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The leverage game could continue beyond June

NFL And Players Resume Mediation Getty Images

Most NFL observers believe that the leverage-over-compromise approach spawned by the players in March will runs its course once the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling in the appeal of Judge Nelson’s decision to lift the lockout.

From the players’ perspective, it was a simple, yet powerful, proposition.  They could do a deal in the face of a threatened lockout in March or they could try to maximize their leverage with a court order lifting the lockout.  If they lose, they can do a deal in the face of an actual lockout.  Thus, the union had nothing to lose by disbanding the union and filing suit, and everything to gain.

So with the signs pointing clearly to the Eighth Circuit allowing the lockout to remain in place, the players will do a deal in the face of an actual lockout, and the season will proceed with no games missed, right?  After all, that meshes with the message from Seahawks guard and NFLPA* representative Chester Pitts, who said on Monday before the court ruling was issued that the lockout will end soon, once one side gets leverage.

But there’s now a sense in some circles that the folks pulling the strings for the players will try to get the players to think of the next potential leverage point presented by the Tom Brady antitrust litigation.  Even if the lockout remains in place, the case continues — with the players seeking three times their actual financial losses during a lockout that they contend is illegal.  Confident that Judge Nelson will rule in their favor, the strategy would be to maximize the verdict and then take their chances on appeal, possibly before a new three-judge panel.

Then there’s the collusion case pending before Judge Doty, based on the allegation that the teams conspired not to sign restricted free agents.  And don’t forget about the lockout insurance case, in which Judge Doty could issue a significant financial award for the players — and also block the ability of the owners to receive $4 billion from the networks during a season lost to the lockout.

Though the NFL has the conservative umbrella of the Eighth Circuit as potential insurance against a runaway financial award, it’s hard not to wonder whether lawyer Jeffrey Kessler has persuaded NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith to not compromise after losing on the effort to lift the lockout, but instead to find the next leverage point in the litigation and encouraging the players to remain unified until that card is played.  And the next.  And so on.  Until a full season of football is sacrificed to the effort to conjure leverage.

The only problem?  That’s likely not what the players signed up for, and once they realize in July or so that no progress is being made, they’ll begin to ask tough questions that will require something more meaningful than Godfather references or making baseless factual accusations against the league.  The sooner that the players take a stand and insist on compromise over an ongoing attempt to obtain leverage, the better off everyone will be.

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76 Responses to “The leverage game could continue beyond June”
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: May 17, 2011 6:42 PM

    “The sooner that the players take a stand and insist on compromise over an ongoing attempt to obtain leverage, the better off everyone will be.”

    Remove De Smith from the picture and this deal was done weeks ago…believe it.

  2. smacklayer says: May 17, 2011 6:44 PM

    You forgot to mention 2 things:

    1. The NFL has a pending case with the NLRB which is they find the decertification is a sham, the whole Brady case will deflate faster than a cheap beach ball at a pool party for porcupines and the union will be forced back together – literally.

    2. The own have the ultimate leverage and nuke card which is to shut down operations, which is still very much a viable option.

  3. jakek2 says: May 17, 2011 6:44 PM

    Finally someone actually writes that the players had nothing to lose filing their suit.

    REMAIN UNIFIED PLAYERS!! The owners need you more than you need them. The owners cannot pay those HUGE mortgage/lease payments without you. Ask Woody Johnson and John Mara.

  4. sonoco says: May 17, 2011 6:44 PM

    I think De’ Smith’s last best hole card will be the threat of no NFL opening day on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It will be a P.R. disaster for both sides, but the vast majority of national criticism will fall squarely on the Owners . . . and it will come from more than just hard core fans.

  5. mistrezzrachael says: May 17, 2011 6:46 PM

    I’ve said this before , and will continue: The players & duh Smith severely overplayed their hand…by not negociating the owners initial..AND STRONG,,offer.

    They instead chose to decertify, and sue.

    There are morons out here [ DEB is the biggest] who defend their tactic. There are morons [ duh] on players legal team. ..But the biggest morons are the players, who think they are above…the game.

    Players are employees..they come, they go. More will come.

    Now…lets get on to something interesting…BEN & HIS wedding!…Brings tears to my eyes that he has ‘saved’ himself for his future bride…and she him…We’re missing so much of that in society, strong moral values….Rape doesn’t count.

  6. nfl25/ownerplant says: May 17, 2011 6:46 PM

    This is how i see it

    The player backers are usually really young, like 24 and under. And they idolize the players. They might even have two favorite teams. They don’t think the owners are cool, but the players are like gods. The owners are old white dudes and they don’t want to back old white dudes. You get so mad when people don’t back the players, you get personally offended. You do a lot of name calling. And you say stuff like, “the players wont really get rid of the salary cap and the draft”. As if you know what the plan is.

    Die hard NFL fans want the owners to win. Because they know they have something in common with the owners, we both want the sport to remain the best sport in America. We back our team and don’t get too caught up in certain players. We don’t personally get offended if you hate the owners, we get annoyed that you back the players cuz we just cant understand it. But we arent in love with the owners, we just both have the same cause.

  7. glen1904 says: May 17, 2011 6:51 PM

    So compromise now and just like the owners did this year the players opt out and strike in a few years?
    open the books identify the problem were both sides can see it and then fix it so we can have labor stability for years to come or let it go on and turn everyone against the league and everyone loses. What a bunch of idiots! Both sides seem willing to use everything to win the battle instead of win the war.

  8. flavordave says: May 17, 2011 6:51 PM

    EVERYONE in the football “fratenity” is rich. Just play the damn game.

  9. seahawkhuskyfan says: May 17, 2011 6:54 PM

    Who is leading the players? Guys who don’t get paid to be on the field!! Let the guys who play the game have some input. The sooner somebody explains to these guys what is going on the better. Pitts needs to spend less time acting his IQ score and more time acting his age. I understand these guys are not the brightest, but can’t somebody explain it to them????? Somebody who can explain: no play = no pay
    no pay = no toys, and no women. That should do it.

  10. commandercornpone says: May 17, 2011 6:55 PM

    more like months, wisdom…

    players come, players go. coming up to a few “oakley-ewing moments” here… except duh may get to take ewing’s place.

    let’s remember – the owners madfe an offer. then anothe one.

    duh pounds the table and tries to talk tough.

    real interesting since he basically convinced the nflpa to become the nflpa*, or nflpta, if u prefer. he doesnt have a job. and isnt doing one.

  11. possiblecabbage says: May 17, 2011 6:56 PM

    Why does the NFLPA employ representation that is so incapable of compromise?

  12. hail2tharedskins says: May 17, 2011 6:56 PM

    I agree that the lawyers for the players would want to push the litigation forward and try to build leverage from future rulings in the case. But as you acknowledge the players didn’t sign up for that, keeping them unified through all that would be next to impossible. Sure this is just my opinion, but I am confident that if the 8th circuit confirms what we believe and overturns the district court’s injunction on the lockout, the majority of players will start to break ranks at that point. I expect at that point the players will engage in serious negotiations to reach an agreement with the owners to end the lockout (even staunch union supporters like Saturday and Pitts have come out and said that they are not going to miss any games). If not, once August rolls around and players are not making plans to go to mini-camps and the lockout and potential for actually missing games becomes real I guarantee the players will revolt against the union leadership at that point and force a deal to be reached immediately – in fact I am sure if we get to August and there is still a lockout in place the dissent on the player side would be so loud that the league would be able to do and end-run around the current union leadership and get a deal with the players.

    *Saturday’s interview on NFLN back at the beginning or mid-March is especially relevant to this discussion. He discussed in detail how the lawyers laid out the time line for the litigation and when all appeals would be exhausted and at that point they would still have time for mini-camps and a full season and that was way they chose to decertify and sue when they did instead of continuing to continue negotiating. I think that tells you right there where the actual players (not necessarily the lawyers for the players) view the litigation strategy and that it certainly has an expire by date.

  13. pjgrannan says: May 17, 2011 7:00 PM

    Based on the strong language about lack of jurisdiction in the ruling yesterday it is very likely an appellate ruling would dispose of the entire case.

    Thus with this threat hanging over their heads the players should be motivated to negotiate now.

    Similarly with the thereat of a big damage award from the lockout insurance case hanging over their heads the owners should also be motivated to negotiate. The leverages are about as equal as they are likely to get in the near future.

  14. tommyf15 says: May 17, 2011 7:00 PM

    nfl25/ownerplant says:
    The player backers are usually really young, like 24 and under.

    How could you possibly draw that conclusion? Do people here post their ages?

    nfl25/ownerplant says:
    And they idolize the players.

    I don’t idolize the players, but I’d like to think my posts don’t reek of jealousy…like some people’s posts do.

    Maybe they simply think the players have rights.

    Or they just think anti-trust laws should be upheld.

    nfl25/ownerplant says:
    And you say stuff like, “the players wont really get rid of the salary cap and the draft”. As if you know what the plan is.

    I think a certain person here “idolizes” the salary cap. And I’ve seen a lot of nonsensical doomsday scenarios that folks conjure up to justify that idolization.

  15. commoncents says: May 17, 2011 7:01 PM

    Good article Mike!

  16. jakek2 says: May 17, 2011 7:02 PM

    Die hard NFL fans want the owners to win. Because they know they have something in common with the owners, we both want the sport to remain the best sport in America. . .
    But we arent in love with the owners, we just both have the same cause.
    ——————————-
    nfl25/ownerplant -

    These statements are priceless. You don’t need to name yourself “ownerplant” to convince me that you are a shill. Believe me.

    Serious question – If the owners could sell $10,000 per game tickets to the top .0001% richest people in the world, do you think they would choose to do that or sell to YOU at $80 per game in order for the sport to remain “the best sport in America”. If you think the answer is the latter, I have a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you.

    Proof positive that the owners could give two squats about you…..the Bidwill family consistently profited more than most NFL owners. Instead of putting that money back into the team because they had “winning” in common with Cards’ fans, they sunk that money in their pocket.

    Wake up dude!

  17. commandercornpone says: May 17, 2011 7:03 PM

    and now the game we have all been waiting for…

    National… Football… LEVERAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    starring duh smith as he tries to act de smooth and talk intelligent jurists and league ownership and (some) players into doing stupid things for the real NFL…

  18. stevedco says: May 17, 2011 7:08 PM

    Anyone who thinks the owners needs the players more than the players need the owners is delusional.

    The owners could bring in scabs tomorrow, pay a signing bonus to any non-NFL proplayers who came over and start the season.

    Guess what? We would watch. I remember John Forcade like it was yesterday when he lead the Saints to a playoff birth. He is still a legend in New Orleans and he was a scab during the last labor dispute.

    I’m a Cardinals fan and really enjoy players like Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Wilson but guess what? Replace them with scabs and I still root for the Cardinals. Why, because the NFL owners have created a great league that endures past the players.

  19. endzonezombie says: May 17, 2011 7:14 PM

    nfl25 has always behaved like an owner ‘plant’. Anything he says can be disregarded as propaganda. Anyone who thinks the ‘teams’ are larger than the players who play/have played the games has his head up his … The perposterous premise that anyone who backs the players must be ’24 and under’ is irrelevant to theplayers objective to prove that many teams are poorly managed by ‘ old white dudes ‘ with their families and friends payrolled as overhead expenses. Many of the owner supporters claim to be small business owners who share the owner arrogance that they are allowed to run their business anyway they want without the employees snooping into their bloated expense accounts.

  20. ultada says: May 17, 2011 7:15 PM

    Anyone siding with the owners are either planted or blinded by political bias(most likely brainwashed by Fox News). The owners opted out of a deal 2 years ago that has made the league the most successful in years. Every team makes millions in profit and most con the locals to get funding for their new stadiums.
    They charge outrageous prices for everything now and seek more ways to con fans out of money with stuff like the personal seat license.

    Players have every right to be angry and do everything in their power to block these money grubbing owners who are trying to rob players to settle their own differences. Don’t be brainwashed into thinking otherwise.

  21. dequan81 says: May 17, 2011 7:17 PM

    “The owners need you more than you need them. The owners cannot pay those HUGE mortgage/lease payments without you.”

    Is this a real statement? They need each other, with the PLAYERS needing the OWNERS a bit more. Every year a large group of players enter the NFL through the draft, we accept the unknown new players because they wear our colors and play for our TEAMS. A new group of unknown players can enter and fantasy football, PFT, analyst and fans will make them famous and the NFL and the OWNERS will move on. In every position in every workplace, everyone is replaceable. These players are replaceable.

    I would love to hear more on your point, jakek2.

  22. bushdoctor504 says: May 17, 2011 7:19 PM

    nfl25/ownerplant says:

    “The player backers are usually really young, like 24 and under. And they idolize the players. They might even have two favorite teams. They don’t think the owners are cool, but the players are like gods. The owners are old white dudes and they don’t want to back old white dudes. You get so mad when people don’t back the players, you get personally offended. You do a lot of name calling. And you say stuff like, “the players wont really get rid of the salary cap and the draft”. As if you know what the plan is.”

    “Die hard NFL fans want the owners to win. Because they know they have something in common with the owners….”

    WTF?
    _______________________

    First of all, very few people have much in common with ANY NFL owner… Unless you happen to own and operate a multimillion dollar organization, and you happen to be over the age of 60… The players dazzle us! The owners perpetuate the game, and ensure that it continues to progress and exist…

    Secondly,
    I don’t hate old rich white men… I don’t care how cool they are… but right now, this particular group of “old white dudes” is pissing me off… they are toying with the fans because they want to be richer “old white dudes”… The owners are mostly responsible for this situation… The players have played their part too… BUT, the owners could end this whole sham if they gave up a slightly bigger piece of the pie… Keep in mind, most of the owners have other financial endeavors that make their NFL earnings pale in comparison… Most of the owners have already eaten a whole pie, and they are still hungry for their piece of the NFL pie… GREED is what makes me so upset about the lockout… and I understand that the players seem greedy too… but not even close to the extent that the owners are greedy… I don’t get offended when people support the owners; I just can’t support Extremely Wealthy Men becoming more wealthy at the expense of a lost offseason and possibly a real NFL season.

  23. bradjames33160 says: May 17, 2011 7:19 PM

    If the players are “gods,” they’re sure exhibiting their fair share of mortal foibles.

  24. rabiddawg51 says: May 17, 2011 7:22 PM

    Prior to free agency fans bonded with players for the life of their career. Now they bond with players within the context of a team and the life of their contract. Unbridled free agency, as advocated by the NFLPA’s attorneys, will only serve to further weaken that bond. Fans are loyal to their teams and their cities in an era of players chasing the next big payday. Who else could they side with in a dispute like this?

  25. harmcityhomer says: May 17, 2011 7:23 PM

    The decertification is only a sham if it was only a leverage play.

    I see no advantage to the players in reforming the union or continiung to “negotitate” as one.

    The owners are free to lift the lockout and implement rules at any time. The players had one move and they made it. Accepting a CBA offer or even negotiating one proves the owners still pending claim the decertification was a sham.

    I guess we get no football. The owners took the ball and went home. The players just refused to accept a lesser CBA or remain a colective bargaining unit, because they had zero leverage as one and were the weakest union in all of pro sports, which is why they got the worst offer in all of pro sports from the owners.

    For the average player that lasts 3.5 years, there is no good reason to give up your right to enter the NFL as a free agent. The team that drafts you would own your rights longer than you are likely to last in the NFL.

    I am not even sure who other than super stars that hit free agency, and top 10 draft picks actually did well under the CBA the players were willing to extend.

    Can some one, other than an owner fanboi, explain why the players would ever want to reform the union instead of giving free market profootball a try?

  26. jtfris says: May 17, 2011 7:24 PM

    If the players are dumb enough to listen to this pack of ambulance chasers again, I hope they sit for a couple of years.

  27. commoncents says: May 17, 2011 7:26 PM

    De-blo Smith is like a little girl, who calls people names, then runs and hides behind mama’s skirt when someone comes to man him up. De-blow doesn’t know, nor care about football, and he represents the players. You wonder why nobody supports the players that has a clue, look no further than De-mo.

    Hire someone who cares about football to represent you, if you want my support.

  28. hobartbaker says: May 17, 2011 7:27 PM

    Kessler and Mo are discussing what they’d like to do with those massive mounds, little realizing she is coming up right behind them.

  29. mick730 says: May 17, 2011 7:27 PM

    “I think De’ Smith’s last best hole card will be the threat of no NFL opening day on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It will be a P.R. disaster for both sides, but the vast majority of national criticism will fall squarely on the Owners . . . and it will come from more than just hard core fans.”

    I think you’re a p.o.s.. No anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001, the first, the third, the tenth, the 15th, or 100th, as anything at all to do with a football game.

    The fact that you try and exploit something like this to push some kind of agenda says all I need to know about you.

  30. greghensley says: May 17, 2011 7:28 PM

    It will be up to the bottom 3/4 of the players to pressure the top 1/4 into making a deal. The top guys can out last the owners if they have been halfway smart with their money.

    How many of that bottom 3/4 of players are going to lose their home, their car, their mom’s new home that they just bought? Are they going to have to pull their kids out of that private school when the check doesn’t come?

    This is about to get very real, very soon.

    The NFL should go on the offensive. Not by trying to destroy the union but to get their offer out there for everyone to view. Allow the world (especially the players) to decide for themselves just how good or how bad this deal truly is.

  31. brutus9448 says: May 17, 2011 7:29 PM

    of course the lawyers want this to continue. That’s how they make their living. Getting the lawyers involved was a bad move by the players.
    They better be ready for this to drag out into september.

  32. mick730 says: May 17, 2011 7:30 PM

    “Can some one, other than an owner fanboi, explain why the players would ever want to reform the union instead of giving free market profootball a try?:

    Of course that can be done and has been done on here countless times. But why should anybody waste the time trying to explain something to you again when you obviously are too close minded to comprehend even something so simple.

  33. danw96 says: May 17, 2011 7:30 PM

    I heard several player interviews today on nfl radio and now want to puke. They bitch and sue because the nfl isn’t offering enough $$$. Last I checked two sides need to present offers for an actuall negotiation to happen. Where is the player’s offer??? Their lawyers have no intent on having a season otherwise a deal would be done. They are out to teach the nfl a lesson. The owners have one last card they haven’t played. Its called the UFL, if you don’t like our league go there, we no longer have a monopoly. The ufl is a fully fledgeling league that pays players, as long as they are there the nfl can argue legal competition thus negating damages.

  34. possiblecabbage says: May 17, 2011 7:33 PM

    I’m pretty sure the “average NFL career is 3.5 years” figure is only due to the fact that the draft adds 256 players to the NFL every year, and there aren’t 256 players every year that actually belong in professional football. If we take out the guys who just were never very good to begin with, I’m sure the number is larger. I don’t think even the NFLPA can complain about NFL teams letting veterans go because they’re simply not very good at their jobs.

  35. thebion says: May 17, 2011 7:35 PM

    I don’t care about the players. Not one of them. I support a team, it doesn’t matter who plays, whether they suck or not. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m pro-owners either – I want the game to remain as it is; draft, free agency, salary cap, and all (maybe a few tweaks to things like the franchise tag but nothing that would destroy the competitive balance).

    To the guy who mentioned the Bidwells – yes they are notoriously cheap and have lined their pockets for years. But even they managed to stumble into getting a team to the Superbowl in the modern era.

    The longer this goes on and the more the NFL presses that they want to negotiate and the players in essence maintain silence the worse it will be for them, as it already makes them seem like they are being unreasonable (in a PR battle truth is less important than perception, after all)

    If it really does get toward opening weekend and the players are still choosing to try and fight it out in court then they will lose a large portion of what public support they have, I’m pretty sure of that.

  36. stevecmh says: May 17, 2011 7:37 PM

    According to Forbes magazine recent survey of 1,533 NFL fans…

    45.9% are on the players’ side,

    19.5% are on the owners’ side, and

    34.6% don’t know/don’t care.

    It will be interesting to see how those here who support the owners go about attacking Forbes, surely a bastion of American capitalism.

  37. rabiddawg51 says: May 17, 2011 7:42 PM

    harmcityhomer says:

    “For the average player that lasts 3.5 years, there is no good reason to give up your right to enter the NFL as a free agent. The team that drafts you would own your rights longer than you are likely to last in the NFL.”

    This parrots DeMaurice Smith’s propaganda, which includes every slap training camp ‘tackling dummy’ that doesn’t make the club’s opening day roster.

    The average career length for a player who makes a club’s opening-day roster (active/inactive roster or injured reserve) in his rookie season is 6.0 years.

    The average career length for a player with at least three pension-credited seasons* is 7.1 years (*a player receives a pension credit for each season in which he spends at least three games on an active/inactive roster and/or injured reserve).

    The average career length for a first-round draft pick is 9.3 years.

    The average career length for a player who is selected for or plays in at least one Pro Bowl is 11.7 years.

    The 3.5 year career stat used by the NFLPA is a myth and great propaganda for fooling uninformed.

  38. voyager6 says: May 17, 2011 7:44 PM

    Just move the games to the south pole and see how the players like it.

  39. clownburger says: May 17, 2011 7:45 PM

    Once again the NFL makes a proposal to put an end to the lockout.

    Once again, the Players ignore it and make NO COUNTER OFFER.

    How the hell can anybody support these jerk offs? They DO NOT want to negotiate!

    The NFL is trying.

    This is all the players fault. GET TO THE DAMN TABLE! TRY TO NEGOTIATE!!!!!

    Man, the players are ticking me off!

  40. eagleswin says: May 17, 2011 7:46 PM

    For the average player that lasts 3.5 years, there is no good reason to give up your right to enter the NFL as a free agent. The team that drafts you would own your rights longer than you are likely to last in the NFL.

    ————————————-

    “There is a little bit of a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding on that. Frequently, it is said that the average career is about 3.5 years. In fact, if a player makes an opening day roster, his career is very close to six years,” Commissioner Goodell said. “If you are a first-round draft choice, the average career is close to nine years. That 3.5-year average is really a misrepresentation. What it adds is a lot of players who don’t make an NFL roster and it brings down the average.”

    Goodell is right, just because you made the 80 man roster doesn’t mean you should be included in the stats of everyone who made the opening day roster which is much smaller.

    That’s like including temps when calculating the average career lengths at a business. Just because you want a career in a certain field doesn’t mean you actually have one.

  41. danw96 says: May 17, 2011 7:47 PM

    1533 is a lot of fans, boy what did they pay to get a $9billion dollar purse. Polls are jokes like this whole debate. The only one getting screwed in any way is the fan. Players win we pay more money because if the nfl doesn’t drive up the prices on everything they aren’t complying with judge doty’s ruling that the nfl must do everything to increase revenues at all costs. And if the nfl wins they increase prices and take home more profits. At least the owners don’t spend our money fighting dogs and making it rain at the clubs

  42. tommyf15 says: May 17, 2011 7:51 PM

    What kills me is that sports fans in general are naive enough to think that salary caps, drafts, publicly funded stadiums, etc exist for THEIR benefit or “the good of the game” as opposed to simply being mechanisms to make the owners even richer.

  43. siggy00 says: May 17, 2011 7:51 PM

    Say it with me….RIP 2011 season.

    Deal with it. Until the moron players can DeSmith the NFL will not resume.

  44. geo1113 says: May 17, 2011 7:52 PM

    Keep in mind, most of the owners have other financial endeavors that make their NFL earnings pale in comparison…
    _______________________

    OK, so they have. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China. So then they should take the money that they made in other financial endeavors and throw it away? If they bought teams knowing they couldn’t make a buck, that would be one thing. But they could have taken their money and put them into different investments whether it be shares of Haliburton, Partnership with a George Soros arbitrage fund, State of Massachusetts municipal bond, etc, etc.

    Buying an NFL team was not the only option these owners had.

  45. dewiseman says: May 17, 2011 7:53 PM

    It amazes me that so many of the bloggers on this site seem so sympathetic to the players’ position. Look. It’s simple. There is a big pot of money, courtesy of the fans and the the tv networks. Both sides want as much of it as they can get. It’s no more complicated than that. It’s not a question of right and wrong. It’s a question of who best serves the interests of the fans, the owners or the players? All I know is that every time the players in other sports have won, competitive balance has been weakened. Look at baseball and basketball. Is that what we want professional football to turn into? Do you really want the Packers to become the football version of the Kansas City Royals? If the players win, it’s inevitable. Maybe not this year, but four or five years from now.

  46. themohel says: May 17, 2011 7:56 PM

    Hey Mike – how does the anti-trust case continue if the 8th Circuit rules (after the June 3 hearing) that the District Court has no jurisdiction under Federal Labor law? The case would be dismissed, no? How then would this somehow translate to leverage FOR the players?

  47. huskersrock1 says: May 17, 2011 8:00 PM

    I support the owners because I support the salary cap, restricted free agency and the draft. These are the things that have made the NFL great. The only way you could improve it is by eliminating free agency.

  48. willycents says: May 17, 2011 8:06 PM

    stevecmh says:May 17, 2011 7:37 PM

    According to Forbes magazine recent survey of 1,533 NFL fans…

    45.9% are on the players’ side,

    19.5% are on the owners’ side, and

    34.6% don’t know/don’t care.
    —————————————————-
    Hmmmm…I call bs on this one. Amazingly, the numbers were IDENTICAL to the little poll Mike has posted on here, with the exception being that the player/owner percentages are reversed, when I checked immediately after reading this post. (7:38 pm) and the changing of the wording on Mikes poll.

  49. skins359 says: May 17, 2011 8:07 PM

    possiblecabbage says:
    May 17, 2011 6:56 PM
    Why does the NFLPA employ representation that is so incapable of compromise?

    141
    ————–
    Because it’s hammered into them from an early age that winning is the only thing that matters. That you have to be competitive and can’t be discouraged. So naturally they hired a guy that’s all about winning and hostile take overs and the result is no football in 2011 and likely a terrible CBA in the future.

  50. mick730 says: May 17, 2011 8:09 PM

    “According to Forbes magazine recent survey of 1,533 NFL fans…”

    Small sample size, even if such a poll exists. I notice you provided no link.

    I think there’s a poll being conducted right now on this site and last I looked, the sample size is far larger and the results are quite the opposite.

    But polls, no matter what the result really never have mattered and never will. The owners don’t care about polls, nor should they. And anybody with any common sense at all knew from the very beginning that the players were never going to win this time around.

    The players hired DeMaurice Smith because he sold them on his connections to Obama, which are really irrelevant. Once the owners decided to bite the bullet and take this the distance, specifically, out of the jurisdiction of the Minneaplis court room, hire a top rate team of lawyers, specifically Boice (sp) and Batterman, the game was essentially over. 78% of NFL players file for personal bankruptcy protection within two years of leaving the NFL. There is no way that any significant number of players can afford to miss even one game check. The closer we come to training camp, the longer free agents cannot sign and collect their signng bonuses, the panic amongst the players will rise exponenetially each and every day. Players will look at who it is who is leading them and where it is they are going. How long will it take even the most dense player to realize that Kevin Mawae has no skin in this game, and rightfully or wrongfully, how long will it be before a lot of them think that Mawae is just some bitter old has been and hanger on?

    And how long will De Dig It’s posing, posturing and absurd and ludicrous comments continue to impress the players?

    For all of Smith’s bluster and rididculous theatrics, he’s led the NFLPA and the players over a cliff.

  51. jakek2 says: May 17, 2011 8:09 PM

    dequan and steveco,

    Many people say they’d watch scabs simply because they are wearing that fan’s team’s uniform. But guess what…you won’t have a chance to watch the scabs. Know why?

    Because nobody will pay $400+ to go to the games. If the games aren’t sold out, they’re blacked out. No TV = No $$ = No football.

    Even if you could watch the scabs, you must be braindead if you’re willing to watch a bunch of high-school washouts run around just b/c they’re wearing an NFL jersey. People watch for entertainment. If the real talent moves to the UFL, the NFL is OVER. Put it this way….I don’t know who your team is but if they suited up a bunch of ballerinas, are you telling me you’d still watch?? Be real.

    That is why the owners need the players more than the players need the owners.

  52. descendency says: May 17, 2011 8:18 PM

    The players won’t remain unified so their stars can get large pay increases while they miss game checks and their families are left in the cold.

    Remember I said this… in July/August (maybe early September at the latest), the bulk of players (30+ per team) will unify and tell the union to end the fight and concede the other 10 million per team (320 million total – of which they will see 0 dollars of) and negotiate the rest of the terms with the league. A deal will be signed and football will be played.

  53. tommyf15 says: May 17, 2011 8:20 PM

    thebion says:
    If it really does get toward opening weekend and the players are still choosing to try and fight it out in court then they will lose a large portion of what public support they have, I’m pretty sure of that.

    I’ve seen plenty of labor battles in professional sports (since I’m older than 24) and trust me when I say the public never support the players, regardless of the circumstances. Never.

    Example: I remember back in 2011 when the NFL opted out of a deal, asked the players for an extra one billion dollars a year, and instituted a lockout to get the additional money. The fans rabidly supported the owners anyway.

  54. 411dooleybug1 says: May 17, 2011 8:20 PM

    Oops. Guess the players should have hired David Cornwell. At least the guy is smart and wants football. This would have been done by now. De Smith and his Pimphat need to go back to the 70s and have a roundtable with Huggy Bear, Danny Bonaduce, David Cassidy and Big Jim Slade.

  55. eaglesfan290 says: May 17, 2011 8:25 PM

    I love these pro player comments lets use the 9/11 game to gain leverage!

    Shame on you, maybe Seal Team 6 should pay a visit to De Smith next if that’s the plan, the NFLPA* and players have nothing is common with Pat Tillman or any other American hero who fought or died for this Country!

    What a GD disgrace you people are, if that’s what this comes down to watch how the fans turn their back on you.

    BTW funny how I can’t find that Forbes Survey and 1,533 fans is hardly a Survey they have 10 times that voting just on this site. Plus Forbes is likely a Pro Business magazine they would never even publish results like that!

  56. dkeyser says: May 17, 2011 8:32 PM

    The average player only plays for 3.5 years…..blah blah blah.. Its the “average” player that 90% of fans could give a rats ass about..Its the special teams guys, practice squad guys, the guys youve never heard of..The “stars” of the NFL could care less about these folks as well..They just want that big payday. They are in court because they want to keep that big payday. They dont care if special teams gunner #4 gets paid 40K a year as long as they get their 5 million dollar check…..Hopefully the courts say that it was a sham, and the owners wipe the floor with them..Then they can cut salaries the big shots getting mega millions can really see what it was like to be a retired player or an “average” player

  57. geo1113 says: May 17, 2011 8:40 PM

    jtfris says:
    May 17, 2011 7:24 PM
    If the players are dumb enough to listen to this pack of ambulance chasers again, I hope they sit for a couple of years.
    ________________________

    That is a very good point. Many on the players’ side think they have nothing to lose. But if the lockout is upheld, the original Brady et al v. NFL case could be in the courts for quite some time. And when you really look at the case, it is possible that the players may not have as much leverage as they think. How so?

    1) No draft. Ok so the NFL negates the draft and all players who want to enter the NFL are free to negotiate with any team they want.

    2) No franchise or transitional tag. OK, the NFL doesn’t use those tages.

    3) Players under contract immediately paid. The lockout was legal thus no pay because no services were rendered.

    Sure. The players have nothing to lose!

  58. robertallen1958 says: May 17, 2011 8:41 PM

    for all of you pro-owner people with a IQ above room temperature please read a very good article that Sally Jenkins wrote in the Washington Post, and with an open mind you might realize the this is NOT your fathers NFL, there are alot of new owners in this league, corporate owners who have one thing on their agenda people, squeeze the fans for every nickle they can, $10.00 beer, $8.00 hot dogs, do you think for one minute this is the players fault, it,s not what the players make that causes this, an average fan can hardly afford to attend an nfl game, i lived 30 minutes from Pitts. Pa, i am not a season ticket holder, in 1995 was my first time to go to a game, buy the time i got out of there, 2 tickets and everything else i put out over $500.00, no to some people that may not be alot but to me that was our vacation! these owners want it all and more, educate yourself on whats going on with the vikings stadium deal, then once you know a little about the true nature of these greedy owners you may realize what the players have been up against.

  59. jce1982 says: May 17, 2011 8:49 PM

    “According to Forbes magazine recent survey of 1,533 NFL fans…

    45.9% are on the players’ side,

    19.5% are on the owners’ side, and

    34.6% don’t know/don’t care.

    It will be interesting to see how those here who support the owners go about attacking Forbes, surely a bastion of American capitalism.”

    It’s a survey, not the viewpoint of Forbes. I don’t fully support either side. I can only judge based off of what we have seen. The owners have presented 2 proposals to the players and instead of coming out and saying why it’s not good enough or god forbid make a counter offer D-Bag Smith just keeps spouting off rhetoric. The other side of that coin is you have owners like Jerry Richardson spouting off at the players which gets you no where and everything turns into children calling each other “stinky heads” on the playground. Arguing over leverage isn’t negotiating both sides need to compromise.

  60. smarks82 says: May 17, 2011 9:09 PM

    Thats it. Im going to my boss right now and demanding him to show me his financial reports. Other wise Im going to decertify and sue him. What do you guys think my chances are?

  61. footballfan292 says: May 17, 2011 9:12 PM

    It’s amazing how Americans worship the super rich. What have these guys done for you other than charge you for overpriced tickets, bad hot dogs, and warm beer?

    If a single game is cancelled, im done with the NFL. These greedy sons of b***** will never see another penny of my money.

  62. dequan81 says: May 17, 2011 9:27 PM

    jakek2,

    Your logic is flawed and biased. First, no one mentioned scabs, I was challenging your comment that the owners need players more. You haven’t made a real point. The cycle speaks for itself, players come and go and the teams still move forward. If they introduced scabs will revenue and attendance drop? Probably, will it bounce back absolutely. As I stated earlier, they need each other, with the players needing the owners more. The UFL argument is weak. There are thousands of players in the NFL and what, 4 or 5 teams in the UFL?

  63. geo1113 says: May 17, 2011 9:32 PM

    robertallen1958:
    “corporate owners who have one thing on their agenda people, squeeze the fans for every nickle they can, $10.00 beer, $8.00 hot dogs, ”

    “in 1995 was my first time to go to a game, buy the time i got out of there, 2 tickets and everything else i put out over $500.00″

    “educate yourself on whats going on with the vikings stadium deal”
    ____________________

    If you or anyone else does not like the prices, don’t buy the product.

    As for the Vikings stadium deal, there is an easy solution. MN doesn’t have to shell out the money. And Wilf is free to move the team anyplace he wants. But remember one of the reasons governments kick in is because they think they will profit from it.

  64. kom2k10 says: May 17, 2011 9:35 PM

    robertallen1958 says:
    May 17, 2011 8:41 PM
    for all of you pro-owner people with a IQ above room temperature please read a very good article that Sally Jenkins wrote in the Washington Post, and with an open mind you might realize the this is NOT your fathers NFL, there are alot of new owners in this league, corporate owners who have one thing on their agenda people, squeeze the fans for every nickle they can, $10.00 beer, $8.00 hot dogs, do you think for one minute this is the players fault, it,s not what the players make that causes this, an average fan can hardly afford to attend an nfl game
    ——————————

    Thats not really breaking news that the owners charge a lot for concessions so that they can make money… same thing happens in every venue (concerts, plays, etc…).

    The real question is, are those concessions more likely to rise if the players win? Yes! Especially considering the oweners margins are currently declining as is… The fact is that, yes, concessions are high, but if you think that the players winning this battle will cause them to go down, then you’re dillusional. It’s simple economics… if the owners have to pay the players a larger % of their revenue, then they have to charge even more $$ to the fans to make up for that extra cost!

  65. realitypolice says: May 17, 2011 9:41 PM

    willycents says:

    Hmmmm…I call bs on this one. Amazingly, the numbers were IDENTICAL to the little poll Mike has posted on here, with the exception being that the player/owner percentages are reversed, when I checked immediately after reading this post. (7:38 pm) and the changing of the wording on Mikes poll.
    ==================

    I agree that was probably BS, but I will say that this site’s polls tend to skew far more towards the owner’s side than any others I can find online.

    The highest percentage I could find for the owner’s anywhere else was 43%, and that was a Minneapolis Star Trib poll where you couldn’t vote “BOTH”. The players got 56% there.

    Most polls I have found online have the votes for players or owners accounting for less than 50% total, with the overwhelming majority voting “BOTH”, which is how I would vote.

    So for whatever reason, the readers/posters on this site skew much farther towards the owners than the general public does.

    I, for one, cannot for the life of me see how you could look at this objectively and not see some level of blame on both sides.

  66. tommyf15 says: May 17, 2011 9:55 PM

    eaglesfan290 says:
    I love these pro player comments lets use the 9/11 game to gain leverage!

    I didn’t read that as a pro-player comment.

    It sounded more like “I’ll bet Smith will stoop low enough to use 9/11 as leverage”. Which doesn’t make sense since the fans would take out their anger over not having football on the players regardless of circumstance, just as they always have.

  67. drozman says: May 17, 2011 10:08 PM

    The Appeals Court is hoping a deal is done before they have to actually rule on the Brady case. Yes, 2 judges are appointed by a Republican President, but this is a problem on the case and not a lockout stay. They tend to be business friendly, but also free market oriented and against the socialist revenue sharing something like a draft. They would want to side with the owners ultimately, but setting a president against and open and free market may be something they do not want to do.

  68. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: May 17, 2011 10:31 PM

    @stevecmh—Actually, the results of this survey—specifically, the roughly 26% edge in favor of the players—can be easily explained. Simply stated, the players are more POPULAR than the owners. NFL fans tune in every weekend to watch the players, not the owners. NFL fans live vicariously every weekend through the players, not the owners. That doesn’t make the players right and the owners wrong in the context of this labor dispute. Indeed, the far more important question is which side makes the more compelling BUSINESS CASE to ensure the future success of the game. On that score, I side with the owners, based on the research I’ve done.

    Finally, there’s this amusing observation. Roughly 35% of the respondents, who were self-described “big fans of the NFL,” said they “didn’t know” or “didn’t care” which side they favored. That’s quite an indictment.

  69. deadeye says: May 17, 2011 10:52 PM

    “Can some one, other than an owner fanboi, explain why the players would ever want to reform the union instead of giving free market profootball a try?”

    I suppose ignorance is bliss. Of course the players would never want to be drafted if they could go as a free agent straight out of college. But if the choice is to be a free agent with no league to play in, or to be drafted and make millions, 99.9% of them choose to be drafted and make the millions.

    By the way, the owners ARE the market. If they go in a room and vote to have a draft for the overall good and competitive balance of the league, guess what, the market decided to draft rookies. What the owners are seeking in the CBA, by definition, is what the market is wanting to offer.

  70. rjov says: May 18, 2011 1:09 AM

    hmmm, can we take a break to and talk about the girl in the background? :/

  71. macjacmccoy says: May 18, 2011 2:01 AM

    Im so sick of this lockout. I love football I will always love nothing could ever make me not love football. Lets be clear though just because the NFL plays football does not make them football. Football is pure. It is something that is a 100% public entity. It isnt defined or made better by the players that play it or the people that own teams that play it. What makes football great is football its self. Its the rules, its the strategy, its the desire, its the challenge and the passion the game brings out of you whether your playing it or your watching your son play it. Football is what makes football great not the NFL. The NFL didnt invent the game they arent the ones responsible for the desire and the passion football brings out in you.

    The NFL doesnt seem to realize this though. They seem to believe that they are football. Like there would be no football without the NFL. They believe that they own football. But they dont, we own football, America owns football, they just own a company and a name. They own football no more then Microsoft owns the internet. They are just 1 small piece puzzles. They dont seem to realize that the entire NFL could disband today and within a year a new pro football league would open and the fans would watch . The best players would join and so would the advertisers and with in a decade the NFL would be a distant memory. Because American loyalty to football is so much greater then it is to the NFL.

    The NFL can only strech the loyalty that they have cultivated in us so far. It took them nearly a century to build that loyalty up but we all know it doesnt take nearly as long to tear something down as it does to build something up. Its already starting to wear thin.

    Im starting to hate the NFL. And I dont mean just the front office I mean the entire lot of them. The union and the league. Both sides are full of greedy, selfish, narcissistic, self important, pompous individuals. The game they are playing is getting old fast. Im tired of the lies, the patronizing tones, there percieved genious and superiority and our precieved stupidity. These things are all evident in the letters to season ticket holders, the press conferences and public releases. They tell us how much they care about the fans and the game of football but there actions tell a different story. Like Jerry Jones and the Superbowl fiasco, the PSLs, optioning out of the cba, the fake new cba negoitations, the going to court, and the lockout. But they preceive us to dumb to realize the connection though.

    The entire National Football League is wrought with hypocrites. They expect loyalty from fans but show none in return. Can someone name 1 thing they have done to make the lockout easier on us? I cant. Thats why my loyalty is to football and football alone. I will watch the NFL because I love football but if the time ever comes when there is a true competitor to the NFL in talent and coverage I will be sure to sow them the same amount of loyalty as they did me. None.

  72. mullwall412 says: May 18, 2011 2:40 AM

    The reason why most people side with the owners is not because they hate the players. I realize they are extremely talented and they deserve to be paid ALOT. But a lot of union leadership sounds riduculous, this one’s more than others. When they lie blatantly and make childish jokes its hard to take them serious. Do some owners worry about money more than they should? Yes, but I respect men like the Rooneys, Ralph Wilson,Robert Kraft and even Jerry or Dan Snyder way more than De Smith, Kessler or any other lawyer that has done NOTHING good for football. They are the ones who care about football or at least through their actions convince me more than the union’s leaders

  73. macjacmccoy says: May 18, 2011 3:40 AM

    deadeye says:
    May 17, 2011 10:52 PM
    “Can some one, other than an owner fanboi, explain why the players would ever want to reform the union instead of giving free market profootball a try?”

    I suppose ignorance is bliss. Of course the players would never want to be drafted if they could go as a free agent straight out of college. But if the choice is to be a free agent with no league to play in, or to be drafted and make millions, 99.9% of them choose to be drafted and make the millions.

    By the way, the owners ARE the market. If they go in a room and vote to have a draft for the overall good and competitive balance of the league, guess what, the market decided to draft rookies. What the owners are seeking in the CBA, by definition, is what the market is wanting to offer

    ———————————————————

    That isnt true the owners are not the market. The fans are the market . The owners only dictate there league and there are alot more then 32 rich guys out there that would like nothing more then for the NFL to alienate there players so much so that they would be willing to play somewhere else.
    The only reason why leagues like the ufl havent took off is bc the best players are in the NFL. But if the NFL finally forces players to leave bc of there own hubris another league will emerge and the players, the fans, then the advetisers and the money will follow. You tell me if 75% of the NFL players went to play for a new football league that you wouldnt watch? Sure you would. We all would.

    Thats why the fans are the market. We control where the money goes and where the money goes the players go. If us fans decided we are done with the NFL we would bankrupt every single 1 of those billionaire owners. Because there $billion teams would be worthless without us. Take Jerry Jones for example his net worth is about $2 billion. Half of that though is in the Cowboys franchise. If us fans left the NFL and started watching our favorite players play in a new league the Cowboys franchise would go from being worth about $1 billion to almost nothing. It would basically be a name of a retro clothing and memorabilia company. There goes 1/2 of Jerry Jones net worth. Then add in the $1 billion debt he has in the staduim. He wouldnt be able to pay that loan for very long after his main draw and 1/2 his worth is gone. He would eventually have to declare bankruptcy to save what he had left. Now he wouldnt be in the poor house but after losing his team and paying off the bankruptcy his net worth would probably go from north of $2billion to a tenth of that.

    So dont tell me the owners are the market. They are basically shareholders. If the true market (aka the fans) decided to move are invest from the NFL to the NFA(new league) there stock would go from 1,000 per share to nothing.

    And if it happened no one could say they didnt deserve it.

  74. macjacmccoy says: May 18, 2011 3:45 AM

    stevedco says:
    May 17, 2011 7:08 PM
    Anyone who thinks the owners needs the players more than the players need the owners is delusional.

    The owners could bring in scabs tomorrow, pay a signing bonus to any non-NFL proplayers who came over and start the season.

    The players could join the ufl 2morrow and the NFL and Owners would be broke. The UFL would become rich through fan and advertising $. Which would translate to big bucks for the players.

  75. eaglesfan290 says: May 18, 2011 9:05 AM

    macjacmccoy says:

    The players could join the ufl 2morrow and the NFL and Owners would be broke. The UFL would become rich through fan and advertising $. Which would translate to big bucks for the players.

    Thats just simply not the case the average player plays 3.5 years. If the owners used scabs and allowed any player who wanted to come back half of them would be playing week one! It’s not like the players can legally strike they decertified. Any player who wanted to play in the UFL ….hey have at it in less than 2 years we would be right back to the same product! The fact is all of them would prefer to play under the NFL brand and not the UFL.

  76. stevecmh says: May 18, 2011 10:11 AM

    To those who accused me of ‘bs’ regarding the Forbes survey results, look it up yourself before you suggest that my comment is not honest.

    To see for yourself, just type Forbes NFL Fan Survey in your search engine and click on the link that takes you to the Forbes’ website.

    Apparently this site has an issue with including URLs in posted comments. I have done so twice, and both times the comment was deleted by the site administrator.

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