Skip to content

Fujita explains why it’s hard to trust owners

Cleveland Browns v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

We’ve had a lot of great spots on PFT Live from players during the lockout.

Wednesday’s talk with Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was one of my favorites, and not only because Florio somehow avoided litigation talk for half of it.

Fujita does a great job of honestly explaining the viewpoint of the players, while recognizing a deal needs to be fair for both sides.  He was asked about the increase in acrimony between the players and owners of late.  It was the one part of the interview where Fujita’s passion really came through.

“The reality is this has been a well-calculated, pre-meditated plan to lock the players out . . . Basically they’ve got everybody by the balls, and that’s unfortunate,” Fujita said. “It becomes really hard to trust anything. It’s unfortunate.  And that’s too bad because I believe both sides have contributed to make this game what it is.  And that trust has been broken.”

We recommend watching the whole segment, including when Fujita defends Cal’s honor, at the PFT Live homepage.  You can also download the show  at iTunes.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Permalink 39 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Home, Rumor Mill, Sprint Football Live - Rumors
39 Responses to “Fujita explains why it’s hard to trust owners”
  1. ralphshere says: May 25, 2011 5:03 PM

    Maybe the posture of Jerry Jones, or Richardson are shared by many owners.

    They did pile up $4Billion in a possibly illegal lockout fund. They must have been planning on that vs negotiation.

  2. carlgerbschmidt says: May 25, 2011 5:07 PM

    I was thinking if the lockout lasts until Rapture happens in October, we’ll be CHAMPIONS FOREVER!!!

  3. carlgerbschmidt says: May 25, 2011 5:08 PM

    Plus, we got the added bonus of no bears fans in heaven….

  4. mjbudenz says: May 25, 2011 5:12 PM

    The reality is the decision to get up from the barganing table and immediately decertify was also a well-calculated, pre-meditated plan. The decision to decertify was put in place during the season when De Smith was gather enough votes to do so. So all of the coniving and plannign goes both ways. As of now, it’s on the players now to respond to the NFL’s proposal. Until they do, they need to quit complaining about being locked out when they can being doing something about it by responding to the proposal.

  5. possiblecabbage says: May 25, 2011 5:17 PM

    I don’t agree with the notion that the owners schemed and calculated to lock the players out. The owners playbook was simple: negotiate to try to get the deal you want, and if you don’t get it lock the players out until the pressure you bring to bear on them makes them willing to accept the deal you want.

    It’s the same playbook in the case of a strike: negotiate to try to get the deal you want, and if you don’t then go on strike until the pressure you bring to bear on them makes them willing to accept the deal you want.

    Lockouts and strikes are both legitimate practices in labor disputes. I don’t honestly see where the distrust and acrimony comes into it.

  6. ruckinfidiculous says: May 25, 2011 5:18 PM

    If anything looks premeditated, it was the litigation by the players, by the fact that they have yet to produce a counter offer to any deal the owners have offered.

    If the owners had locked the players out after receiving a counter offer from the players, then I could see where Fujita was coming from.

  7. benh999 says: May 25, 2011 5:39 PM

    What about a “well-calculated, pre-meditated plan to” decertify and seek a better deal through litigation or legislation than they could get through direct negotiation?

  8. mick730 says: May 25, 2011 5:49 PM

    The players bragged non stop since 2006 that they “really beat up the owners on the last CBA” and therefore, as per the mutually agreed to CBA, the owners, in 2009, gave legAL notice to the players that they were opting out of the CBA. The players then elected Smith and began preparing for litigation and the owners began preparing to counter that litigation.

    The owners do not require the trust of their temporary employees like Fujita. If Fujita feels that being able to trust his employer is paramount, he needs to get another job, or he could act like an adult, realize this is a business, and stop acting like a scorned little girl.

    The CBA needs to work for both parties, including the permanent entity, the owners, who by the way, pay the bills, and not just the come and go players, who without exception, are totally replaceable.

  9. rad312 says: May 25, 2011 6:15 PM

    So Scott now that that we have your opinion on premeditated lockout would you care to discuss
    1)the Union’s premeditated decision to decertification;
    2) the Union’s orchestrated walkout from the negotiations
    3) the Union’s preference to litigate over negotiate;
    4) and the Union’s non-response to all proposals provided by the owners

    Well Scott…..

  10. granadafan says: May 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    That’s a very well thought out explanation from one of the game’s great ambassadors. Well said, Scott Fujita.

  11. jimphin says: May 25, 2011 6:47 PM

    Did the de-certification just happen or was it a well calculated premeditated plan? Was the Brady lawsuit a blip of last second genious…or was it a part of the well calculated premeditated plan?

    How does taking someone to court promote trust?

    Should the NFL continue to negotiate against themselves or will the Un-Union actually come up with an acceptable counter-off?

    Why did the Un-Union spit at the financial data that was offered? What would hurt so bad to actually look at it?

    What is Fujita’s passionate well calculated plan to get an acceptable CBA?

  12. ralphshere says: May 25, 2011 6:58 PM

    That the owners amassed a lockout warchest might just give cause for alarm to players.

    A= the money was supposed to be split.

    B= the intent to lockout doen’t build trust.

  13. bushdoctor504 says: May 25, 2011 7:12 PM

    Fujita just perfectly summarized the entire situation… Roger Goodell and the owners are full of sh*t…

  14. bushdoctor504 says: May 25, 2011 7:21 PM

    “The CBA needs to work for both parties, including the permanent entity, the owners, who by the way, pay the bills, and not just the come and go players, who without exception, are totally replaceable.”

    get a clue!

    The players are replaceable?

    Tell that to Jim Brown and Deacon Jones!

    The game is built on the shoulders of giants, and those legends are NOT replaceable…

    Go watch Paul Brown vs. Al Davis every sunday and maybe you’ll check your tone

  15. deadeye says: May 25, 2011 7:23 PM

    Fujita is a moronic a-hole. Contracts are signed by people who don’t trust each other, hence they can get help from the justice system when there’s a breach of contract. Having owners, unions, teams, and players sign contracts means that business really can’t be run on a trusting handshake. This isn’t news, and if he’s serious it shows how dumb he really is.

  16. grandsonofcoach says: May 25, 2011 7:23 PM

    I still struggle with player arguments like this. Yes I think the owners did everything they could to prepare for a lockout…including unfairly stashing money. But in the end the league made an offer and said let’s keep negotiating. Instead the NFLPA said we’d prefer to decertify and go the legal route, which they knew would prompt a lockout. If the players had just counter offered maybe it would have created some back and forth, resulting in an eventual deal vs. this stalemate we are in right now.

  17. bushdoctor504 says: May 25, 2011 7:48 PM

    I’ve never met a pro-owner clown in person…

    where do you trolls come from?

  18. billsfan1 says: May 25, 2011 8:03 PM

    Didn’t the players decertify before the lockout? And wasn’t it hthe players who left the bargaining table? And wasn’t it the old head of the union who told them they got an amazing deal and to not expect that this time? If I know this how come fujita doesn’t seem to know……r the owners to blame as well? Of course…. but its a shame the players feel like they are doing no wrong

  19. bebopa says: May 25, 2011 8:35 PM

    They better get this done before us NFL fans find something else to do on Sundays

  20. commandercornpone says: May 25, 2011 9:02 PM

    by the sham decert, then failing to negotiate or counter offer, your union* leadership handed your balls over, fujita.

    talk to duh.

  21. rubbernilly says: May 25, 2011 9:02 PM

    In answer to those who compare the owner’s decision to lock the players out with the union’s decertification, let us remember that though both sides prepared (the owners with their lockout warchest and the union with their votes asking the players if the union should decertify), only one of those preparations was contrary to the CBA.

    Let’s be clear: both sides prepared for a lockout. But it isn’t the preparation that colors what the owners did, or what the union did. It was the violation of the CBA (and, more pointedly, of the trust) that gives a sinister color to the preparatory steps the owners took.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the owners opted out of the old CBA, claiming financial hardship. It is incumbent on them to demonstrate that hardship. In fact, in light of the way that they broke trust (by fashioning themselves a lockout warchest rather than negotiating the best deal they could have gotten for the players, too), I would stand even more firmly behind that statement. The owners need to provide numbers that quantify their hardship.

    Until they do, I’ll stand behind the players in this.

  22. GG Eden says: May 25, 2011 9:07 PM

    Scott Fujita is one of my new favorite players after this interview. He nailed so many questions with great answers. I dont think anyone else could’ve answered better.

    Not just lockout stuff, but the new rules, etc etc.

  23. vmannj says: May 25, 2011 9:16 PM

    If playing a game for, at minimum, 1/2 a million $$ a year, means someone has you by the balls, then, by all means, sign me up and squeeze away.

  24. prior0knowledge says: May 25, 2011 9:17 PM

    Lockout … Litigation … Posturing … Acrimony … Pointing fingers

    Everything is fair. I understand both sides are using whatever resources they have available to get the best deal.

    All’s fair in love and war … and labor disputes

  25. vmannj says: May 25, 2011 9:24 PM

    Hey Scott, all’s fair in love and war. You are, after all, at war with the owners are you not? At least the former head of your decertified union thinks so.

  26. SpartaChris says: May 25, 2011 9:33 PM

    Yippee, more genius from Scott Fujita.. Find a health care plan for your family yet Scott?

    The owners were so prepared for the lockout, they *knew* Daddy Doty was going to over-rule the Special Master and tie up the lockout fund, right Scott? They also *knew* Judge Nelson was going to rule the lockout over too, right Scott?

    Scott, don’t be an idiot. The fact is your representatives got up and walked away from the bargaining table without making a counter offer. That’s chose to decertify and sue rather than make a counter offer. That, my dear slow friend, is negotiating in bad faith.

    If anyone shouldn’t be trusted, it’s Duh Smith and your union* reps.

  27. SpartaChris says: May 25, 2011 9:39 PM

    bushdoctor504 says:
    May 25, 2011 7:21 PM

    The players are replaceable?

    Tell that to Jim Brown and Deacon Jones!

    The game is built on the shoulders of giants, and those legends are NOT replaceable…

    Go watch Paul Brown vs. Al Davis every sunday and maybe you’ll check your tone
    ================================
    Question: Are ANT of the above mentioned players still, you know, playing today?

    Answer: Nope. Seems to me others stepped up to fill the holes they left quite nicely.

    They might have been legends in their day, but the fact is the game has gone on without them. Modern Day legends such as LaDanian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Dwight Freeny and Julius Peppers have filled those roles.

    And you know what? When those guys retire, a new crop of player will step up and fill those roles.

    So yes, the players *are* replaceable.

  28. rcali says: May 25, 2011 10:05 PM

    What’s funny about all of this is that NFL players seem to be the last ones that think big business gives two hoots about its’ employees. Welcome to a taste of what the real world is like.

  29. jimphin says: May 25, 2011 10:11 PM

    This is where Fujita is extremely disingenuous.
    Is he pretending that the NFLPA did not create a lockout warchest in 2009? He doesn’t remember his union dues getting raised 50% for the sole purpose of preparing for a lockout?

    DeSmith raised all union dues from 10 grand to 15 thousand for such a time as this.

    The NFL’s lockout warchest is “roughly” 31 million a year per team. Of course, they do not have access to those funds because of Doty’s ruling. And Doty has clearly stated that he does NOT want to place his “thumb on the scale of the collective bargaining” process.

  30. oldbrowndawg says: May 25, 2011 10:34 PM

    Fujita should stick to playing. He’s the best LB the Browns have, but he is a tad deficient on the logic side of this current dispute. Just get back to the bargaining table and get this puppy out of the hands of the lawyers and judges.

  31. johnnyoclock says: May 25, 2011 11:00 PM

    The path the payers representation would take was telegraphed far in advance simply by looking at who their leader is. That’s enough to know it was going to go nuclear.

    The players’ representation struck first with decertification.

    The owner’s saw this coming a mile away and prepared.

    But it’s easier in life to consider yourself a persecuted saint, than it is to be honest and real with yourself.

  32. voicefreason says: May 25, 2011 11:01 PM

    You don’t have to trust your owners, your boss, your supervisor, etc. Just shut up and do the job you are paid handsomely to do. What is all this touchy, feely crap you whiner? You are a fricken employee. Good grief.

  33. bushdoctor504 says: May 26, 2011 1:15 AM

    “They might have been legends in their day, but the fact is the game has gone on without them. Modern Day legends such as LaDanian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Dwight Freeny and Julius Peppers have filled those roles.

    And you know what? When those guys retire, a new crop of player will step up and fill those roles.

    So yes, the players *are* replaceable.”

    _____________

    The game wouldn’t be the same today without major contributions from the legends of the game…

    Without contributions from players like Jim Brown, the league sucks! Ladanian Tomlinson will never replace Jim Brown! Legends are NOT replaceable!!!

    Of course the game goes on without them… They can’ t play forever!

    If anything, the fu*king owners are replaceable… put Mark Cuban in place of Robert Kraft… No fu*king difference! Put Maurice Clarrett in place of Adrian Peterson, Big Difference!!!

  34. melonnhead says: May 26, 2011 7:43 AM

    The players are replaceable?

    Tell that to Jim Brown and Deacon Jones!

    ——————————————————

    They did. They were replaced.

  35. CKL says: May 26, 2011 11:37 AM

    bushdoctor504 says:
    May 26, 2011 1:15 AM

    The game wouldn’t be the same today without major contributions from the legends of the game…

    Without contributions from players like Jim Brown, the league sucks! Ladanian Tomlinson will never replace Jim Brown! Legends are NOT replaceable!!!

    Of course the game goes on without them… They can’ t play forever!

    If anything, the fu*king owners are replaceable… put Mark Cuban in place of Robert Kraft… No fu*king difference! Put Maurice Clarrett in place of Adrian Peterson, Big Difference!!!
    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
    If Robert Kraft hadn’t bought the Pats we would have the St Louis Patriots. I doubt any one player could keep a franchise from being taken from its fans.

    No one can deny there are legends of the game we respect and admire who were great stars and whose legacies will remain important. None of us would love football if we said we didn’t have some players we loved to watch as individual talents. But if it wasn’t for the Lamar Hunts of the world mortgaging themselves to participate in the “Foolish Club” for example, those players wouldn’t have had a chance to BE legends. Heck even great coaches contributed more to the game itself. Or did a player on the Bengals come up with the West Coast offense rather than Paul Brown’s doing so?

    Sure there are nefarious characters and “undeserving” people who own teams who inherited the team and don’t know bubkes, just as there are nefarious characters who play the game…but only one set of those people are the reason we have the game the way it is today.

    There are issues I will pound the table for the players and some for the owners, and it is never about their individual personalities or what I feel they as a group have currently done to make or harm their legacies.

  36. prior0knowledge says: May 26, 2011 1:07 PM

    Can’t be replaced????

    Simple question: When legend Joe Montana left San Francisco to play for Kansas City, how many SF fans switched to root for KC?

    None. Fans root for their team. The owners own the team. The only reason they root for players is when those players are playing for their team.

  37. rubbernilly says: May 26, 2011 1:21 PM

    jimphin says:

    This is where Fujita is extremely disingenuous.
    Is he pretending that the NFLPA did not create a lockout warchest in 2009? He doesn’t remember his union dues getting raised 50% for the sole purpose of preparing for a lockout?

    DeSmith raised all union dues from 10 grand to 15 thousand for such a time as this.
    _________________________________________________________

    No… why would Fujita need to pretend otherwise?

    I’ll take you at your word (as I don’t have time to look it up to confirm) that the union raised its dues. Fine. Is that analogous to the owners’ creation of a warchest? Not at all. The owners had the responsibility to negotiate the most profitable contract for the league. By their decision to create this warchest, they abrogated that responsibility, and broke trust with the players and the CBA.

    Does the union raising their dues involve a third party contract? Or an abrogation of CBA defined responsibilities? Not at all.

    So what would be the proper analog when comparing the higher union dues to something the owners can (or did) do? If the owners had taken money from their pocket (money they earned as profit, as their split of the revenues) and pooled it together in a fund that would make payouts against lost games, that would be analogous to what the union did.

    That’s it. And if the owners did that, no one would have an inch to complain, because the owners are doing with their own money the sort of things that they see fit to do, without violating the CBA.

    Again, both sides made preparations for the lockout. It is only the breaking of trust that colors what the owners did.

  38. bushdoctor504 says: May 26, 2011 2:59 PM

    “Simple question: When legend Joe Montana left San Francisco to play for Kansas City, how many SF fans switched to root for KC?

    None. Fans root for their team. The owners own the team. The only reason they root for players is when those players are playing for their team.”

    __________

    HAHA… yea, without Joe Montana the 49ers never win Superbowls!

    hence, they wouldn’t have as many fans!

    NOBODY pays to see the owners play!!! Period!!!

  39. bushdoctor504 says: May 26, 2011 3:10 PM

    “The only reason they root for players is when those players are playing for their team.”

    no sh!t… and without the players, you have NO team!!!

    I don’t understand why everyone supports the owners…

    It’s like rooting for Don King during a Mike Tyson fight…

    The owners do nothing for the fans besides increase ticket prices!

    If the players are so replaceable then bring in scabs… the product of the league plummets… football becomes lame

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!