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Report: Players met with antitrust lawyers on Monday

Jeffrey+Kessler+IN8qYVQbfYOm Getty Images

With the current break in the labor talks now at four days and counting, Monday’s developments include an intriguing twist, about which it’s hard to make much sense absent context.

Barry Wilner of the Associated Press reports that a small group of players met on Monday with their lawyers.  The meeting occurred in Minneapolis.

Writes Wilner:  “A person familiar with the situation says the players’ side met on its own, without owners.  The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no labor developments are being made public.”

Except, of course, for the developments that were deliberately leaked to Wilner, who covers pro football for a wire service capable of getting the word out to the broadest possible audience.

And that makes us wonder what message the players are trying to send.  Possibly, the players want the NFL to realize that they remain willing to push the litigation process, which many owners believe lawyers Jeffrey Kessler (pictured) and Jim Quinn aggressively are advocating.  Without knowing who precisely is attending, it’s hard to know what it means.

If, for example, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith isn’t present, the chances of Kessler and Quinn persuading the players to hold firm and, if necessary, miss games could increase.

Without knowing more about the specific dynamics of the talks, it’s hard to know what this news means.  But we doubt that the information accidentally was revealed to Wilner, and it’s safe to assume that the report has surfaced for a reason.  The simplest explanation would be that the players want the owners to know that the desire to get a deal doesn’t equate to giving the owners their way on the many issues unrelated to the revenue split.

As to the choice of the location — Minneapolis — Occam’s Razor would suggest that the next wave of undisclosed meetings between the league and the players will occur in that same area.  In fact, it’s possible (and, at this point, preferred) that the talks return to the federal courthouse in Minneapolis, with Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan taking control and instructing the parties that they’ll be staying in town until the deal gets done.

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78 Responses to “Report: Players met with antitrust lawyers on Monday”
  1. duanethomas says: Jun 27, 2011 1:47 PM

    That’s great news!…………Not.

  2. eagiants says: Jun 27, 2011 1:48 PM

    Nothing like threatening your business partners in the middle of negotiations to get the ball rolling.

    Ugh…when will this stupid nightmare end already?

  3. krow101 says: Jun 27, 2011 1:51 PM

    The players are trying to send management a message that ‘yes, they are stupid… and are willing to kill the golden goose’. They went on to insist that they still are prepared to be the ‘useful idiots’ of agents and lawyers. And that they are ready to scuttle their careers if Demaurice Smith thinks his weiner needs measuring.

  4. oldbrowndawg says: Jun 27, 2011 1:52 PM

    OMG! The players still don’t get it! GET THE LAWYERS OUT AND KEEP THEM OUT!!!! Otherwise, this season will be toast, as will the game of pro football because the fans are livid and just aren’t going to put up with this crap much longer. And these dudes are all college educated? So much for education in the good old US of A. Can’t they collectively spell DUH???? They really are skating on thin ice and had better wake up and smell the coffee before the fans toss up their hands and head for the exits. Lawyers! Yeah, that’s a really smart thing to do at this juncture. OMG!!!!!

  5. Kaz says: Jun 27, 2011 1:54 PM

    I don’t even care anymore. I’m beyond the miss football stage. If anything I’ve learned this offseason I can live without it.

  6. bearskoolaid1985 says: Jun 27, 2011 1:54 PM

    If the talks go south you can bet the farm that Kessler (The NFL HATING LAWER) will be behind it. Kessler is the reason we are not going to have football for a long time.
    I wish we could file a lawsuit against Kessler for the pain and suffering he is causing the fans to endure.

  7. Slim Charles says: Jun 27, 2011 1:54 PM

    Yeah, how dare the players meet with the people that represent them?? This shows a real lack of character.

  8. Kaz says: Jun 27, 2011 1:56 PM

    In the mean time, I suspect the expedited judgement on the appeal to come down sometime early 2012.

  9. jacksaysfu says: Jun 27, 2011 1:59 PM

    It looks like Im gonna have to watch Pat White QB for the Destroyers after all . Ugh , kill me now !

  10. reticarga says: Jun 27, 2011 2:05 PM

    These guys Kessler and Quinn seem to be putting their own interests first. Make more money and screw football fans the world over. I wouldn’t p#ss on them if they were on fire.

  11. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 2:07 PM

    Whoa! Put down the pot-stirrer! For all any of us knows, the players met with their antitrust lawyers to ask what needs to happen for the lawsuit to be dropped … or to buy them breakfast. We have no reason to assume this was a muscle-flexing exercise.

  12. eagiants says: Jun 27, 2011 2:08 PM

    You’ve got to hand it to the lawyers…they know how to keep a good thing going……………for them! They won’t let their golden goose, litigation, die. It brings in way too much money… for them.

    The players on the other hand seem content to be uneducated followers regardless of the outcome or duration needed to go this route.

  13. conseannery says: Jun 27, 2011 2:12 PM

    I find it hilarious when a union (whose sole purpose is to essentially collude to set wage rates) pursues antitrust litigation.

    Pot, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Kettle. You guys will get along famously.

  14. drevilstolemymojito says: Jun 27, 2011 2:15 PM

    Maybe they were firing the lawyers. We can only hope.

  15. tradeassociation says: Jun 27, 2011 2:17 PM

    For the umpteenth time, the players can negotiate and sign a labor agreement with the owners while still remaining a trade association. That is what they did in the early 90s, remember? They didn’t re-form the union until after the CBA. The only thing that having an NFLPA as opposed to an NFLTA changes is the anti-trust exemption. That is why the owners were so bent on forcing the players back into the union. It had nothing to do with the draft, salary cap, free agency, or any of the other nonsense the owners were selling about how they were supposedly defending the game. It was and is all about the anti-trust exemption.

    Well, if the owners can lock the players out and cause them serious financial and professional harm without first making a reasonable attempt to negotiate a CBA, then it isn’t in the players’ interest for the anti-trust exemption to remain in place. Right now, things are one-sided with the owners having all the leverage in all labor negotiations. The only thing that bailed the players’ out this time is that the rich owners decided that they were being tired of being held hostage by the bad owners … Jerry Jones FINALLY decided that Mike Brown’s incompetence wasn’t his problem and shouldn’t cost him money. There is no guarantee that this will happen in the future.

    Until the owners agree to language in the CBA preventing them from allowing the CBA to expire before agreeing to negotiate, language stating that the owners can’t lock the players out without a good faith attempt to negotiate first (and having a third party determine what represents this good faith attempt) then let the lawsuit continue.

  16. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 27, 2011 2:18 PM

    @ conseannery

    Like the owners don’t collude?

  17. ididntsaythat says: Jun 27, 2011 2:19 PM

    OK…who is gonna tell this Kessler idiot to crawl back under his rock? It is obvious this is his revenge against the athletes who tormented this kid in school!

  18. rpiotr01 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:19 PM

    Hopefully they’re just taking care of the check because a deal is on the way.

  19. FinFan68 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:20 PM

    There are other possibilities as well. The lawyers work FOR those players. They could have simply been meeting collectively in order to dictate what the lawyers are to do on their behalf (although that would likely require all named plaintiffs to concur). They could have been meeting to tell them that they did not want to pursue litigation further, or they could have been asking how a recertification impacts their case if it is done prior to an agreement. There are many possible explanations so let’s not just stick with the speculation designed for page hits.

  20. davem23 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:25 PM

    In assessing the ‘Players’ approach to negotiations, it is apparent that concussions are a much more serious issue then we may have thought before.

  21. tumsman2 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:25 PM

    Who do the players think they are? I can’t go tell my employer how to run his business and how much money I should make. This is nuts already!

    The Owners control everything because they are THE OWNERS. If the players don’t like the # of games played each year, if they don’t like the rules, if they don’t like the draft process, if they don’t like the color of their jersey, if they don’t like their salary or how the owners choose to play the game/practice, then go find a different job!

  22. zoxitic says: Jun 27, 2011 2:26 PM

    I heard it was just a pot luck lunch.

  23. h8dansnyder says: Jun 27, 2011 2:47 PM

    Kessler looks like the Grinch in this photo. Nice.

  24. conseannery says: Jun 27, 2011 2:47 PM

    derekjetersmansion says:
    Jun 27, 2011 2:18 PM
    @ conseannery

    Like the owners don’t collude?

    What part of my “Pot calling the kettle black” analogy did you not understand?

  25. redrew says: Jun 27, 2011 2:50 PM

    A typical game has 11 minutes of action. So a defensive starter plays 5 minutes of real game time. This translates to 80 minutes of excertion over 16 games. And these guys think they are under paid. Star hockey players play 25 minutes per game three times a week for 9 months. But those poor NFL babies, how ever do they get by.

  26. goawayeverybody says: Jun 27, 2011 2:53 PM

    All I have to say about this is UGH. If they have to cancel games this season I’m so freaking done with the NFL.

  27. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 27, 2011 2:55 PM

    @ conseannery

    Why don’t you want the players to sue?

  28. qj1984 says: Jun 27, 2011 2:56 PM

    @ Deb

    You might be right but this screams backup plan. The players are making plans to go ahead with litigation. Whether they shun negotiations and do it now, or if its just a back up plan for if negotiations fall apart, remains to be seen.

    Heck for all we know negotiations have already gone to the waste side.

    But the more practical explanation is that the players are going to try to squeeze the owners a little bit. They are trying to remind them that they can take away football for the entire season. Its a bad bluff but a bluff nonetheless.

  29. hobartbaker says: Jun 27, 2011 3:00 PM

    They met with Kessler after he barricaded himself in his office with banned weapons. To reassure him that he hadn’t been fired, that he wasn’t worthless, that no one was laughing at him behind his back, and that the message to meet them in Kalispal, Montana, last week was just an unfortunate mistake of geography and not deliberate misdirection.

  30. chazk100 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:04 PM

    tumsman2-

    you can’t dictate terms to your employer because you’re not an exceptionally rare, talented, and gifted athlete.

    you and i- and most people in most professions- are eminently replaceable. thus, we take what we can get. if you have elite irreplaceable skills at something – football, baseball, brain surgery – then you can ask for what you want.

    also, if as you suggest, the owners say “here’s the deal, take it or leave it”, what happens if Brady Brees Manning and a couple dozen other elite players decide to call it quits. You gonna tune in to watch curtis painter vs brian hoyer?

    me neither. that’s why the owners need to negotiate.

  31. chazk100 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:06 PM

    and another thing- the owners will be filthy rich no matter what happens. none of them will have their life expectancy shortened by playing football. none of them have a 2-4 year window to make money before they’re replaced (average for an nfl player).

    in this case i think the “risk” equation tilts in the players favor. the owners risk being filthy rich, or filthy filthy rich. the players risk a CHANCE of making money vs. the high chance of serious injury.

    Give em a break and give em a good deal.

  32. hobartbaker says: Jun 27, 2011 3:17 PM

    Jeff Kessler is often the first name that comes up when antitrust litigation is contemplated. Maybe it’s just the way he looks, but he seems to strike everyone as antitrust worthy.

  33. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:17 PM

    I have no idea why the owners are risking an anti-trust case. If they were to lose the case, here’s an incomplete list of what the owners would surrender:

    –The salary cap

    –The draft

    –The franchise and designation tags used to limit player movement

    –League-wide testing for all drugs, both performance enhancing and recreational

    –Revenue sharing among the big and small market teams

    –Any league-wide disciplinary plan. Roger Goodell would have zero control over the players.

    –Whatever damages a jury find them accountable for, multiplied by three.

    It’s also possible that we’d see the end of any centralized distribution of televised games. Are you ready to see the Cowboys, Steelers, Jets, etc signing their own deals for televised games and starting them at off times to keep viewers away from the other games? Don’t laugh it off- Notre Dame’s football program has been doing exactly that for 20 years, starting their games at 2:30 on NBC.

    I said it back in March and I’ll say it again- the owners are playing with fire. They’re risking everything I listed above, for no other reason that they’ve come to take it all for granted.

  34. nflfan989898 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:18 PM

    I wish the owners would have called the players bluff.

    We can’t have the same rules? OKAY THEN.

    Home team gets to decide the rules to play under. Example: In Indy, the home team gets the ball at each half, the Indy defense gets to play two hand touch, tackle when Peyton is on the field, and they get a 14 points at opening kickoff.

    Don’t like it? Well, we can’t have unified rules under your lawsuit, so we decided to make it a club, so the home team gets to set the rules!

  35. mistrezzrachael says: Jun 27, 2011 3:22 PM

    Anyone…who sides w/the players/union @ this point [ yes you DEB] is badly needing brain surgery.

    While NONE of us has seen anything other than what was shown @ owners original offer [ a strong, negociable one too]..there are too many signs..STILL…that the players are overplaying their cards here.

    If this current negociation ends…watch the players splinter..badly..and then owners will kill them….80% of players are broke now .

  36. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 27, 2011 3:25 PM

    @ chazk100

    But the product is football, not Tom Brady. Owners will still make millions because people will still watch. Hell, people watch women’s basketball because a specific network markets the hell out of it.

    /devil’s advocate’d

  37. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:27 PM

    tumsman2 says:
    Who do the players think they are? I can’t go tell my employer how to run his business and how much money I should make. This is nuts already!

    The Owners control everything because they are THE OWNERS. If the players don’t like the # of games played each year, if they don’t like the rules, if they don’t like the draft process, if they don’t like the color of their jersey, if they don’t like their salary or how the owners choose to play the game/practice, then go find a different job!

    That’s the exact basis of the anti-trust suit.

    For example, if one is an accountant, a plumber, a welder- whatever- there are countless places one can ply their trade. That’s not the case if one wants to be a football player, as there are 32 owners that act in concert to control the entire business. Without a union, that’s an anti-trust violation.

    I’m saying this in the nicest way possible- if you’re going to follow and post about the NFL’s labor dispute, you need to do a little bit of research on what federal anti-trust statutes are on the books. That way we’ll see less “they’re the owners, so they get to do whatever they want” nonsense.

  38. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 27, 2011 3:28 PM

    @ mistrezzrachael

    The players countered in March and were willing to take 50%. Turns out the number is going to be 48%. How were the players unreasonable?

  39. tradeassociation says: Jun 27, 2011 3:28 PM

    tumsman2:

    “The Owners control everything because they are THE OWNERS. If the players don’t like the # of games played each year, if they don’t like the rules, if they don’t like the draft process, if they don’t like the color of their jersey, if they don’t like their salary or how the owners choose to play the game/practice, then go find a different job!”

    I have a better idea. The owners have franchises that are worth hundreds of millions to well over a billion dollars, and thanks to things like the anti-trust exemption, revenue sharing, a captive audience, a hard salary cap, blanket media exposure, a loyal fanbase, a generally pliant NFLPA (as opposed to the more militant and better organized baseball and hockey player unions), free agency and a draft, and stadiums built and maintained at taxpayer expense, they are almost guaranteed to be competitive on the field and profitable to the tune of millions off it no matter how mediocre they are in football and business matters.

    So, if millions in guaranteed profits and ownership of a $1 billion franchise isn’t enough for them, why don’t they sell their franchises to the MANY who would be GLAD to own them? No one is forcing them to be an NFL owner. If you don’t like the business environment of the NFL, then sell the team and go take the $1 billion that you will get for it and become a mortgage/real estate broker. See how much more fun you’ll have in that line of work. Or better yet, go start a rock music label or a Hollywood studio, and that way have to deal with REAL prima donnas with FAR WORSE “off-the-field” problems. Go see if you can get one of those actors or rock stars to put up with nonsense that is anything like the mandatory offseason workouts (OTAs, minicamps etc) that NFL players do. Or go see if you can get them to agree to drug testing. Try to put in some “personal conduct policy” with actors and rock stars. Or let these NFL owners be put in a situation where their product, their movies and records, actually have to SELL in order for them to stay in business. These owners that are rolling in dough despite having won like 1 playoff game in the past 10 years would have the responsibility of coming up with four or five hit movies or 10-12 hit albums every year? Ha!

    These owners don’t know how good they have it. Or actually, they do, which is precisely why after two years of saber-rattling and posturing over how they were going to crush the union, they folded and are now on the verge of signing a CBA where each team is required to spend 90% of the salary cap, and have basically agreed to the NFLTA’s demand that they get a team in Los Angeles and do other things to maximize revenue.

  40. skoobyfl says: Jun 27, 2011 3:29 PM

    Litgators just know how to litigate, settling means they don’t get paid anymore.

  41. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:31 PM

    mistrezzrachael says:
    Anyone…who sides w/the players/union @ this point [ yes you DEB] is badly needing brain surgery.

    I’d say that about someone that characterized talks between the players and owners as “negociation”.

  42. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Jun 27, 2011 3:37 PM

    Do both sides perceive the federal courthouse in Minneapolis as a neutral site? To my knowledge, no court can coerce a settlement agreement. The next act in this legal drama is the Eighth Circuit’s ruling on the appeal, and unless the parties enter into a settlement or otherwise petition the court prior to that ruling being issued, then it should be handed down—and soon, given the expedited consideration. I think this represents the best opportunity for the NFL to get the district court’s order overturned, and establish a key legal precedent in labor law relative to injunctions. Such a ruling would not, I predict, adversely affect the timely start of the 2011 NFL regular season.

  43. lovesportsandsurfing says: Jun 27, 2011 3:39 PM

    Just as a rule, when using the word “lawyer” its always apropriate to use in same sentence the worst “antitrust”…you cant use one without the other. Expect Roger to announce right around Thanksgiving he has no choice but to scrap the entire 2011 season, then he will also resign…while most of you are watching games on sundays this year from your dvr`s, from the 2010 season, I will be on the beach getting high and surfing…take care.

  44. tradeassociation says: Jun 27, 2011 3:42 PM

    mistrezzrachael:

    I am siding with the players because the owners could have – should have – made the very same offer that all of you are claiming to be so fair and good WAY BACK IN 2009 WHEN THEY DECIDED TO OPT OUT OF THE CBA.

    I am siding with the players because DeMaurice Smith and the rest of the lawyers that everyone on here is trashing, accusing of trying to destroy the sport, spent TWO YEARS trying to get the owners to the negotiating table only to have the owners REFUSE.

    I am siding with the players because Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw negotiated to allow the owners the option of opting out of the CBA in exchange for an uncapped year that was SUPPOSED to force the owners to negotiate in order to AVOID the uncapped year by getting a deal done to prevent it. Instead, the owners opted out, exploited the lack of a salary floor in the uncapped year to spend as little money as possible, and STILL didn’t make ANY ATTEMPT to negotiate a new CBA.

    I am siding with the players because at this point there is NOTHING that keeps the owners from letting the next CBA expire and locking the players out in order to maximize their leverage AGAIN just like they did this time.

    Basically, I am siding with the players because the owners have proven themselves to be less than honest and trustworthy. The owners coined this “negotiate not litigate” strategy when they spent TWO YEARS IGNORING THE NFLPA’S PLEAS TO GET TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE TO AVOID LETTING THE CBA EXPIRE. The owners WANTED the CBA to expire first because they wanted to maximize their leverage, and have spent THIS ENTIRE LOCKOUT LYING ABOUT IT. That’s why Arlen Specter, a pro-business type if there ever was one, but also someone who loves the NFL, proposed that the NFL should lose their anti-trust exemption if they ever pull a stunt like this again.

    How many of you “brain-living” owner shills are even aware that the owners spent two years refusing to negotiate a new CBA with the players? They tried to get major concessions from the players AND LOST. So, in 2011, they put the players and fans and their own employees through this only to wind up proposing a deal within the parameters that DeMaurice Smith said the players would accept WAY BACK IN 2009.

    Look at this article from ESPN way back in 2009.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4457637

  45. tradeassociation says: Jun 27, 2011 3:45 PM

    mistrezzrachael:

    “Goodell was responding to remarks made by Smith to USA Today. In Wednesday’s editions, Smith expressed frustration that the league has yet to submit a formal proposal to the union.

    “The time was ripe two months ago,” Smith said. “We’re still waiting for the first proposal from the NFL.”

    Later Wednesday on “Mike and Mike,” Smith seemed irritated that a formal offer hasn’t been extended.

    “It’s been over 400 days since the owners opted out of this agreement. I hope that we don’t go another 10 days before we hear … an initial proposal from the league,” Smith said.”

    This was DeMaurice Smith’s complaining about the owner’s refusal to negotiate WAY BACK IN SEPTEMBER 2009. And the owners have the GALL to accuse the PLAYERS of not wanting to negotiate? And people BELIEVE THEM? Who is actually brain-dead?

    “It takes two people to negotiate,” Smith replied, according to USA Today. “I’m hoping they will respect the process and begin negotiating. I’m willing and able to meet anytime.”

  46. eslaught says: Jun 27, 2011 3:49 PM

    @Deb

    I agree, we don’t know why they are meeting. It could be to drop the lawsuit, or the players are meeting at Denny’s and buying the lawyers an All-Star Scramble in order to pay them.

    Then again Kessler could be giving them the rally call to “hold the line” and try to push forward with litigation.

    All I can say is let’s go UFL.

  47. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 27, 2011 3:53 PM

    @ tradeassociation

    Bravo! I knew it didn’t seem right when Goodell wanted to negotiate, all of a sudden.

    The part you missed is how the TV networks never give the full story because they are beholden to the owners.

  48. vikescry1 says: Jun 27, 2011 3:56 PM

    it’s gonna get worse before it gets better people… and this meeting may not be anything important, but time will tell.

  49. preludetosmack says: Jun 27, 2011 4:00 PM

    @tommyf15 says:That’s the exact basis of the anti-trust suit.

    For example, if one is an accountant, a plumber, a welder- whatever- there are countless places one can ply their trade. That’s not the case if one wants to be a football player, as there are 32 owners that act in concert to control the entire business. Without a union, that’s an anti-trust violation.

    The entire business? I wasn’t aware that the NFL owned the UFL, Arena League, and countless other (at least 10 that I am aware of) professional football leagues within the USA… not to mention the CFL.

    The NFL might have orders of magnitude more revenues, but they do not control all of the labor for professional football players.

    Players have other choices besides the NFL… sure, they don’t have any with the earnings potential, but that’s pretty much the owners’ point. The WORST DEAL IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS is better than 99.5% of the players can earn elsewhere… not really so bad in that light.

    Now, all that said, I am fully aware that our incompetent court system wouldn’t side with the owners, but it wouldn’t be based upon sound application of the laws, instead it’d be based upon judicial activism (but then, since 85% of the legal system is just precedence reapplied, one bad decision is repeated ad infinitum and it becomes the settled law, even though it was likely misapplied in the first ruling).

  50. jc1958cool says: Jun 27, 2011 4:02 PM

    how come it only takes 9 owners to block a deal!!
    what happened to democracy majority wins?
    there’s your answer to this this mess!

  51. boedavis says: Jun 27, 2011 4:04 PM

    Breaking News: College Football Season is around the corner. I’ll do just fine w/o the NFL. Can’t support a bunch of greedy fools. I’d rather take my boys to a college game.

  52. tradeassociation says: Jun 27, 2011 4:09 PM

    Rhode Island Patriots Fan:

    “Such a ruling would not, I predict, adversely affect the timely start of the 2011 NFL regular season.”

    I disagree. Even pro-business federal judges would be uncomfortable with endorsing the owner’s behavior, which was refusing to negotiate a new labor agreement until the previous labor agreement expired. Also, pro-business federal judges would be extremely unwilling to force a workforce in a union when the union has decided that it isn’t in their interests to be in one. Finally, a pro-business judge isn’t going to bend over backwards to protect an anti-trust exemption if both parties don’t agree to it. Ruling for the owners would actually require violating pro-business tenets that would be used in future cases that are more akin to Boeing versus the NLRB than the billionaire owners versus the millionaire NFLPA. The owners aren’t going to get permanent relief from the 8th circuit. The most that the 8th circuit is going to do is buy them a few months, and the owners know it.

    The problem is that the NFLPA/NFLTA can hold things together until then if for no reason than it would take that long to fire DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae and company and elect new leaders. Meanwhile, the owners would be losing large amounts of money, and when the courts or the NRLB allows the NFLPA to legally decertify, the owners will still be on the hook for paying the full amount for ALL the players currently under contract.

    Look, if the owners didn’t want to deal with the judges in Minnesota, they should have gotten a deal done way back in 2009 to that effect. No matter how “pro-business conservative” you want to be, the fact is that the owners badly misplayed this. Yes, the owners have gained concessions from the players, but only concessions that the players were willing to make long ago.

  53. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 4:10 PM

    preludetosmack says:
    The entire business? I wasn’t aware that the NFL owned the UFL, Arena League, and countless other (at least 10 that I am aware of) professional football leagues within the USA… not to mention the CFL.

    Serious question- if that argument had any merit whatsoever, wouldn’t the owners be using it themselves?

    They wouldn’t, because they know they’d get laughed out of the courtroom.

    The owners have not, do not, and never will use that argument because it’s preposterous. If that argument had any merit, no lawyer would take on the players’ anti-trust case.

  54. preludetosmack says: Jun 27, 2011 4:15 PM

    @tradeassociation

    Since you seem to like to selectively quote from articles…

    Sure DeSmith said he wanted to negotiate and have an offer… but what did he say in his first week on the job?

    “there isn’t a day where we won’t prepare for war”

    And,

    “Smith said … the union will “not go back” to a salary cap if it is removed.”

    Those are not negotiations, those are edicts.

    And what was said of DeSmith’s qualifications?

    “Smith was regarded as an outsider, having no ties to the union or NFL. His strengths included his connections to power, having ties to President Barack Obama and new U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.”

    Basically, he knows nothing about the NFL, but he has friends in high places who will deliver the win via the courts (which is exactly the course that was taken).

    Blame the owners all you want, but the decertification and lawsuit were completed BEFORE the start of the lockout. The owners made an offer to the players that is not significatnly different than what is being discussed now BEFORE the start of the lockout and before the decertification and lawsuit.

    What offer have the players responded to? (other than the WORST DEAL IN HISTORY response?)

  55. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 4:19 PM

    @qj1984 …

    The players meeting with their lawyers doesn’t scream anything … except that Mike is a master of click-magnetry.

    @Mistrezz Rachael …

    Your persistent attentions are flattering, but I don’t swing that way.

  56. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 4:21 PM

    preludetosmack says:
    What offer have the players responded to? (other than the WORST DEAL IN HISTORY response?)

    They offered a 50 / 50 split.

    They also offered to keep the expired agreement in place in order to keep the NFL’s doors open while a new deal was negotiated. The owners preferred a lockout.

  57. preludetosmack says: Jun 27, 2011 4:34 PM

    @tradeassociation …

    “How many of you “brain-living” owner shills are even aware that the owners spent two years refusing to negotiate a new CBA with the players? They tried to get major concessions from the players AND LOST. So, in 2011, they put the players and fans and their own employees through this only to wind up proposing a deal within the parameters that DeMaurice Smith said the players would accept WAY BACK IN 2009.”

    If the owners are proposing a deal that is within the parameters that DeSmith said the players would accept WAY BACK IN 2009, why haven’t the players accepted?

    And all the complaining and other crap you posted… where were the player proposals during that time? I know they proposed maintaining the status quo, but after the owners RESPONDED to that proposal (something the players should try), they never made another.

    And if you are so happy to tout that the owners LOST in getting major concessions, I guess you will be happy when they are able to conclusively determine in 1-3 years that the system is still not fixed and we have to go through this whole mess again.

    When the ‘major concessions’ the players would have to make do not amount to a single player taking a pay cut, at some point it’s going to be time to tighten the belt and pay the piper…

    That’s the whole problem with America in general though… everyone always views the status quo as the baseline and things must be improved from there… larger and larger deficits, over 1/3 of the country on welfare/government support, over 50% of the country paying 0% (or negative %) taxes, and still there is no talk that we are a socialst nation that needs to make dramatic and sweeping cuts…

    We just need MORE given to us from the sugar daddy!

  58. preludetosmack says: Jun 27, 2011 4:39 PM

    @tommyF15

    The 50/50 split and status quo were the same offer. Of course the players would offer the same, they were at the same time acknowledging that they had the better end of the stick in the deal they were willing to continue.

    It’s akin to saying, “I’m robbing you blind, but if you’re willing to keep going I’m happy too”.

    The owners did not lock out the players until after they decertified (which forced the owners to lockout because without a union there isn’t an anti-trust exemption) and filed an anti-trust lawsuit.

    The owners had a deal on the table, and were willing to continue pushing back the deadline for another week (as they had already done once) but the NFLPA decided to litigate rather than negotiate.

    By decertifying, the players expressed their preference for a lockout and lawsuit rather than continued negotiation.

    The owners spent 2 years preparing for a lockout, and the players spent 3 years preparing for a lawsuit.

  59. tumsman2 says: Jun 27, 2011 4:49 PM

    Chazk100 — you are dead wrong. the fans will tune in because they like to watch the game of football. It doesn’t matter who is playing (just like college football’s roster completely changing every 4 years). We watch for the love of the game.

    A new star will be born each week. The players are replaceable. And in the end, they will take $100k if that’s all that was available for them. Yes, $100k. Otherwise, they would have to get a real job that pays piss poor with loooong hours.

    The owners have invested billions in their respective franchises. What have the players invested?

  60. vahawker says: Jun 27, 2011 4:53 PM

    tradeassociation:
    “disagree. Even pro-business federal judges would be uncomfortable with endorsing the owner’s behavior, which was refusing to negotiate a new labor agreement until the previous labor agreement expired. ”

    You realize that the owners WERE negotiating before the deal expired. Upshaw’s unfortunate death derailed the negotiation and lead to the entrance of Demoron and the end to rational, adult, negotiations. Instead, the Weasel came in roaring in his little mousey way about going to war yada yada. It is because of DeMoron the situation is where it stands. If Upshaw doesn’t get sick and die so quickly, this deal was done a long time ago.

    Players should have chosen someone who had connections to the game, the players, and a vested interest in seeing a win-win deal negotiated. Instead……

  61. stull60060 says: Jun 27, 2011 4:54 PM

    Do any of you people on this blog get it. Many do, but many don’t. If the NFL disappears entirely it won’t affect my life one bit. It’s only one of many entertainment venues that exists. It’s not going to pay my bills or improve my life. It’s amazing how many bloggers refer to the players as partners. They are NOT partners, THEY ARE EMPLOYEES. The owners are the EMPLOYERS. If the owners want, they can close down the entire operation. Then the employees can look for another line of work that pays them what they make now. Good luck with that. Of course the owners are not going to close down the entire operation because they have too much invested in the sport. They have bills to pay. Jerry Jones has a stadium to pay off to name one. The idea that the players have any say is ridiculous. If they don’t like working for the money they’re paid then find another line of work or employer. This is still a free country. I don’t know how much longer though.

  62. tmaczoozoo says: Jun 27, 2011 5:07 PM

    Yay!

    It’s almost the 4th of JULY!

  63. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 5:31 PM

    stull60060 says:
    If they don’t like working for the money they’re paid then find another line of work or employer.

    Sorry there pal, but that’s not how it works in these here United States of America. There are anti-trust laws designed from allowing a cartel to take over and control a business.

    It’s like posting something along the lines of “I think I should be allowed to drive while intoxicated”. You’re entitled to your opinion, but in the end you have to obey the law.

    I’d like the 32 guys that own NFL teams to stop colluding, follow the anti-trust statutes, unlock the doors and allow the games to continue.

  64. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 5:47 PM

    stull60060 says:
    It’s amazing how many bloggers refer to the players as partners. They are NOT partners, THEY ARE EMPLOYEES. The owners are the EMPLOYERS. If the owners want, they can close down the entire operation.

    Sorry to quote the same post twice, but…

    The players don’t want a partnership the owners, they don’t want to share, they don’t want a percentage, they want a free-market economy. That’s what the anti-trust suit is all about, allowing the individual owners to decide for themselves how much they can spend on players.

    I love it when someone says “THE OWNERS CAN BAND TOGETHER AND DO WHATEVER THEY WANT!!”

    Really, then why don’t they? Why don’t they just say “we’re giving the players ten percent, and that’s it- anyone that doesn’t like it find another job”?

    Because they CAN’T just do whatever they want. If they could, they would. But they have to follow the same laws as any other business.

  65. Deb says: Jun 27, 2011 5:50 PM

    @stull60060 …

    You can all-cap and stamp your feet and question the brainpower of people who disagree with you … that doesn’t make you right. If the business model of professional football worked like the business model of Ford Motors, the owners would never have bid player salaries into the multi-millions in the first place. That should be obvious. It may kill you guys to think so, but professional football players bring more to the table than the average unskilled or semi-skilled worker. That’s what gives them negotiating power.

    No one thinks these players are partners in the sense of having invested money into the operation. But they are elite athletes with unique and highly valued skills. Yes, individually they can be replaced. But not collectively. Despite all the idyllic talk about replacements being just as good as the pros we watch now, the owners know they cannot replace their entire workforce of professional athletes at once. Those days are gone–the game has progressed too far. And they’re not going to shut down an enterprise that nets them billions of dollars rather than share a sliver more of the pie with the players. That’s absurd. They didn’t become billionaire team owners by being stupid.

    Yes, it is a free country and operates on a free-market economy. In this discussion that means the players are free to negotiate a percentage of the pie commensurate with the revenues they generate. And the owners are butting heads with them because they know the players are worth the trouble. Otherwise, the owners would have made other arrangements long ago.

  66. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 5:57 PM

    vahawker says:
    Players should have chosen someone who had connections to the game, the players, and a vested interest in seeing a win-win deal negotiated. Instead……

    And here’s where I again point out that:

    1. The most successful leader in the history of sports unions was Marvin Miller, who was the ultimate outsider in the baseball world.

    2. The least successful leader in the history of sports unions was Gene Upshaw, who had a Hall of Fame career.

  67. nflpasux says: Jun 27, 2011 6:30 PM

    tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 4:21 PM

    preludetosmack says:
    What offer have the players responded to? (other than the WORST DEAL IN HISTORY response?)

    They offered a 50 / 50 split.

    They also offered to keep the expired agreement in place in order to keep the NFL’s doors open while a new deal was negotiated. The owners preferred a lockout.

    ———————————————————————-

    Huh? A bit of historical revisionism there!

    You missed a fairly significant adversarial action by theNFLPA: in the midst of Federal mediation, the players picked up their marbles and went home. They decertified and filed an anti-trust lawsuit, aiming to end the draft and salary cap. The owners had no choice but to lockout in the face of decertification.

  68. vahawker says: Jun 27, 2011 6:43 PM

    Well, TFl.

    1. You leave out the fact that he was a labor economist and his career was founded in labor relations and unions . So unlike DeMoron, while he had no baseball experience, he loads of negotiation and labor experience. .

    2. That would be DeMoron Mush Mouth Smith

  69. nflfan101 says: Jun 27, 2011 6:49 PM

    The meeting with the lawyers at this time tells me that there is no deal and that there is not going to be a deal anytime soon.

    I just wish that the 8th circuit would rule so that we can get on with the next phase of this mess, whatever it is.

  70. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 6:51 PM

    nflpasux says:
    The owners had no choice but to lockout in the face of decertification.

    This is false. The owners had and still have the option of implementing rules without a CBA.

    In fact, that’s exactly what they would have been doing had either the Minneapolis ruling held up, or if the St. Louis court decides to end the lockout.

    I understand it’s to the owners’ strategic advantage to lock the players out, but please don’t tell me that they “had no choice”. That simply isn’t true.

  71. buzzardpointlookout says: Jun 27, 2011 7:11 PM

    preludetosmack says:
    Jun 27, 2011 4:39 PM

    “The owners spent 2 years preparing for a lockout, and the players spent 3 years preparing for a lawsuit.”

    Ownership voted to exercise the opt-out clause on May 20, 2008. My math skills are fairly rudimentary. However, even I can calculate that the owners have been preparing for this lockout for at least three years.

    Just love the way all of you pro-business owner types here at PFT just keep parroting the well-conceived language of the owners and their lackey-stooge of a commisioner.

    If you are truly pro-business, you should not be siding with an organization which requires a fedrally mandated anti-trust exemption to remain in existence.

    Sheep. Every one of you.

    It’s rather pathetic.

  72. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 7:16 PM

    nflfan101 says:
    I just wish that the 8th circuit would rule so that we can get on with the next phase of this mess, whatever it is.

    I strongly agree with this. I’m hoping that the court lifts the lockout, but even if they don’t a ruling would make it more likely that a deal would get done.

  73. bradjames33160 says: Jun 27, 2011 7:18 PM

    I just say screw unions. In every workplace in America, there is a scumbag who belongs to a union that does nothing constructive at work but can leverage his employer because he/she “deserves” protection, if not ludicrous job security regardless of what they accomplish during the work day. Unions suck, lawyers suck and this lockout sucks. BRING IT TO AN END NOW!

  74. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 7:42 PM

    bradjames33160 says:
    I just say screw unions.

    I’m with you, and so are our friends at the now-decertified NFLPA.

    Thank heavens that Brady, Brees, Manning, etc are doing what needs to be done to get the Owners Union to stop acting in collusion.

  75. scytherius says: Jun 27, 2011 7:46 PM

    Pretty meaningless.

  76. TIM says: Jun 27, 2011 8:07 PM

    Remember that the owners did not lock anyone out until AFTER the union walked out of the productive talks (where the owners had concessions on the table in at least 8 areas ,without any counter offers coming from the union ) !!!),then the union pulled that decertification sham that fooled nobody except one liberal Judge in Minn ,who was already in the pocket of the union. Then the union sued the NFL for everything they could think of to ruin the League and destroy football forever,and THEN,under attack from the unreasonable union,the owners finally realized they had no option but to protect themselves from the attack of their disgruntled employees and were forced to lock out the attackers.
    Now the 8th circuit is going to rule in favor of the owners and the union ,knowing this,were finally FORCED to finally act like adults and come back to the negotiating table,where the owners had been waiting for them for the last 3 Months !
    Gene Upshaw would have had a tough but fair deal worked out 3 Months ago and both side would have been sufficiently happy ,not to mention the fans being happy !!!
    The ambulance chaser Smith has lied and led his troops almost to destruction ,but he and the players are lucky that the owners are adults and businessmen and just want a fair deal done,or else the owners would have and could have crushed the union into the ground !

  77. tommyf15 says: Jun 27, 2011 9:11 PM

    So the union paid off the judge in MN?

    Real smart, TIM. Good way to get people to take you and your pro-owner propaganda seriously.

  78. eagleswin says: Jun 28, 2011 6:06 AM

    tommyf15 says:Jun 27, 2011 6:51 PM

    This is false. The owners had and still have the option of implementing rules without a CBA.

    In fact, that’s exactly what they would have been doing had either the Minneapolis ruling held up, or if the St. Louis court decides to end the lockout.

    I understand it’s to the owners’ strategic advantage to lock the players out, but please don’t tell me that they “had no choice”. That simply isn’t true.

    =======================

    Actually, you are wrong. The courts can not force the owners to start the season without a CBA. The owners did have the option, that is correct, but it would’ve been foolish of them to do so. Every decision they made would’ve been subject to anti-trust scrutiny. Football as we know it is not able to exist without the anti-trust exemption.

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