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Reports: De Smith attended not-so-secret meeting with owners

DeMaurice Smith AP

Initial reports of the clandestine Chicago-area meeting involving multiple owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell omitted reference to one key attendee.

Per multiple reports (including one from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN and one from Albert Breer of NFL Network), NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith was present, too.  Other NFLPA* officials also were there.

Per Schefter and Mortensen, the two sides met into the evening in an effort to bridge some of their various and sharp differences.  The meeting was so secretive that some owners didn’t even know it was happening.

Though a potential agreement continues to be a long way away, there’s some hope that the foundation could be in place for a deal to be reached later this month.

The key, in our view, will be for the two sides to use the uncertainty hovering over the Eighth Circuit’s consideration of whether the lockout will be lifted as motivation to control their destiny.  Helping that effort could be questions or statements from one of the two judges believed to be leaning toward allowing the lockout to remain in place indicating that one or both of them quite possibly could go the other way.

UPDATE:  It’ll also be interesting to know whether the talks occurred without the lawyers present.  If so, there could be cause for real optimism, given the belief that the lawyers have been dragging down the process and/or providing affirmative obstacles to making a deal.

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49 Responses to “Reports: De Smith attended not-so-secret meeting with owners”
  1. clintonportisheadd says: Jun 2, 2011 9:17 AM

    Here we go—

    Cue the “DeMoron Smith” idiot posters. In 3…2….1

  2. kcfanatic says: Jun 2, 2011 9:19 AM

    There is no point in continuing to meet. The owners have presented at least two offers. Until they get a counter offer from NFLPA*, their is no real point in negotiating further. They need to state exactly what they are asking for from the owners. The problem is that they know it will be leaked and they are worried when everyone sees what they are asking for the public will turn on them.

  3. nj22 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:22 AM

    Nah, I refuse to get my hopes up again. Nothing will come of this.

    The (Cue the “DeMoron Smith” idiot posters. In 3…2….1) post actually does sound like something that would come from the empty head of Clinton Portis! Well done. I get it.

  4. kcfanatic says: Jun 2, 2011 9:23 AM

    De Smith reminds me of a homeowners that is selling his house. He gets an offer or two and is so offended by the offer (even if its not half bad) that he refuses to counter offer.

    De, no one is buying your house if you don’t counter the offer.

  5. duanethomas says: Jun 2, 2011 9:24 AM

    All the players knew about this meeting and DeMaurice is the one who called it. He wanted decision makers there and for the owners to finally get serious. He told them if they dont get ready for chaos if a deal is not done. Jerry Jones left scared and had to have Jerry Richardson fly home with him. Roger Goodell is now pushing all owners to make a deal or feel the wrath of The Hat!

    *parts of the above story were embellished or made up*

  6. johnsticle says: Jun 2, 2011 9:27 AM

    …call me when these overpaid cry babies (owners AND players) actually make something happen…

  7. jw731 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:31 AM

    Jake and Elwood were present also….On a Mission from God…

  8. geniusesq says: Jun 2, 2011 9:32 AM

    kcfanatic – I think the players are simply asking for things to stay the same. The owners opted out to restructure the CBA.

    They’ve agreed on the non-economic issues, like safety etc. They’re stuck on money. As usual.

    The players just want to see why they should take less. Why is that is so unreasonable?

  9. blackheld says: Jun 2, 2011 9:32 AM

    I’ve been one of those people who has been critical of DeMaurice Smith. I don’t think my criticism has been totally unjustified, to this point. I see players being quoted as saying they don’t know what’s going on. I see Smith making colorful, totally inaccurate quotes (see “worst offer in history”, etc), and lastly, I see no evidence Smith is prepared to negotiate in good faith.

    If indeed Smith is actually working behind the scenes to do a deal, I’m prepared to eat crow, however. I don’t much like ANYONE who uses lawyers and the court system to replace even-handed negotiation, but I’ll admit that Smith got it done…if he DOES get it done.

    I still believe, lacking further evidence, however, that Smith and the owners were simply trying out a rib joint recommended by Goodall, near DePage.

    :shrug: Call me cynical.

  10. virger says: Jun 2, 2011 9:32 AM

    well said kc fanatic.

    somebody, just please do something. don’t care which side at this point. this is ridiculous.

  11. dequan81 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:34 AM

    Here we go, cue the idiot clintonportisheadd unnecessary totally biased comments.

    It’s good that De and the NFL owners met. Hopefully they were successful is what they set out to accomplish, and that is getting closer to getting this CBA done and football started SOON.

  12. vickadelphiaphreedom says: Jun 2, 2011 9:37 AM

    Thank god KCfanatic is so plugged into the situation….I was beginning to fear NO ONE knew what the strategy REALLY was.

  13. eagiants says: Jun 2, 2011 9:37 AM

    I wonder why they continue to meet even though the players are so bent on waiting for the courts and leverage to negotiate? Maybe all of those players who want us back at the negotiating table are being heard?

    More likely, its just a show, but either way…its better than nothing right?

    And P.S…I still think De Smith is an idiot.

  14. splitbackveer says: Jun 2, 2011 9:40 AM

    Weird to see those guys act like profesionals, maybe next we see some grown up dialog and progress.

  15. bobwhitequail says: Jun 2, 2011 9:40 AM

    This is the first real sign to date that something positive might happen. I say this because the meeting was not publicized, all key people were there, and there has been zero acnowledgement about the meeting after from either side.

    However De Smith and Kessler must change their “sue only, don’t negotiate” stance for anything positive to happen. No matter how many offers are made or meetings are held, if all they want to do is sue the only way it can be resolved is when all their suits are exhausted (in the year 2035 maybe ha ha).

    The problem is Kessler and friends are getting rich by suing. If they negotiated a deal, Kessler’s millions that he is raking in would stop.

  16. richsaint says: Jun 2, 2011 9:41 AM

    Clintonportishead,
    I agree the Demoron Smith people should probably just stop, but at the same time there are people who think they are clever with Jerry Jones and Roger Goodells name as well (Jer-rah for example).
    Name calling, making fun of the principle may be cute and funny the first time, around the 1,000 time someone uses it it is no longer funny.
    That being said De should probably present a counter offer, assuming that they haven’t to this point and we just dont know about it.

  17. raythestabber says: Jun 2, 2011 9:43 AM

    Didn’t I see a video of DeSmith dancing on a counter in burger king and destroying a restaurant in Panama City?

  18. marjones45 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:49 AM

    This is and was always headed down it’s current path. Whomever wins the decision on the stay will have enough leverage to force the other to bargain. It is as simple as that. The court decision on tv money won’t be helpful. If the lockout is lifted the players win. If the lockout is kept in place the owners win. The owners have more cash and can wait the players out. On our about June 12, we should know how this ends. This is, was and always will be about money. Nothing else.

  19. CKL says: Jun 2, 2011 9:50 AM

    I will choose to look at this as a good thing. Get it done, men!

  20. moochzilla says: Jun 2, 2011 9:51 AM

    I look at kcfanatic’s comments about the house, and now I know why most businesses go into bankruptcy in short order.

    Americans don’t understand economics or business.

    They think they do, they don’t.

  21. sterling7 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:52 AM

    The fact that this is (was) a “secret” meeting tells me that DeMaurice is starting to feel pressure from the players for a settlement.

  22. richsaint says: Jun 2, 2011 9:52 AM

    duanethomas,
    That entire thing sounds made up, not just portions. There is no way Demaurice would call this meeting before fridays court date.
    I really hope that they both take this time frame after friday to really come to the table and come together and not engage in another major league II bargaining session ( Roger Dorn is negotiating to buy the club and is told it will cost him an amount, he says a number lower and the owner then raises her price, he says a number slightly higher, then she raises it again) this being the reported tactic of the players recently having come down to a salary cap of $150 million and as of last report, raising back up to a $159 million.

  23. orbearider66 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:54 AM

    @geniusesq … if I understand it right, the players wouldn’t be making less money (quite the contrary), they’d just be getting a lower percentage of total revenue. Personally, I think the players have been unreasonable in demanding more of the revenue rather than some sort of profit sharing system.

    I suggest they agree on a truly independent auditor to review the books of every team and then base revenue sharing on profitability … the more the league makes the more the players get. That seems far more fair than giving the players their share off the top.

  24. marjones45 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:55 AM

    kcfanatic says:
    Jun 2, 2011 9:23 AM
    De Smith reminds me of a homeowners that is selling his house. He gets an offer or two and is so offended by the offer (even if its not half bad) that he refuses to counter offer.

    De, no one is buying your house if you don’t counter the offer.
    ____________________________________

    Your assessment is sound, if you NEED to sell the house. The players don’t NEED to sell… just yet.

    And by the way, if the offer is insulting low, it is his right to just walk away. There is nothing that mandates a counter offer. Why bother negotiating with someone who is just trying to steal it.

  25. bearskoolaid1985 says: Jun 2, 2011 9:59 AM

    I am holding my opinion on this secret meeting untill I see some more negotiations in the coming DAY’s and I mean DAY’s.

  26. rpiotr01 says: Jun 2, 2011 10:00 AM

    I give them credit for getting together. Lord knows I’m a harsh critic of Smith, but all kidding aside it’s good to see real effort by the business men involved on the owner side – not their lawyers – to hopefully get the fundamental point across to De Smith that the 50-50 split is not going to work going forward. Once he accepts that, then making a deal that allows player salaries to continue to explode (while allowing owner profit to explode more) will be easy.

  27. bobwhitequail says: Jun 2, 2011 10:00 AM

    I think the secret meeting was about the NFL essentially saying, “before the june 3 ruling, we are giving you a last chance to make a deal in the 11th hour, we’re serious about it and have everyone here and we want to get it done today”. That’s 100% specualtion on my part, just a guess as to what it was about but it’s consistent with everything that has gone on before.

  28. citnetter says: Jun 2, 2011 10:00 AM

    “The key, in our view, will be for the two sides to use the uncertainty hovering over the Eighth Circuit’s consideration of whether the lockout will be lifted as motivation to control their destiny.

    The key, in my view, is for these idiots to stop worrying about what’s going on in the courts and sit down like grown men and negotiate a deal that works for both sides. How hard can this freaking be?

  29. richsaint says: Jun 2, 2011 10:03 AM

    Geniusesq,
    I do understand the players wanting it to stay the same, at the same time for many teams the terms of the previous CBA were unreasonable.
    Everyone wants to point out the $9b pie and say come on the owners cant live off $4.5b?!!??!
    BUT what they are not taking into account is that not all owners get a equal share of the revenue. Yes there is revenue sharing but its not like every gate is taken, divided by 32 and then sent out, they share things like tv revenue and licensing but majority of team apparel, tickets etc goes to the original team (s) involved.
    So lets take a team like my The colts, the colts I am sure make good money, because they are a great team with a marketable QB, but they are in Indianapolis not New York, or Dallas or SF. There fore they have a smaller market. Do you think they make as much in revenue as say The Giants? Cowboys? Eagles? Probably not, but they are obligated to pay reallllly close to that $150m number that has been floated around (for that matter the colts often pay above cap due to bonus’s etc that arent included so they can field a winning team but I digress) So Imagine a team like Buffalo, detroit, kansas city, cincinnati which are even smaller markets and whose team has not had nearly as much success the last decade.
    I am not an advocate saying that the players should be able to be paid minimum wage as it seems some are on here. BUT, for the long term health of a business every so often they have to be able to cutback on expenses and in the case of the NFL and almost every other business Labor is the lions share of your expenses. So if they can cut 10% from their labor costs and basically 10% from their bottom line it will be able to help teams like this stay profitable.
    A good long term labor deal where the players make some form of concession on money and the owners work out some health issues for the players is how this league stays on top and how it does NOT become the NBA in 5-10 years time with 22 thats TWENTY TWO teams losing money and $300m in losses this year alone.

  30. chapnastier says: Jun 2, 2011 10:03 AM

    geniusesq says: Jun 2, 2011 9:32 AM

    The players just want to see why they should take less. Why is that is so unreasonable?
    —————————————————–

    In the original offer made by the owners they offered 5 years of third party audited financial information. The owners did their part.

  31. gregjennings85 says: Jun 2, 2011 10:04 AM

    A deal will be finalized very soon. This, to me, screams of “Enough is enough – it is time to meet in the middle.”

    Within 2 weeks, the standoff will be over.

    Mark it down.

  32. jo3jo says: Jun 2, 2011 10:09 AM

    They worked it all out, and everyone’s happy. There will now be 40 games per season, and 8 preseason games. Rosters will be expanded to 100. Owners will be able to place franchise tags on a dozen players. The worst player in the league will earn guaranteed money of at least $1 more than ARod. Penalties for hitting a QB with your helmet will now be $860k, payable in cash immediately after the offense. If you get a concussion, you now sit out for 5 games, and your brain gets donated to science when you are done with it. Rookies will receive minimum wage plus performance based pay, and will negotiate their contracts in year 2. The NFL will start every retiring player out with finance for a small sports bar or restaurant if he cannot land a broadcasting gig. If you get caught twittering, you are banned from football for life. However bull riding and snake wrangling are not discouraged. See, wasn’t that easy?

  33. endzonezombie says: Jun 2, 2011 10:16 AM

    This meeting would have been secret but for the media blabbing about it. The lawyers and the media have kept this deal from getting done awhile ago.

  34. sippindasyzurp says: Jun 2, 2011 10:23 AM

    Apparently the owners were getting on there own private jets after….. That tells me enough that I need to know about who will end up coming out ahead at the end of this conundrum…..

  35. jerrydesaulniers says: Jun 2, 2011 10:33 AM

    De Smith needs to become an out of work Lawyer!

  36. nj22 says: Jun 2, 2011 10:41 AM

    GregJennings, First off you should have been rated higher in the NFL player poll! 2ndly I wish I shared your optimism but neither side has done anything so far to allow that. Hope you’re right. My money is on missing games, unfortunately.

  37. moochzilla says: Jun 2, 2011 10:42 AM

    “Yes there is revenue sharing but its not like every gate is taken, divided by 32 and then sent out, they share things like tv revenue and licensing but majority of team apparel, tickets etc goes to the original team (s) involved.”

    Ticket revenue is meaningless, the only thing that matters is the TV money. That’s it. Everything else is window dressing.

    And my understanding is that seats were shared, suites were not – hence the new stadiums and the constant Al Davis complaining.

  38. Deb says: Jun 2, 2011 10:46 AM

    @virger …

    No, it wasn’t well said. The players presented a proposal months ago and the owners rejected it outright with no counter … just as the players have rejected this proposal. The players are not the ones demanding a change in the current status so they are not required to counter anything. They can simply stand pat. The owners know the areas of contention in their last proposal that need work. They can work on them and present a revised proposal.

    Negotiating doesn’t follow a set pattern of “I propose and you counter.” It’s not “Sponge Bob Goes to the Negotiating Table” like so many of you seem to think.

  39. dryzzt23 says: Jun 2, 2011 11:02 AM

    Adam Goldberg said on Sirius NFL radio last weekend that the NFLPA planned, many months ago, to de-certify 8 hours prior to the CBA expiration.

    I am shocked that no media outlet has picked up on this. All they talk about is how “the owners locked us out blah blah blah” and “all we want to do is play football”

    I would hope that the sham de-certification tactic is made illegal in the next CBA b/c there is no legal recourse for the owners to compel the players to do anything. Plus we all know that the union will re-form, which makes it even more ridiculous.

  40. eaglesfan290 says: Jun 2, 2011 11:07 AM

    Any meeting between both sides is just one meeting closer to getting a deal done!

  41. bearskoolaid1985 says: Jun 2, 2011 11:15 AM

    @virger …

    Yes the players did submit a proposal months ago but by my count the owners counter proposal was on March 11th. and they submitted a second proposal in May.

    By my count the players are behind by a count of 2 counter proposals.

    Shame on the players for not putting out a counter offer. They are the ones to blame for this legal crap.

  42. jo3jo says: Jun 2, 2011 11:16 AM

    @Deb
    “Negotiating doesn’t follow a set pattern of ‘I propose and you counter’”.

    Sure it does. I’ve been party to hundreds of negotiations and that is exactly what happens. I start high, you start low and we come to some number in between. This has been how deals were worked out since the dawn of commerce. In one era folks haggled over a prize goat, now they are haggling over a percentage of revenue, but the basic principal hasn’t changed. The only way to move a negotiation forward is to counter an offer you don’t like with one you do, so both sides have a frame of reference in which to work. If you expect one side to keep coming up with a proposal, it’s like bidding against yourself in an auction — it will never be fruitful and so you usually just give up and walk away. The players absolutely are “demanding a change in the current status”. They disbanded their union, and then filed a lawsuit to totally eradicate the current status and effectively disallow the NFL from operating as a single organization, with implications on the draft, free agency, trades and the like. It is unrealistic to expect the owners to just keep coming back to them with offers until they say yes. “Getting to yes” DEMANDS steps from both sides. The owners made two already. We are waiting for the players to come back with one of their own.

  43. dcbronco says: Jun 2, 2011 11:29 AM

    KCFanatic,

    The players have had an offer on the table for over two years. It’s leave the CBA as it is. Or prove that you are really having financial problems and we will offer concessions. This could have been settled two years ago before the owners opted out of the CBA.

  44. nfl fan says: Jun 2, 2011 11:29 AM

    kcfanatic says:
    Jun 2, 2011 9:23 AM
    De Smith reminds me of a homeowners that is selling his house. He gets an offer or two and is so offended by the offer (even if its not half bad) that he refuses to counter offer.

    De, no one is buying your house if you don’t counter the offer.
    ____________________________________

    Your assessment is sound, if you NEED to sell the house. The players don’t NEED to sell… just yet.

    And by the way, if the offer is insulting low, it is his right to just walk away. There is nothing that mandates a counter offer. Why bother negotiating with someone who is just trying to steal it.

    …Because it’s called negotiating. The art of coming to a compromise by two sides…provided you actually want to sell.

  45. geniusesq says: Jun 2, 2011 12:12 PM

    Kcfanatic – If a person signed a contract to purchase your house for $1 million dollars in 2009. But, in 2011 they said they “fell on hard times,” and and could only pay you $750,000.

    Would you take their word for it and sell it for $750. Or would you ask them to prove they can’t honor the deal, or at least request an objective, third party appraisal?

    If you’d just take their word for it and take a loss, something is wrong here.

  46. marjones45 says: Jun 2, 2011 12:16 PM

    …Because it’s called negotiating. The art of coming to a compromise by two sides…provided you actually NEED to sell.
    ___________________________________
    Fixed. There is a huge difference between need to and want to.

    Do not get caught making this personal. The players have absolutely no incentive to “fix” this. In their opinion, it is not broken. On or about June 12, the court will narrow the gap between NEED to and WANT to for one side or the other. To put it another way, the court will not decide the case on it’s merits, they will simply decide whether or not to lift the lockout. In doing so, the court will decide and affix “incentive”.

  47. Deb says: Jun 2, 2011 12:47 PM

    @bearskoolaid1985 and jo3jo …

    Yeah, yeah … I’m a contractor so I negotiate contracts all the time, too. And sometimes the counter is no. The players presented a proposal and the owners countered with no. The owners presented a proposal and the players countered with no.

    The bottom line is that the owners are the ones demanding change to the current status, so it’s the owners who have an obligation to come up with a package that serves the needs of both parties. The players are well within their rights to keep saying, “No, we like things as they are.” They haven’t done that, by the way. They’ve made just as many concessions as the owners. And the players cannot propose anything right now without putting their position in the decertification case at risk. The owners had months in which they failed to negotiate in good faith while they pushed this thing toward the lockout they planned for two years. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for …

  48. flik44 says: Jun 2, 2011 2:14 PM

    @ Deb

    last I checked, there is no “current status” – that deal expired. The owners decided it was not a good deal, so why the hell should they renew it?

    It’s not just a one way street where salaries and revenues just go up or stay the same… they can come down, too.

  49. Deb says: Jun 2, 2011 4:10 PM

    @flik44 …

    No, the deal didn’t expire, the owners used the opt-out clause to opt out of it two years before it expired. And yes, revenues go up and down … except the NFL’s revenues under the deal they’ve opted out of have been the highest in their history. So there’s no logical reason for them to opt out and demand a higher cut of the revenues … except that they want the players’ cut to be smaller as revenues continue to rise.

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