for y’all…The free market works because one provides a product that people want…that’s the key. If you provide a crappy product no one wants it, and you make no money. By going nuclear, the players are cutting of their nose to spite their face since the NFL under Kessler’s vision will not have nearly the earning power of the NFL as currently constitued. Ticket prices…down. Apparel sales…down. Billion dollar TV contracts…forget it.

    I believe this since we the fans love the draft, free agency, salary cap, and all the other things that ensure competitive balance across the league and leave us with a reason to be interested in January, March, and October. Without them, our desire to watch, and in turn our desire to spend decreases dramatically.

  33. hobartbaker says: Apr 22, 2011 11:37 PM

    @goawayeverybody……Well, the one thing that can be said about your “rule” is that it makes more sense than anything put forth by the PFT in house draft experts.

  34. thefiesty1 says: Apr 22, 2011 11:40 PM

    The players may be waking up but they wouldn’t recognize a shiester if he bit them in the butt. He is not representing their best interest. Just his pocketbook.

  35. drmonkeyarmy says: Apr 22, 2011 11:42 PM

    Don’t need to “talk to pro football players” all the time profootballwalk. Read the comments and listen to interviews with the players…you get a pretty good idea what their views and understanding of the issues are.

  36. enders9 says: Apr 22, 2011 11:47 PM

    VonClausewitz says: Apr 22, 2011 10:53 PM

    Please. For the vast majority of rookie players, the draft is bad. They’re locked into contracts that undervalues their worth while the pool of funds that could be used more equitably is often wasted on busts.

    Players are better off with a completely free market.

    In a completely free market you will tend to be paid your market value.

    If you’re worth it, you’re paid well. If you’re not, you’re not. The only people that don’t think this is fair are a) slappies b) owners who can underpay by colluding to create a false market.

    It’s as simple as that.

    ————————————————-

    The VAST majority? So of the 200+ rookies who are actually drafted, a vast majority of them turn out to be studs who are underpaid? There are a handful of studs that come out of every draft, and eventually they will get their huge pay day. Then there are several who turn out to be good/really good, and they make about what they deserve and will also get their big pay day eventually. And then the vast majority of the rookies in a draft class turn out to be servicable, and not a single one of them are being under paid and will eventually probably get over paid.

    “If you’re worth it, you’re paid well”
    This same thing can be said about the draft. “If you’re worth it, you’ll be drafted high and be paid well”

    What is the market value for a rookie who hasn’t proven a single thing in the NFL? 50 million guaranteed? lol if you really believe a rookie should get that big of a contract.

  37. drbandkgb says: Apr 22, 2011 11:50 PM

    Its amazing to me the greed.. No one makes these player join the NFL.. And to try and tear the whole system apart is funny to me.. They seemed to enjoy being drafted into the NFL when it was their turn.. Didn’t see one of these player calling foul then… We all know the owners make more money than the players.. Thats there job… To make money… And its the players job to play for the team.. Its that simple… Now Im all for a player trying to get the most he can for his short working career… Id make a bet 95% of these players have no real idea of the true issues.. and the other 5% only know of the issues because there on the last years in the league. Its all about the educated vs the not educated.. If most of these player would learn how to handle their money and not blow it they could live a good life style.. But you have to have 10 cars and huge house and 3 years after your blew out your knee its all gone.. I only feel for they guys from early on till 1993.. Those cats are the ones that never made the money and depend on the money the NFL gives them now to live on…

  38. touchdownroddywhite says: Apr 23, 2011 12:03 AM

    Eliminating the draft doesn’t hurt current players one tiny bit. Eliminating free agency and the salary floor is what hurts 90% of the players.

    They get what they deserve. They all voted to decertify.

  39. nflfan101 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:05 AM

    I have been curious as to just what D. Smith has told the players. But they chose him and if some of the players are now discovering that he does not have their best interest in mind, then they need to get their own lawyers involved.

    They do not need to quietly tell D. Smith and then let him do what he wants. They need to make a loud legal noise.

    Aside from players not knowing what is going on, above agnt28 made some good points.

    If the court orders an end to the lockout because it violates the anti-trust laws, then how can the court also order that certain rules on player employment (such as the 2011 rules) be applied since those rules would also violate the very law that the court would be enforcing.

    Logically, if the court orders that the lockout is a violation of the anti-trust laws, the court must also order that there will be no rules on player employment until the anti-trust case is resolved.

  40. touchdownroddywhite says: Apr 23, 2011 12:06 AM

    Ps. Get Antonio Cromartie on the show. I bet he knows more about what’s going on than 50% of the players. Let him spit some truth for the rest of them.

  41. freedomispopular says: Apr 23, 2011 12:09 AM

    This is a lot like politics. The Republicans and Democrats, like the owners and players, bicker and turn everything into a personal fight, while not caring less about their constituents, and the voters, just like the players, have absolutely no clue as to what’s really going on.

  42. ffootballontwitter says: Apr 23, 2011 12:10 AM

    Lawyers go for maximum leverage as a general rule. They want the win. They’re not in it for the long haul. So here’s what the scorecard looks like.

    Kessler will get his fees. His brilliant plan for establishing a precedent in pro sports will immortalize his name if it works. I do not believe he has any significant attachment to the NFL going forward.

    De Smith rode into power based on the litigation game plan. The other players wanted a rough-and-tough guy who was going to fight for them. Other candidates seemed “softer” and they didn’t get players’ support.

    Politicians have heard some of Kessler’s arguments and have talked openly about continuing them on Capitol Hill even if the NFL owners win. The antitrust exemption for broadcast is the big zinger. It is truly the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    It reminds me of an old joke. Heaven is French cooking, German precision and the English rule of law.

    Hell is a Kessler win.

  43. birdman38 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:12 AM

    No free agency + No draft = No interest!

    Wake up, union…Wake Up!

  44. The Noob "Comic" says: Apr 23, 2011 12:13 AM

    Mike,

    I think you are missing a part of the point here. As you’ve pointed out on several occaisions, the last CBA sprang from previous antitrust litigation. No one expects this suit to be decided at the Supreme Court, which is where it would likely end up if it were to achieve a final resolution. Instead, this is just Act 2 of the CBA negotiations. As the owners tried to create leverage through the lock-out, the players (and Kessler) are trying to even the playing field through this suit.

    Kessler is NOT alleging that a draft as part of a negotiated CBA is illegal. Only that a set of employers allocating employees among them so each employee can only negotiate with one employer for his services violates antitrust law (which, absent an exemption to the antitrust laws, it clearly is). That is, in my view, one of the central antitrust violations in any sports league, the allocation of employees. This is why a negotiated contract with a union or an antitrust exemptions is, to my knowledge, part of every sport where each team is a separate legal entity.

    So we have the owners with their plan of attack, the lock-out. We have players with their counter, the lawsuit. If the owners begin to prevail on the lawsuit, the scoreboard reads 2-0 owners, and the players essentially have to take whatever deal is offered. As you’ve pointed out, this is no basis for long-term labor peace.

    So long as the players are winning the lawsuit (which will require at least an order enjoining the lockout and no emergency stay) the scoreboard reads 1-1 and there is a chance for lasting labor peace through a negotiated CBA. THAT, I believe, is the end-game Kessler and the players are shooting for. Not a wild-west every man for himself outcome. I don’t think that scenario is realistic or preferred by anyone, including Kessler. Every part of the lawsuit is a part of the negotiation of the CBA.

    And once the players decide to go to Mark Cuban and a TV network (TBS? TNT?) and slap together an 8 team, 12 game New Football League for the fall, then the scoreboard reads 0-2 and lord knows what will happen. But man, will THAT draft be a lot of fun.

  45. bigsuede says: Apr 23, 2011 12:14 AM

    Wow- so many close minded fans around here. Do any of you watch college football??? The new NFL would be like that. It wouldnt be unwatchable= and actually could be pretty fun.

    too many chicken littles up in herrre

  46. finsbooyah says: Apr 23, 2011 12:38 AM

    My Pro Football fandom borders on obsession.

    But, if this Kessler guy succeeds and the draft and salary cap are eliminated, I will no longer watch the NFL. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

    I’ll just watch more college football and it’ll free me up to become and even more devoted Devils fan.

  47. tommyf15 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:42 AM

    So what if Steven Jackson doesn’t know that a favorable ruling for the players would eliminate the draft?

    If the NFLPA’s decertification holds up, by law there can’t be a draft.

    Why *wouldn’t* the players want to enter the league as free agents, able to negotiate with all of the teams instead of just one?

    The idea that a draft creates competitive balance is a myth. Example: with a draft Carolina can improve themselves by acquiring Can Newton. WITHOUT a draft they can acquire Cam Newton AND Marcell Dareus and whoever else they want.

  48. bpfpft says: Apr 23, 2011 12:44 AM

    Didn’t the players agree to the draft, franchise tag, free agency rules/restrictions? The NFL owners didn’t force them to accept those rules or didn’t come up with those rules on their own. Also, after the 1987 strike and through the 1993 season, where no CBA was in place, wasn’t there a draft every season? Yes and it will be so going forward.

    If the NFL Draft is declared illegal wouldn’t that affect all four major sports? All four major sports leagues have a draft including MLS.

    Lastly, Kessler is a loose cannon and the sooner he’s controlled by DeSmith or better yet fired the quicker a deal comes together. Kessler also represens the NBA Player’s Association so a lockout in the NBA is as likely as this lockout –main reason being Kessler and his agenda.

  49. bronco1st says: Apr 23, 2011 12:45 AM

    I like the idea of breaking the monopoly, that would virtually assure no more future lockouts or strikes. Let the player pay find it’s free market value, let the teams compete in open competition without the restrictions of a protected monopoly. The cream will rise and the weak will fail. Expansion will be based on actual market demand and not through a comfy monopoly. That outcome would be a healthy NFL with a future that best insures longevity.

  50. johnnyshore says: Apr 23, 2011 12:46 AM

    There is a reason that baseball has lost viewers every year since 1987, and salary cap has a lot to do with it. The NFL is the greatest sports league in the entire world, and we have one single f***** lawyer trying to tamper with the makeup of the game that makes it so great. If this guy does not realize how important the draft and salary cap are, I don’t know why he is the guy that the players chose. That simple fact is why more people have to side with the owners, (unfortunately). If the draft is abolished, I will have to start watching college football again. God save us all.

  51. mikenjess143 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:47 AM

    section731 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:11 PM

    The owners need to sweeten the deal to make sure that this doesn’t happen. They will need to offer a deal good enough for the players to drop the lawsuit. Other than that they risk losing and really having to pay for it. Split it 50-50 with the players without taking your billion off the top.

    Not True. Player Union Stated from the beginning all they want is the same deal , And In reality they know they will give a little back. silly to think 30 of 32 NFL Owner’s agreed to this same deal 3 years ago. when the NFL continues to grow every year, Why is everyone making more money than the year before a problem at all.

    CONTINUE FORWARD WITH ONE OF THE BIGGEST ENTITY’S EVER SEEN.

  52. bpfpft says: Apr 23, 2011 12:51 AM

    Interesting.

    In McNeil et al. v. NFL, et al. — Kessler won a jury verdict for NFL players, striking down free agency restrictions under the antitrust laws. This victory led to the Reggie White class action, in which the current free agency/salary cap system in the NFL was achieved.

  53. hebephrenic says: Apr 23, 2011 1:21 AM

    sphyre17 says: Apr 22, 2011 10:56 PM

    Where are all the people saying “they’re just like any other employees, if they don’t like it then they can get another job!” Fact of the matter is, NFL players face severe restrictions on trade of their labour through the draft, free agency restriction and salary cap rules.

    Of course they aren’t like normal employees. Case in point, on Monday morning call in to your employer and tell them you are holding out for more money, and will be back when they offer you enough to make you happy or trade you to a rival company that will.

  54. vahawker says: Apr 23, 2011 1:24 AM

    Van Clausawhatever….You really think a player who has never stepped foot an NFL field is worth 40+ million dollars!?. EVERY rookie is “worth” an entry level salary just like everyone else just entering the work force. SO give them an incentive filled contract for the league minimum to start…….oh that’s right…there won’t be a league minimum so the average or special teams player will take a HUGE pay cut during the next contract negotiations.
    What is minimum wage right now?

  55. lacharger2112 says: Apr 23, 2011 1:29 AM

    The only thing I know is, after this is all done and they are playing football again. The fans will be paying more $$ for everything.

    Becoming less a fan every day.

  56. pack0314 says: Apr 23, 2011 1:34 AM

    Dissolving the draft really frightens me. Doing so would almost certainly mean the end of the Green Bay Packers. Many may not mind that, but really, it wouldn’t be the NFL without them and what they’ve meant to the league.

  57. BaseballTown says: Apr 23, 2011 1:42 AM

    This feels to me like if the players “win” the big time stars will get paid but a big % of the league will be making a significantly less.

    I could see players on active rosters making darn near what practice squad players made last year.

  58. duffer58 says: Apr 23, 2011 1:47 AM

    Folks there has to be a draft. the game would be ruined without it. The players want to play.they are being asked to give back with no evidence from owners they should do so.
    But with the owners position has absurd has it is can you blame players for bringing it up the draft?

  59. superbengalfan says: Apr 23, 2011 1:52 AM

    The owners are playing a zero sum game, so the players would be foolish not to do the same in return. I wouldn’t want to see the draft go away but if I’m in the players shoes I do everything in my power to bring leverage to bear against the owners. The owners have more to lose than just a single year’s revenue stream, but the book value of their franchises and they will fear that value diminishing greatly.

  60. realitypolice says: Apr 23, 2011 2:09 AM

    Yes, if the players win the suit, the draft, free agency rules, and the salary cap would be ruled illegal.

    So it’s a good thing that they have no intention of winning the suit. This suit, like 99% of all civil law suits filed, was designed to be settled.

    In order to swing the biggest stick, the language in the lawsuit has to be as severe as possible.

    It’s a maneuvering game, plain and simple. The players and their lawyers know that the settlement that comes out of this suit will include a draft, free agency and a salary cap.

    And the ex-lawyer who runs this site knows this fully well. So I can only conclude that the whole purpose of this article is to inflame the posters.

    Mission accomplished.

  61. discostu570 says: Apr 23, 2011 2:38 AM

    This is one of a couple times it’s seemed like you’ve written something in favor of the owners that almost purposely ignores the merit of the players’ position. The argument against a draft is simple. If the owners can’t keep peace with a union workforce, they can’t have rights over players beyond what we tolerate in any other workplace. If the owners won’t accept the costs, they can’t receive certain considerations that only a union workforce can give. It isn’t what the players want, but if the owners insist on breaking the union, the players can’t be expected to let themselves be subjected to a draft.

  62. endzonezombie says: Apr 23, 2011 2:47 AM

    It easy to understand why the author of this article gave up being an attorney. The NFLPA attorneys are merely presenting the logical results of successful antitrust litigation. They are merely warning the owners of the potential results of an antitrust ruling against the owners. This would not even be discussed if the owners were motivated to negotiate a new CBA. Instead, Goodell is again spreading propaganda against the players instead of mending fences. I do not see how the players will ever agree to a new CBA without Goodell being replaced as a condition.

  63. endzonezombie says: Apr 23, 2011 2:56 AM

    I’m willing to bet that most of the posters on this site who claim they will never buy another ticket to an NFL game – have never even attended a game. Sites like this empower posters to pretend they are paying fans of the NFL, whereas they probably only watch whatever games network TV offers.

  64. paredskinwarrior says: Apr 23, 2011 3:35 AM

    if this happens YOU KNOW HOW AWESOME IT WILL BE TO BE A REDSKINS AND COWBOYS FAN!!!! People WOULD BE SO HAPPY AND PRAISE DAN SNYDER AND JERRY JONEs AS THEIR OWNER AND SO HAPPY THAT WE DON’t HAVE A CHEAP-skate bum OF A OWNER LIKE THE EAGLES HAVE!! HTTR!! Personally I think the that the draft will be the only thing found illegal and no top sal cap just a min sal cap! IN 2012 THE REDSKINS SIGN QB FROM STANFORD ANDREW LUCK TO A $150million contract! BOOKIT!

    HELL I HOPE IF IT DOES HAPPEN THAT THE NFL ONLY DOESN’t HAVE A DRAFT IN 2012 so ANDREW LUCK WILL BE THE BIGGEST STAR EVER IN THE DMV AREA!! HTTR! HAIL TO THE CAPS!!! Rock that red!

  65. VonClausewitz says: Apr 23, 2011 3:47 AM

    @possiblecabbage

    Yes, sort of. A free market will lead to Commoditization for those players that are replaceable. But it will also even out the distribution away from an artificially induced one (ie. Jamarcus World) to something more equitable for players that have scarce skills. If you’re a quality running back with an 8 year career, 5 years of which are badly paid because of a poor draft slot, this is good news. And the side effect of such a market would be that smart players or players that are willing to “add value” to their skill set will last longer. Which means a better game, with less tolerance for dumbass coaches and owners, because the glaring weaknesses of their philosophies will be more quickly reflected on the field. Which leads to more player movement, longer careers…And so on.

    Meritocracy!

    And yes, a union would offer some protection against colluding owners. But if the players were really interested in protecting their asses from exploitation they’d just start up their own damn league as a co-op. After all, they’re the ones with the scarce skills, not the owners. Why settle for a larger jail cell when you can be free?

    At some point the non-dumbass segment of the players, who ironically are probably also the best paid, will wise up to the fact that they’ll still be making more money on their own AND they’ll be helping out the stupids and building a better legacy if they just cut the owners out. If the players want the owners to treat them better and actually contribute to the product there’s no better incentive than the threat of removing them completely. The whole union posturing thing is just toothless bs. Nobody respects a whiner when a stick will do instead.

  66. hedleykow says: Apr 23, 2011 4:18 AM

    So unions are good now? How will FOX News square this up with the tea baggers?

    John Sherman was a closet Progressive who conspired with the devil in 1890 to screw over corporate NFL 121 years later?

    Tune in to Glenn Beck next week for the full diagram in colored chalk!

    *L*

  67. davesbeard says: Apr 23, 2011 5:39 AM

    To put this simply, if the players continue to pursue the outcome they are currently pushing for they will lose support of 99% of NFL fans. Those sort of changes would likely significantly cut the fanbase, offseason revenue and the ability of the NFL to attract new fans and grow. I.e Less money in everyones pockets including the players. The only players who would benefit as you have previously mentioned are the big ticket players who will get superstar contracts.

    It’s become a case of the blind leading the blind. The guys leading are blinded (by money in all likelihood) to the damage they are and could cause to the game, the other 95% of players behind are blind to the where they are being led, which for a majority is significantly less pay.

  68. pftequalsgreatjournalism says: Apr 23, 2011 6:05 AM

    johnnyshore says: Apr 22, 2011 10:43 PM

    Also, Jeffrey Kessler must be a soccer fan.

    —————————

    “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

  69. whatswiththehate says: Apr 23, 2011 6:53 AM

    “Someone please explain the “doomsday” scenario of prohibiting any collusion between the teams.”
    ————————-
    I so agree.

    But, color me cynical because since when did our sport media care so much for the fans. I know many say that they are fans themselves but isn’t the top echelon owned by Corporate America? And who do corporate America back? The unions and the workers,( players), who they are competing with for some of the billions of their boses money in the form of tv revenues or those owners with deep pockets?

    I do think the NFL is quite savvy in using the media to but they would have been able to anyway cause they pratically own the media.

    Anyway, in the end when all the dust from the finger pointing and accusation ends, the real victims will still be the fans.

    I have yet to see a strike happen and the ordinary people don’t get suckered into emptying out the pockets under the guise of “we needed too pay for.” Someone has to pay for the big bosses having to pay the little bosses more and the sports media’s demand for more money and it’s usually us.

    Also, since those in the corporate run media are always claiming that they in our corner, will they go to bat for us and make sure our needs are met outside of their own self interests?

    In the end, even thou I don’t always agree with everything these players and their union do, I will always back them because at the end of the day, it is they who get out there on the field and entertain me for a couple of hours every Sunday. It’s not Goodell nor the bosses.

  70. mistrezzrachael says: Apr 23, 2011 7:16 AM

    The players TRUST Duh Smith ???????

    All along. this has been a case of where players were filled w/visions of grandeur…by the moron leading their efforts.

    Becomes sickening when you listen to CLOWNS out here…like ..Deb….chirp about how the players made all these attemps to negociate w/the owners.

    Has become highly obvious that the players…or the chosen few speaking on their behalf…are ridiculously DUMB to have decertified instead of accepting to negociate owners offer, which was outstanding.

    Sure get rid of draft, and the structure as we know it now…and we will see Cowboys, Wash. NE, Giants, ..all rule the game…others will become also rans.

    So go ahead morons [ Deb ]…imagine a league where the Steelers resemble..the Pirates of baseball..futile. That would happen …FAST…None of us want that, though would be great to see jets spend another 43 years winning nothing.

  71. thomasreilly says: Apr 23, 2011 7:36 AM

    “I think when you get back and look at this, I think what’s being pursued by the union attorneys is a completely different vision for the NFL than what I have,” Goodell

    “We are challenging his lockout of players and fans. How could he miss that?” Steven Jackson

    The owners have locked out the players and now seemingly wish to negotiate only the issues they wish to bring into the discussion.

    In any other line of work Cam Newton would choose what city he lives in. Cam Newton could choose the organization which best fits his style of play, or represents values he finds to be important.

  72. bunjy96 says: Apr 23, 2011 7:45 AM

    Let’s see if I have this right.

    No draft.
    No Cap
    No restrictions on player movement.
    Every player negotiates his own contract with any team. No standard contract.
    No more parity. Rich owners have the best teams.
    32 individuals teams rules. Assuming all the small market teams don’t fold.

    Are players then going to form their own individual team union? So we will then have to have 32 different unions. Can’t be one overall. So any team could strike anytime they wanted.

  73. jimr10 says: Apr 23, 2011 8:03 AM

    Attacking the draft, free agency and salary cap has always been the plan. Unfortunately, the players may be too dumb to realize it.

  74. weneedlinemen42 says: Apr 23, 2011 8:10 AM

    “willycents says:

    Someone please explain the “doomsday” scenario of prohibiting any collusion between the teams.”

    If you want to know the long term outcome of removing all the labour rules, look to Europe and soccer.

    I’ve followed the NFL for 25-years, but I am English and grew-up with association football (soccer). It will always be my first love but frankly the money free for all and absolute player freedom has made the Premier League horribly predicatable.

    Money counts. The richest clubs finish at the top every year. Every so often a rich owner will come in and totally transform a club, but beyond that the same teams sit at the top of the league table year after year.

    The situation is even worse in the Spanish league. In England the Premier League teams share the television money. In Spain the top two teams not only receive huge amounts of government support but also get to negotiate their own television rights. So they are vastly richer than any of their rivals. As result they tend to be vastly better.

    Sometimes, parity is treated as dirty word in the NFL. Just wait until you’ve had a decade or two with out it. Even before free agency the level of competition was much higher in the NFL. Take away the draft and allow the players unfettered movement and big market teams will stomp all over tranditional powerhouses like Green Bay and Pitsburgh.

    The worst thing about situation in soccer is that although the top clubs are all generating vast amounts of money, most are making an operating loss. The sport has gone insane. Player wages have gone through the roof. To get to the top you need the best players, so you have to pay the highest wages. If you don’t reach the top, your club becomes financially unviable, so you have to start buying better players at even higher wages. So player wages go up, and up and the teams get further and further into debt.

    The situation has become so rediculous that organising body in Europe has had to step in and say teams operating at a huge loss will not be invited to take part in their cup competitions. That’s how bad it has got, we actually have to add rules to discourage people from running their clubs in bankruptcy.

  75. ukfalc says: Apr 23, 2011 8:13 AM

    It amazes me that the media has taken so long to pick up on the fact that the players’ lawsuit is attacking the very foundations of the game that make it so competitve and successful.

    As fans we just have to hope that the lawsuit is no more that an attempt to gain leverage in the negotiations, rather than a genuine attempt to do away with the cap, free agency rules and draft.

    Agnt28 hit the nail on the head in his post above. The players are seeking an injucntion forcing he NFL to play, whislt seeking to attack the very rules that the NFL would then play under.

  76. Patriot42 says: Apr 23, 2011 8:20 AM

    If the players have their way the greed would destroy the NFL with players going to those teams that give the biggest contracts. Why not play without contracts and play with whatever team pays you the most ever Sunday? It would be fine with me if there weren’t football for another year or two. Lets see if these college dropouts will survive in the real work where people aren’t pampered and their lavish lives come to a crashing halt.

  77. chatham10 says: Apr 23, 2011 8:31 AM

    The best comment Mike made is that the press missed this, what is shocking about that? the insiders missed it also, so what is new about them not guessing right? I worked for a major company and things were going well and then the union went on strike and over the next few years that company moved all the union work to other cities and in the best year they moved the headquarters to another city and this city lost everything, the NFL seems to be heading in the same direction, lose everything that made it great and everybody was making very good money.This will never end right when the results are determined within a courtroom, remember the judges are lawyers and who screws up a good thing, more then lawyers.

  78. philwauke says: Apr 23, 2011 8:35 AM

    “You know what, I don’t know,” Smith said. “And Mike, man, you’re a lawyer, I’m a lawyer. You and I have probably had a lot of confidence in the way in which court cases were going to work out, either ones that you and I were trying or ones that we were watching. You know you can’t predict anything. I don’t know. What we hope to achieve is the game of football for our fans, the game of football for our players. And that’s what I’ve got my eye focused on right now.”
    —————————————————

    This is the problem, putting lawyers in charge.

  79. philwauke says: Apr 23, 2011 8:35 AM

    My season tickets are officially for sale.

  80. crubenst says: Apr 23, 2011 8:36 AM

    What the players also probably don’t understand is that in a league without rules or a draft, next year about 2 or 3 times the normal amount of new players will join the nfl. Underclassmen, maybe high school grads. Sophmores and Juniors can get offers from teams and mull them over before deciding. It won’t be like losing your eligibility by declaring for the draft and having a ton of uncertainty. Which means a lot of players currently suing the NFL to make this happen will in fact, be out of a job if they get what they want.

  81. sammyias says: Apr 23, 2011 8:37 AM

    I like it, then the league could play year round.

    If the players want a free market, the league/teams can schedule them to work 49 weeks, with 3 weeks worth of vacation time. 44 weeks of games, 5 weeks of playoffs. All future contracts would be for a 49 week work schedule. If you’re not in the playoffs, you would then be scheduled to be at your teams facility for training. 18 game season? ha! Join the real working class that work year round under our bosses nose.

    Just kidding, but this whole thing is frustrating.

  82. eagleaniac says: Apr 23, 2011 8:45 AM

    Is there anything that lawyers don’t make more difficult. All they care about is their fees!

  83. kingjoe1 says: Apr 23, 2011 9:04 AM

    If there were no draft and no restrictions past the contract for player movement, the league would quickly reduce by 4-6 teams. There is no way, cities like Jacksonville, Buffalo, Cleveland, St Louis, and even Green Bay, and Cincy, could compete financially.
    So if this is what the players want they ought to realize 200 plus guys will lose their jobs. The number of available jobs in the NFL could realistically drop by 300 if 6 teams find they cant compete.

  84. dd393 says: Apr 23, 2011 9:21 AM

    Talk about wanting to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.

  85. Brian says: Apr 23, 2011 9:32 AM

    As I said in a previously deleted post, despite some poster comments, the NFL with its draft, salary cap, league rules, revenue sharing et al… is not a simple free market or political argument.

    The snide remarks about politics are beside the point. This is about NFL football and sports leagues have a special consideration that many people from all sides of the political spectrum take into consideration, and that is that thing called “competitive balance.”

    It is a sport league after all, with the purpose of playing a sport that other people will pay money to watch. Therefore it’s in the best interest of the product itself to have balance, rules, and even a draft. The NFL draft is the only draft of its kind that is followed so closely by so many fans. It’s part of the product.

    What Kessling is after, will diminish the product, diminish the popularity, and in the end, diminish the money.

    All the political arguments notwithstanding, taking away the “league” part of the NFL will kill the golden goose. It may be a bronze goose, or a cubic zirconium goose, but it will no longer be golden.

  86. t1mmy10 says: Apr 23, 2011 9:35 AM

    i’m glad ppl are finally getting the big picture of why it’s so crazy what demaurice is doing. cuz let’s be honest, who was the person who signed off of what EVERYTHING kessler wrote up in the lawsuit? demaurice. and i’m sure deMoron understood every word of it (or may have even wrote it himself) since he’s a lawyer. i honestly don’t think deMoron wants all these things to come true, but his strategy is if I don’t get my way i’m going to try to make sure no one gets their way.

    ppl may make fun of goodell for unilaterally making rules and trying to expand the season to 18 games and sending games over seas but at least he’s not threatening to ruin the sport if he doesn’t get his way. goodell was willing to give up him having the only say in player punishments and appeals during the negotiation process, & tabled the 18 game season for years and were willing to put it to a player vote before being approved. what’s deMoron’s take on compromise? he offers to take away league min salaries for vets, any sort of organized free agency, the draft, and any limits on team spending (above & below). gotta love the parity there.

  87. goawayeverybody says: Apr 23, 2011 9:59 AM

    All of this bickering over Kessler’s goals and arguments is theatre.

    1. There will always be an NFL draft. Always.
    2. Soon there will be a compromise that restores much of the previous CBA agreement.

  88. commandercornpone says: Apr 23, 2011 10:28 AM

    sounds like kessler isnt getting his way so he wants to (at least threaten to) blow the whole thing up. which would be a lot worse for most players (and to a much lesser extent, most teams) than any agreements that preceded the one that just got scuttled.

    “be careful what you ask for.”

    it’s a threat to the league (as if they care that much). “ok, we will be like baseball.”

    it’s a deadly threat to the union, or, if u prefer, the union*. it might make the sham decert real, however.

    it’s a threat to the judge, to tug at those heartstrings of perceived solidarity of dimrat judges to union solidarity. the judge just might decide, ok, if that’s what u want…

    it’s a deadly threat for all but the top star players. the non-top tier guys wont make much $ if kessler gets what he asked for.

  89. tresmang says: Apr 23, 2011 10:37 AM

    Lawyers are the demise of this country!

    They should all be burned like the Witches of Salem……they are and WILL continue to ruin this sport that I love so much……3825 the Lawyers!

  90. tresmang says: Apr 23, 2011 10:40 AM

    goawayeverybody….please give me the lottery numbers while your at it…you know, ……since you have a lens to the future and all…

  91. andresthedragon1234 says: Apr 23, 2011 10:42 AM

    @bigsuede i too am a niners fan, but that must have the dumbest idea i have ever seen. you have shamed us all

  92. thomasreilly says: Apr 23, 2011 10:47 AM

    I don’t believe the players truly want to eliminate the draft. This is a game of chicken, and the players are reminding the owners that they CAN challenge these issues. The league does have anti-trust issues to worry about if the players chose to force the issue. The owners locked out the players, and as a result they have opened Pandora’s box….

    If I am the owner of the Buffalo Bills, you better believe I just became more willing to acquiesce to the old CBA if the draft/free agent issues go away. Otherwise my franchise just lost a huge amount of value…..It is good negotiating by the players, who might find themselves holding another Ace in their hand!

  93. mogogo1 says: Apr 23, 2011 11:06 AM

    As if it wasn’t bad enough to have the obscenely rich fighting the merely very rich over how to split billions, now we’ve got the union chiefs employing scorched earth strategies that would completely ruin the sport? And most of the players aren’t even aware what’s going on? I started out pretty pro-player in this thing, but I can’t take too much more of this junk.

  94. nflfan101 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:58 PM

    Good lawyers tell their clients the truth about lawsuits, how you never know how they will end, and how sometimes a negotiated settlement may be better for the client.

    Bad lawyers encourage their clients to file suit and disregard both the cost involved and the potential benefits of negotiating a settlement.

    It appears to me that D. Smith is a bad lawyer and a bad head of the NFLPA/NFLPA*

    Despite what anyone says, D. Smith has never negotiated in good faith as evidenced by his walking out of the CBA talks and not attending court ordered mediation. He never intended to resolve the differences with the owners.

    Smith’s position has always been and continues to be either (1) keep the same deal that they had, or (2) let a court decide, even if it means destroying the NFL as we know it and screwing average players out of good jobs.

  95. jagerbolt says: Apr 23, 2011 1:29 PM

    No Draft? No Free Agency rules?

    Bye bye NFL!

    I refuse to watch or pay money into a game where only the most popular teams get the good players.

  96. nanner12wojo says: Apr 23, 2011 5:24 PM

    If the draft ends I’m done with football. I’ve read every post on PFT for over 2 years but if Kessler wins this war I’ll delete the bookmark I have to this website, end my season tickets in 2 seconds and hope the Vikings leave. I won’t care one crap if the NY Giants, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins become the Yankees and Redsox of the NFL.

    Not joking for one second.

    I’d rather Kessler get run over by a car than him sit there and ruin the best sport in the world.

    How stupid are these players spouting off that the fans are on the side of the players? That couldn’t be farther from the truth

  97. brambo67 says: Apr 23, 2011 7:42 PM

    sammyias says: Apr 23, 2011 8:37 AM

    I like it, then the league could play year round.

    If the players want a free market, the league/teams can schedule them to work 49 weeks, with 3 weeks worth of vacation time. 44 weeks of games, 5 weeks of playoffs. All future contracts would be for a 49 week work schedule. If you’re not in the playoffs, you would then be scheduled to be at your teams facility for training. 18 game season? ha! Join the real working class that work year round under our bosses nose.

    Just kidding, but this whole thing is frustrating.
    _______________________________________

    Whilst you are saying it in jest, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that could stop the NFL from demanding a 20 game regular season if they desired under this system.

    If the TV Networks would pay for it, the NFL teams could demand that players play the games under current contracts.

    I’ve spoken about this logical conclusion before (multiple times in the first week of the law-suit) so it’s funny how the site are only just realising it’s posible outcome.

    If the players win ALL the points of this law-suit, then bang goes many things we as fans like: the draft, current systems of free agency, roster consistency and methods to create parity.

    Players aren’t as well supported legally as the teams. Contracts will be highly biased towards the teams. A player will end up signing a contract that pays him nothing if he is injured unless he can show he took every precaution to avoid injury. Teams could easily create rookie contracts that tie them to teams for long periods of time and are biased in that if a player breaks said contract he is liable to pay back large amounts.

    Somebody on here mentioned European soccer, but like MLB or the NBA it’s not really possible to compare the possible outcomes of the two in regard to a free market system. In Europe, teams are allowed (still legally, though some players have taken it to court) to ask for a fee to transfer a contract from one club to another – THE TRANSFER FEE. As far as I understand, such a system would be illegal in the USA. That means, unless teams ensured contracts were legally binding – which given the abilities of the owners to pay for very good lawyers is possible – a team that loses it’s QB as a season progresses could “poach” a QB from another team by offering them a higher salary.

    The whole proposition is scary.
    I think that DeMaurice Smith hood-winked the players into thinking he’d get them a better deal whilst keeping his main objectives close to his chest. Sorry, but a man that calls a decent offer the worst in history has ZERO respect in my eyes.

    And by the way, Joe Haden HAS DONE NOTHING in the NFL, yet is paid huge amounts. Hardly the type of player I’d listen to on a bad day!

  98. brambo67 says: Apr 23, 2011 7:49 PM

    nflfan101 says: Apr 23, 2011 12:58 PM

    Good lawyers tell their clients the truth about lawsuits, how you never know how they will end, and how sometimes a negotiated settlement may be better for the client.

    Bad lawyers encourage their clients to file suit and disregard both the cost involved and the potential benefits of negotiating a settlement.

    It appears to me that D. Smith is a bad lawyer and a bad head of the NFLPA/NFLPA*

    Despite what anyone says, D. Smith has never negotiated in good faith as evidenced by his walking out of the CBA talks and not attending court ordered mediation. He never intended to resolve the differences with the owners.

    Smith’s position has always been and continues to be either (1) keep the same deal that they had, or (2) let a court decide, even if it means destroying the NFL as we know it and screwing average players out of good jobs.

    _________________________________________

    No one will ever convince me that D.Smith HAS EVER had the best interests of 95% of the players at heart. All he’s wanted to do is screw the owners and gain traction amongst the 5% of players whom he thinks the fans know.

    I wasn’t always convinced about Gene Upshaw (and as a Raiders fan that pains me to admit it), but under his tenure the earnings of those players at the bottom (on the league minimum) rose rapidly.

    No NFL team WILL EVER succeed if you don’t have a roster that works hard for each other and is dedicated to winning.

    I’d love to see Manning get his f##king head ripped off by a DE that is paid 1/100th of his salary and allowed past by a LT paid 1/50th as much, if this law-suit concludes in the way it might. Manning, Brady and Brees need to go the way of the dodo.

  99. axespray says: Apr 24, 2011 1:13 AM

    Kessler = Illuminatii’s most evil member…

    He plans to ruin the hardworking working man’s only enjoyment in life, NFL FOOTBALL!!!!

  100. pigeonpea says: Apr 24, 2011 10:33 AM

    Kill the draft, salary cap, hard hits, long kickoffs and what do we have left? A neutered sport that will be as boring to watch as hockey. Thanks, Roger… You’re doing an AWESOME job!

  101. jimh52 says: Apr 24, 2011 9:15 PM

    Kessler needs to be fired. He is throwing impossible requirements out there. The players need to understand what is happening. The only one making money is the stupid lawyers! WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED?

  102. bcgreg says: Apr 25, 2011 8:50 PM

    I see a correlation between this story and Obama. We’re told one thing. People support it (voted him in). Something different is done. People waking up to the fact that they’re being played.

  103. bcgreg says: Apr 25, 2011 8:51 PM

    @ pigeonpea

    Hockey is boring? Are you watching the playoffs right now? My GOD!

  104. axespray says: Apr 26, 2011 6:27 AM

    bcgreg says:
    Apr 25, 2011 8:50 PM
    I see a correlation between this story and Obama. We’re told one thing. People support it (voted him in). Something different is done. People waking up to the fact that they’re being played.

    ^
    a politician lied?
    oh my! the humanity!
    what can be done?
    I know! …a Republican Conservative in office!

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