Amid reports of resistance from some owners to the path on which the current labor negotiations is heading, there’s a school of thought that the root of the potential rancor is revenue sharing.
It’s an issue that comes up only within the confines of collective bargaining. Five years ago, at the behest of deceased NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw (pictured), the NFL crafted a system for sharing unshared revenues in conjunction with the conversion of the player-pay formula from one based on partial football revenues to one based on all football revenues. This time around, the players haven’t pushed for any specific commitments, even though Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth wisely has observed that the owners hope to solve their differences in that regard by taking back as much money from the players as possible.
It’s possible that the players haven’t pushed the issue because they know that it would make it harder to strike a deal. Still, if the NFL plans (as it should) to abandon its plan to squeeze the players into taking the kind of a deal that would make revenue sharing irrelevant, a long-term solution to revenue sharing will be needed. Without one, it could be just as hard to do a labor deal.
So why not address revenue sharing now? We’ve got a feeling that fixing that one issue would make it a lot easier to address any of the challenges still lingering between the NFL and the players.
Sure, it may be easier said than done. But we’ll never know if the owners don’t try.