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Kevin Mawae says two sides are no closer to deal than in March

NFL Lockout Looms As Negotiations Reach Final Day Getty Images

The specific terms of the new offer made Monday by the NFL to the players have not yet been leaked.  But NFLPA* president Kevin Mawae made the players’ generally feelings on the offer clear during a Tuesday segment with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon of SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Mawae told Schein and Gannon earlier today that the league and the players “are not anywhere closer to a deal now than we were in March.”

This implies that the new offer wasn’t much better than the old offer.  But given that the players’ leverage is a lot worse now than it was in March, thanks to the Eighth Circuit’s sneak preview ruling on Monday that gave away the likely ending of the appeal process, the players should be glad the NFL hasn’t moved in the other direction.

So now the challenge is to not publicly complain about the status of the talks but to keep talking.  Respond to the offer, and see what the owners’ next move is.  By replacing negotiation with whining and waiting for the outcome of litigation, the players aren’t helping themselves, the fans, or the game.

When they decertified on March 11 and filed the Tom Brady antitrust suit, the players laid the foundation for an all-or-nothing attempt to break the lockout.  They won the first battle, but as it relates to the attempt to force the doors open before August, the players by all appearances will lose the war.  Though the eventual ruling on the “lockout insurance” case could determine some of the short-term dollars and cents, the reality is that the players’ Plan A is close to imploding, forcing them to realize that Plan B leads to a less favorable CBA.

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50 Responses to “Kevin Mawae says two sides are no closer to deal than in March”
  1. wt01 says: May 17, 2011 2:15 PM

    I doubt very much it means anything, but Chester Pitts claimed that they were “working on it” when I asked him over Twitter to actually try and give the owners a counter-offer (this was a few hours ago now). Still, gotta have hope…

  2. jerseybaron says: May 17, 2011 2:15 PM

    Just cancel the season, go home and take it easy, cool down then try again next year after the players have a year without pay and the owners have a year without revenue.
    I can see me going into my owner and asking for the things these players are asking for. I’d be fired in a heart beat.

  3. jeff061 says: May 17, 2011 2:19 PM

    Once the Players lose the case on une 3rd…they will be surprised at how close they really are to a deal!!!

    Idiots…led by a moron – D. Smith

  4. sl1111 says: May 17, 2011 2:19 PM

    Should’ve put this in my other comment to the other story – but regarding the anti-trust case (not just whether a stay should be granted, etc), we should all do a little thinking.

    For reference – look up the American Needle case.

    A lot of fans talk about the players wanting to “blow up” the NFL through the anti-trust case as it would get rid of the draft, etc.

    The American Needle case, however, does have some key language empowering the NFL to act in unified ways to preserve the game, while at the same time not violating anti-trust law.

    So even if there were no union, and the NFL no longer enjoyed a broad anti-trust exemption, the NFL could still conduct a large amount of unified actions that would enable the game to be competitive and within the law.

    What the American Needle case also teaches us – is that the pendulum of legal success swings wildly back and forth (as it is now). There, the NFL won in the lower courts, but lost by 9-0 in the supreme court (9-0??? That never happens, right?). Here is the key quote I was referencing about competitiveness as summarized before on PFT :

    ————–

    “Football teams that need to cooperate are not trapped by antitrust law,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote. “The fact that NFL teams share an interest in making the entire league successful and profitable, and that they must cooperate in the production and scheduling of games, provides a perfectly sensible justification for making a host of collective decisions.”

    Justice Stevens pointed out that the Supreme Court previously has recognized “‘that the interest in maintaining a competitive balance’ among ‘athletic teams is legitimate and important.’” Though that interest does not allow the NFL teams to make a group deal for the purposes of marketing team logos for apparel, it “may well justify a variety of collective decisions made by the teams.”

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/05/24/american-needle-case-weakens-sports-leagues-but-the-extent-isnt-clear/

    ———————

    You can read the entire case decision here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-661.ZO.html

  5. 2011to2020lions says: May 17, 2011 2:20 PM

    That’s because you wont counter offer you dope!!!

    Keep doing what you are doing and you wont play this year, and next year you will get the worst deal in sports history!!! Then D Smith can be proud of what he did to the game we all loved before he got involved

  6. redwillie30 says: May 17, 2011 2:21 PM

    If the players union (wait, what players union? I thought they didn’t exist?) screws this up, there will be bounties on DuhSmith’s head.

    This is the best chance they have to come out of this breaking even. If they pass it up, I hope the owners take them to the mattresses.

  7. gruss222 says: May 17, 2011 2:21 PM

    Throughout all of this, has anyone heard the players make a counter offer? I hear a lot of demands, such as financial statements etc., but has any counter offer been made by the players? It’s extremely hard to negotiate when only one side is putting forth offers.

  8. jtfris says: May 17, 2011 2:22 PM

    I really hope this is decided outside the courts. Now that the players are no longer unionized they may have trouble striking though.

  9. getyourpopcorn says: May 17, 2011 2:22 PM

    Players went for the home-run, appear to have struck out… Cant we just negotiate now? If we would have stayed out of the courts and just tried to reach a CBA it might have been at least CLOSE by now…

  10. wetgremlin14 says: May 17, 2011 2:22 PM

    This might mean the comeback of QB Shane Falco for the skins along Kicker Nigel Gruff. Sorry John Beck.

  11. willycents says: May 17, 2011 2:23 PM

    I think that the players did not have a plan B. I suspect that, no matter what the league offers them, they will drag it out until they can slap together a plan B.
    They were so confident that Plan A would succeed and give them the drivers seat in a new CBA that they are now totally lost in what to do next.

  12. touchdownroddywhite says: May 17, 2011 2:23 PM

    Tell Mawae to take his meds and pipe down. I understand the guy has ambitions and is well regarded as a future leader of the NFLPA, but he’s not helping his “constituents” at all by slamming the deal being offered. Especially since it has less of an effect on his future than many of the constituents he’s speaking for. He’s simply looking to take himself to the next level by trying to get the best deal possible, without accepting the fact that as this goes on, the deals will likely get worse instead of getting better.

    Maybe he could have used that time to say it was a “great starting point” and that work needs to be done. Which may only be half true, but at least it keeps the players open to countering instead of throwing up their hands in disgust and walking away again.

    Be a man, set the tone, and lead your people out of darkness, or pipe down.

  13. ntr0py says: May 17, 2011 2:24 PM

    Mike,

    You are missing something important. The Eighth Circuit is likely to rule that no injunction may be issued to end the lockout.

    BUT, the antitrust suit is very much intact. This ruling only impacts the likelihood of an injunction.

    If the NFL cancels the 2011 season, and that cancelation is deemed an anti-trust violation (likely), the league will owe the players three times what they lost due to that cancelation. That’s somewhere is the neighborhood of $18 BILLION.

    Even with a favorable ruling, the league can not afford to cancel the season.

  14. eaglesfan290 says: May 17, 2011 2:24 PM

    Well if the players don’t respond to any offer how can anything get done? I mean this is just getting childish you have to explain what you like and don’t like about an offer to get a deal done, come on guys point out specific sections you are unhappy with let them work on fixing what you don’t like and build a framework you can all agree on.

  15. 2011to2020lions says: May 17, 2011 2:25 PM

    I am sorry, but it looks like the owners are the only ones trying to get a deal done. The players seem to only cry about it, and make jokes about it, and talk about how much they enjoy their time off with family ect.. I know there is a few that are in between contracts that really want to get a deal done, but for those under contract, I think they could care less, until it affects their game checks.

  16. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: May 17, 2011 2:26 PM

    As i said earlier today on here. The owners did not make a good offer. They made an offer they hoped(but did not expect) the inmates would accept.
    The owners are doing all the right things. Saying they want to negotiate, making offers, doing all the right things, while the greedy DEmo Smith and his posse of blind greedy mice follow the path to destruction.

    The owners have all the leverage now. They ain’t gonna do nothing but wait for the players to start cracking. The league is just fine waiting till it’s time for the players/inmates/partners to start missing paychecks and bonus money. They want to hit the players in the billfold. That is part of the plan and always has been.
    The league wants to teach the inmates and DEmo a lesson and make sure there will never be a challenge from these hoodlums again.

    I applaud this strategy from the owners. Make the players accept a substandard deal now, or just wait till they miss paychecks and bonus money and putting them on the verge of bankruptcy. Then they will be forced to accept any offer the owners decide to put in front of them. I also suspect that the league wants to see the players overrule and fire DEmo.

    LIFE IS GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Real judges know the law.
    That other “judge” should stick to housework.

    BURN!

  17. ruckinfidiculous says: May 17, 2011 2:28 PM

    Mawae told Schein and Gannon earlier today that the league and the players “are not anywhere closer to a deal now than we were in March.”

    So what is he or the players going to do about it? Up to this point, I just see the players sitting back and waiting for the owners to present something to them – I don’t see them making a counteroffer or anything constructive to help the situation.

  18. commoncents says: May 17, 2011 2:30 PM

    the players and the PA leaders had best start showing some good faith if anything is to get done, or the owners have every right to stick it to them!

  19. kcfanatic says: May 17, 2011 2:33 PM

    Who really cares as long as we start the season on time. We can have a strike and/or lockout every year in the off season, just don’t screw with the game during football season.

  20. eaglesfan290 says: May 17, 2011 2:33 PM

    Kevin Mawae doesn’t even play anymore he shouldn’t even be the head of the “Player” reps!

    He is pissed no one signed him last year and as a result lets his feeling get in the way of common sense!

    Just my opinion

  21. ravensrule1208 says: May 17, 2011 2:34 PM

    Mawae doesnt have a job even with a new Cba he is a past player and he is charge glad its not my paycheck on the line more players need to get a new job about to be jobless.

  22. andrewfbrowne says: May 17, 2011 2:34 PM

    If the two sides are no closer now than two months ago, what was the point of the last two months of litagation?

    Players in this since litagation has not worked have two choices, dig in or cave in.

    They are too arrogant to give in without a fight and this isn’t even close to being done yet.

  23. djstat says: May 17, 2011 2:34 PM

    First of all, why is Kevin “no one wants me to play for them” Mwawe involved? He has not played since 2009. Kevin, your fired…now SHUT UP.

  24. possiblecabbage says: May 17, 2011 2:37 PM

    Does Kevin Mawae actually still play football anymore? Why do we keep hearing about him?

  25. smacklayer says: May 17, 2011 2:41 PM

    Who is Kevin Mawae? He isn’t part of this law suit. Oh is the head of a union that used to exist? NFLPA? I remember when the league used to have a union.

  26. willycents says: May 17, 2011 2:41 PM

    The players now HAVE to be seen as negotiating in good faith. The last thing they want to have happen is that mediator judge appointed by the court to go to Judge Judy:) and tell her they were not negotiating in good faith/not negotiating at all.
    She would probably be kinda like our wives when we refuse to talk to them for a few days….wayyyyy pissed off at them. Not a pretty scene…lol

  27. PFTiswhatitis says: May 17, 2011 2:41 PM

    How about some good old NEGOTIATION IN GOOD FAITH instead of Litigate-Litigate-Litigate followed by oh crap?
    Seriously, both sides need to negotiate and feel some pain. I am sure the owners know this. Now its time for the spoiled players to realize it.

  28. danerdane says: May 17, 2011 2:45 PM

    I heard the interview on NFL radio and Mawae comes off as ignorant and only willing to discuss one side..and pleads ignorance to ANY negative press regarding the players.

    It’s getting tough to root for the players, especially with DeMaurice representing them. The guy is pretty transparant…this is a grandstand for him and he sees it as a springboard into somethig else….too bad he’s dragging the (not-so-well-informed-players) and the fans through this.

    All they need to do is continue the communication and send a counter…keep the ball rolling. Instead, they want to hang on to the thread of hope they have left in this appeal.

  29. vahawker says: May 17, 2011 2:45 PM

    If they are no closer, it means the players have not made a no attempt to negotiate. They are acting like a little baby who wants what they want and that’s that.

    willycents says: May 17, 2011 2:23 PM

    I think that the players did not have a plan B. I suspect that, no matter what the league offers them, they will drag it out until they can slap together a plan B.
    They were so confident that Plan A would succeed and give them the drivers seat in a new CBA that they are now totally lost in what to do next.

    Funny, when Judge Judy ruled, people were saying the same things about the owners.

  30. rpiotr01 says: May 17, 2011 2:46 PM

    Players are too emotional and competitive, which is why they’re worthless in the process of collective bargaining. It generally makes sense to turn negotiations over to lawyers, but in this case they chose the wrong kind of lawyers. Both Smith and Kessler are litigators – their world view is win or lose, no area in between. In their practices, winning meant their client might keep everything, while losing meant they might go out of business or go to jail.

    They should have hired corporate lawyers instead. These people are used to negotiating deals between two parties interested in making a deal. Of course they fight for the best deal possible, but at the end of the day they know they’re there to make a deal happen, not to prevent one.

    The fact that the players hired these two goons tells you everything. It was a mistake. No one on their side is emotionally capable of making a deal. They just can’t see the situation as anything other than black or white. It’s a shame, because there is an opportunity to do something right now.

    They need to get their heads out of the litigation cloud and make a counter offer. Go back and forth, that’s how these things work. It’s like buying a car, you don’t get insulted when the dealer asks you to pay MSRP, you make an offer until you get something you can live with. Just please, try, that’s all anyone is asking…

  31. smacklayer says: May 17, 2011 2:47 PM

    ntr0py says:
    May 17, 2011 2:24 PM
    Mike,

    You are missing something important. The Eighth Circuit is likely to rule that no injunction may be issued to end the lockout.

    BUT, the antitrust suit is very much intact. This ruling only impacts the likelihood of an injunction.

    If the NFL cancels the 2011 season, and that cancelation is deemed an anti-trust violation (likely), the league will owe the players three times what they lost due to that cancelation. That’s somewhere is the neighborhood of $18 BILLION.

    Even with a favorable ruling, the league can not afford to cancel the season.

    ——————————-

    The only point of this law suit was to stop a lock out. The players have no intention of actually seeing this suit through. If they did and won, Tom Brady et al would be known as the group of players that really did kill NFL football. none would want that on their legacy. This law suit is a leverage play only, and it is failing. My guess is that if the NFL wins on June 3, you will see a VERY quick CBA getting done. If not, I suspect some of the names on that suit are going to drop off. Brees doesn’t want to be known as the player who turned the NFL in to MLB. He would be booed like no other.

  32. nj22 says: May 17, 2011 2:48 PM

    He is the same guy that 3 months ago was gloating that the owners are mad because we got the best of them last time. Really moron? That’s how it works, when you are in a bad deal, you try to change it. The players need to get new leadership ASAP, or we are all screwed.

  33. ktfulmer says: May 17, 2011 2:52 PM

    Shouldn’t a player rep actually have played in the last 5 years? Kevin Mawae has been retired for a millenia.

  34. hail2tharedskins says: May 17, 2011 2:53 PM

    ntropy,

    You are right that the 8th circuit ruling to overturn the injunction the end the lockout does not directly effect the underlying anti-trust lawsuit. However, it indirectly affects it greatly. As long as the lockout is in place, the league cannot violate any of the anti-trust laws as it relates to player transactions which the lawsuit has named. To your specific point, it could later be determined that the lockout itself was an anti-trust violation, by the chances of that happening after if the appeals court has already basically said that the lockout is legal and the courts do not have the right to enjoin it are slim and none. The other issue is that the underlying anti-trust lawsuit would last years to come to a final decision, I don’t think anybody thinks the players are going to last years without a paycheck – so as long as the lockout is in place you pretty much rest assured that the underlying case will be dropped long before a verdict is reached. The players strategy was to get the lockout lifted while they sued, there is a reason lifting that lockout was the first order of business. The lockout is crucial piece to this entire battle and whether or not it stays in place or is eventually lifted by the courts will determine how this dispute plays (and there is no other factor even remotely close to having as much impact on how this get resolves)

  35. vbe2 says: May 17, 2011 2:57 PM

    Why is Mawae even involved? He hasn’t been a player for what, 2 years now?

  36. endzonezombie says: May 17, 2011 3:03 PM

    This site seems to be interfering with progress on a new CBA. The participants are cognizant that this site is eager to annoint the ‘ winner’ and ‘ loser’ in any agreement.

  37. Chris Guest says: May 17, 2011 3:06 PM

    I think a number of people hit on one overarching issue that has made the negotiations harder.

    That is the question as to why Kevin Mawae is still the president of the NFLPA player’s reps when he isn’t a player – and hasn’t played a game in almost 2 years. he has said numerous times that the owners blackballed him for being the President v. his physical inability to play the game anymore. He is clearly biased and should have been dumped a year ago once it became clear he was no longer an active member of the NFL.

  38. ffootballontwitter says: May 17, 2011 3:17 PM

    Why are the sides not any closer?

    The reality is that the NFLPA* plan for future NFL management-labor relations is for a state of continuous siege, one grievance after another.

    Players are in love with Doty’s call on the TV contracts and the idea of treble damages. But even if players win treble damages, there is no bridge between a cash payout and a labor contract.

    The NFLPA* has shown zero situational awareness when it comes to issues like healthcare. Their public position is to either call people names or to come up with complete fictions, blind to demographic changes and unwilling to acknowledge who has actually been paying into the fund.

    Consider that NFL athletes who played in the 80s and 90s are just now hitting retirement age. If the NFLPA* cannot address this issue honestly and openly in this round of negotiations, how in the world will alumni win appropriate benefits? The answer is that they won’t.

    By avoiding the issue entirely, the NFLPA is kicking the can down the street, creating ammunition for the next round of litigation.

  39. jeff061 says: May 17, 2011 3:40 PM

    Kevin Mawae and Pete Kendall – the former players known as the Cancer Twins….history of alienating locker rooms and owner bashing…they along w/ D. Smith are the reason why we can’t get anything done.

  40. pixelito says: May 17, 2011 3:43 PM

    I can see me going into my owner and asking for the things these players are asking for. I’d be fired in a heart beat.
    ————————————————————

    Because you can be replaced by thousands people who can do it better than you.

  41. zaggs says: May 17, 2011 3:48 PM

    The players are two offers behind in making a counter. So no they are not any closer.

  42. dolfan8385 says: May 17, 2011 3:49 PM

    So let me get this straight.. now they wait until 6/3 to have the eighth court district hear both sides of the argument and shut the players down for the 3rd straight time. You thought the owners gave you a crappy deal before… wait till you see what the give you now.

    PS if I ever get in trouble with the law I know one person I will not be contacting for help.. SMITH

  43. realdeal12 says: May 17, 2011 4:03 PM

    Along with Dmouth this clown needs to shut his yapper. Everytime I hear Mawae or that Winston guy run their mouths its negative. They never have anything positive to say about the process just that the players have to win. With the poor attitudes of these jokers a compromise will never be reached.

  44. camp69 says: May 17, 2011 4:08 PM

    The players can always start their own football league. I’m sure that they could easily secure backers and rent college stadiums on Sundays. I am also sure that the media will broadcast the games because people will watch. Eventually, they will end up back in the same publicly financed stadiums and they will all be a lot richer.

  45. hobartbaker says: May 17, 2011 4:09 PM

    Nothing will change as long as the Mawae or the Highway mindset exists.

  46. veraky says: May 17, 2011 4:09 PM

    Im starting to think the players/player representation don’t even know how to make a counter offer. They seem content to receive an offer, declare it inadequate and then take no action. It’s also possible their lack of effort in trying to negotiate a CBA could come back to bite them in the courts. When they decide to actually start taking this process seriously and get active in negotiating, we might actually get some progress in this whole mess.

  47. thefiesty1 says: May 17, 2011 4:12 PM

    That’s because DeMo Smith is the obstacle to getting any kind of a deal done. Get him outta there.

  48. deadeye says: May 17, 2011 4:35 PM

    Kevin Mawae is wrong. The closer the players are to missing paychecks, the closer the owners are to getting the deal they like.

  49. lawyermalloy says: May 17, 2011 4:39 PM

    The owners are playing their cards like champions.
    Their position since this nonsense began was ” this is a labor dispute to be remedied by the NLRB NOT the courts by way of Anti Trust Litigation.
    The players chose a path through the courts by decertifying and filing suit.
    By continuing to negotiate “in good faith” the owners are showing the 8th cir. that the players strategy all along was never to negotiate and the decertification was a sham.

  50. commandercornpone says: May 17, 2011 5:03 PM

    sure they arent clower, if u define the current union* leadership as being responsible.

    they decertified, and it was a sham to gain advantage in court and public opinion. now many players have a summer to eat bling.

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