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Silver summarizes the status of the talks, as of Thursday

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In one of the most balanced and accurate items we’ve seen since the labor dispute began, Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports provides a comprehensive snapshot of the status of the labor talks, as of Thursday.

Echoing concepts that have been reported here and elsewhere in recent days (there isn’t much in the column that technically constitutes new information, but it’s all in one place for the first time), Silver breaks down the breakdown in the negotiations.

He writes that the players are leery of the owners’ efforts to play with the numbers, reneging on a “verbal handshake” as to the “all revenue” model and trying to carve out enough expense credits that would reduce the players’ take from 48 cents per dollar to, as a practical matter, 45.  (Silver identifies NFL in-house lawyer Peter Rucco as the primary culprit, from the players’ perspective.)  The league’s effort to impose full responsibility for the retired players’ “legacy fund” on the current players, via the salary cap, also has ruffled feathers on the players’ side of the table.

Silver also writes that the owners “continue to regard NFLPA attorneys Jeffrey Kessler and James Quinn as divisive forces intent on blowing up any prospective settlement in favor of continuing to pursue legal remedies, including the Brady v. NFL antitrust lawsuit, that could create monumental leverage for the players in the future,” a concept posted here multiple times in recent weeks.  Silver confirms our report that Kessler and Quinn have tried to argue that sales tax on ticket sales also should be included in the “all revenue” formula, a patently ridiculous argument, given that the owners keep none of that money.

That said, the article from Silver plows some intriguing new ground, reporting for example that Goodell last week “screamed” at owners after someone leaked to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen during the June 21 ownership meeting details of the proposed plan, such as the 48-cent formula and the plan to expand the Thursday night package to a full-season experience.  Silver also writes that the players want a piece of the pie generated by the hosting of concerts at NFL stadiums.

The silver lining, if there is any, in Silver’s 31-paragraph bullet of bad news is that it’s based on attitudes that existed as of Thursday afternoon and previously.  Once the process hit its most recent nadir, something happened to keep the parties in the room until after midnight in Minnesota, and to prompt them to agree to return by 8:00 a.m. CT on Friday.  This is precisely the kind of personal inconvenience that promotes focus and efficiency, since all involved parties (except the outside lawyers who are billing by the hour) would prefer to be doing something other than sitting in the same room, for hours on end.

The ultimate question remains whether the two men who (per Silver) had an “awkwardly comfortable” breakfast on Wednesday can lead their respective constituencies to get past an awkwardly uncomfortable stretch during the talks.  If Commissioner Roger Goodell can get the owners to stop trying to take advantage of the perception that the players won’t walk away and if NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith can control Kessler and Quinn (or, perhaps even better, kick them out of the room for good), this thing can get done in time to salvage the $800 million in meaningful dollars that will flow from four weeks of meaningless games.

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37 Responses to “Silver summarizes the status of the talks, as of Thursday”
  1. username54 says: Jul 1, 2011 7:00 AM

    Presumably the salary cap numbers the players receive also include taxes that they don’t keep too.

  2. mikebrownistheworstownerinprosports says: Jul 1, 2011 7:07 AM

    I already know way more than I want to about all this. The NFL fan in me has died a little.

  3. airraid77 says: Jul 1, 2011 7:11 AM

    The players should pay for their own retirement or take a serious Pay cut…PLAIN AND SIMPLE.
    The owner much to your shagrin, have every right to ask for whatever it is they desire…and should get whatever it is they desire, since they are paying the bills….whether the libs or the players like it or not….I love how the libs want tell everybody else how to spend their money, while keeping their own wallets protected.

  4. dewiseman says: Jul 1, 2011 7:14 AM

    This Kessler-Quinn thing sounds more like a good cop-bad cop ploy to me, a way of convincing the owners that DeHatter has his own problems and they need to throw him a couple of extra bones if he’s to convince the membership to go along with the plan.

  5. purpleman527 says: Jul 1, 2011 7:15 AM

    So, once again, all the “optimism and meetings” that led to false hope, was not reality.

    The reality, is that the labor dispute is nowhere close to being resolved, and it is very unlikely that the season will be played. :(

  6. ralphshere says: Jul 1, 2011 7:26 AM

    The owners can’t extend a hand and pull it away.
    By rescinding their verbal offer on splits, pandora’s box re-opened. Time for them to man-up.

    The players need to get real, and not butt-hurt.
    The owners posture that their behavior is ok, ‘cuz it’s just negotiations’, has to see the players hold the high ground and negotiate.

    Both sides need to muzzle their lawyers.

  7. thetwilightsown says: Jul 1, 2011 7:26 AM

    Once again, the fans are disregarded AND the whole “we care about the players who physically carved this game out with their own blood, sweat and tears” will be the first plank removed from either platform in order to save what is left of the golden goose. They did the carving, we pay the bill either way you look at it. Fans First NOW!

  8. dldove77 says: Jul 1, 2011 7:40 AM

    “Silver also writes that the players want a piece of the pie generated by the hosting of concerts at NFL stadiums.”

    I don’t know who asked for this – the players or the players’ lawyers – but this is downright nonsense. Players: You Suck.

  9. jimr10 says: Jul 1, 2011 7:45 AM

    I guess the players will also want any money the owners have in interests outside of football to be included.

  10. bigdinla says: Jul 1, 2011 7:53 AM

    The players wanting revenue from non NFL events is pure greed and absolutely ridiculous. I am so tired of all of the greed from both parties. Just get a deal done that is fair and stop trying to fning win!

  11. GG Eden says: Jul 1, 2011 7:58 AM

    Like I said a while back, I really don’t think we’ll see an agreement happen. Both sides invested so much for so long to get this far to settle for a “win-win” (where they already were before the owners opted out of the last cba, let alone the last offer before lockout was imposed).

    I see this all being settled via the courts. Lockout and anti-trust case.

  12. 12strikes says: Jul 1, 2011 8:00 AM

    ” Silver also writes that the players want a piece of the pie generated by the hosting of concerts at NFL stadiums”

    Huh… that is crazy. Do the players want a cut of any business that an NFL owner is involved in?

    Aurthur Blank – Falcons – Home Depot

    If this is true how can the players justify that?

    If true, the players are looking for reasons to stay out of work.

  13. chatham10 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:12 AM

    I cannot believe (yes I can) that the players lawyers want sales tax to be included in the revenue and they want any revenue that is generated at the stadium outside of football. The lawyers are way off base unless the players plan on investing in the stadiums or take over the IRS for tax revenue.

  14. brutus9448 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:16 AM

    the want money from the concerts at the stadiums? I’m surprise they don’t wan part of next years US budget as well. The player are smoking some good stuff.

  15. angrycorgi says: Jul 1, 2011 8:22 AM

    “Silver also writes that the players want a piece of the pie generated by the hosting of concerts at NFL stadiums.”

    What more do we need to hear to realize the players are living in a fantasy world?

  16. duanethomas says: Jul 1, 2011 8:22 AM

    Oh boy, the pro-owner gimps have been let out their boxes blaming it all on the players. Ignoring the fact that a man is only as good as his word….and the owners reneging on the 48% split. Both side have their faults and in order for this thing to settle both side must give and have true leadership. Smith & Goodell must step up for the good of the game.

  17. jtfris says: Jul 1, 2011 8:25 AM

    The owners need to present a straight up proposal based on percentage. Monkeying with the details to gain advantage will only cause distrust by the players.

    The owners then need to not accept any silliness such as including taxes in either sides take.

    Finally the owners need to propose that incoming players are responsible for their own retirements, but that the current retirement system will be plused up to some small amount and then phased out as the current crop of players dies off.

    If the retired players want more than that they can take it up with the current players. This could happen well outside of the current talks. The current players would have an incentive to invest some in the current retired players (above the owners solution) assuming any system they put in place would extend to them when they retire. It would mean less jewelry and rims now though so this would probably not be looked upon favorably.

  18. mathsimillion says: Jul 1, 2011 8:28 AM

    sheesh this is down right ridiculous. Wanting a share in sales tax. Not wanting any part in helping retired vets (players side) or their own retirement. Wanting a share in revenue from other profits not related to football.

    When did the players share in the costs of the business? Why can’t the owners have some expense money before the profit is broken up so that they can keep other employees paid well instead of just the players? It is obvious how big the disconnect is between these guys and the regular joe schmo employee that pays their bills.

    I can’t stand these people right now. I’ll be lucky if I can get a job that matches up to 4% of a 401K let a lone offers one.

  19. jw731 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:32 AM

    I find it hard to believe the players and their lawyers asked for money from concerts at the stadiums. It’s would not suprise me, if a lawyer, d bags that they are, suggested it, but it’s almost comical to think that would ever happen. If so, tell these greed mongers that the bands that performs at stadiums will get a cut of their salary for every home game, seems fair to me……..

  20. mathsimillion says: Jul 1, 2011 8:32 AM

    Maybe the owners should just pay out all current contracts and then start from scratch. The players couldn’t sue for damages or for being treated unjustly since the owners would be not breaking any rules or laws.

    Then the owners could make the rules how they want and anyone who wants to play a professional sport for millions of dollars would be back and take the offers given them.

    The talent might drop for a couple of years but after that the infusion of college talent would get it back up again to where it was.

    Who knows, it might save them money instead of spending it all on lawyers and missing game revenue.

  21. airraid77 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:38 AM

    “Oh boy, the pro-owner gimps have been let out their boxes blaming it all on the players. Ignoring the fact that a man is only as good as his word….and the owners reneging on the 48% split. Both side have their faults and in order for this thing to settle both side must give and have true leadership. Smith & Goodell must step up for the good of the game.”

    goodell and smith at the end of the day are just doing what their parties are telling them….. both are being paid by the same 32 people.
    I would love to see the players play hard ball….PLEASE DO! I would love to see the owner CRUSH THE UNION.
    IN the first, Their will be no football, in the second unions in this country would be dead.
    and in both scenarios, their would be no union, players would pay what owners agree to pay, by the rules set up by owners and everybody else would be better offe. the way it should be. PLEASE LET THE UNION take the lawsuit to a jury.

  22. vtsquirm says: Jul 1, 2011 8:47 AM

    the next thing you know, the players will be asking for the spare key to the owners house in the bahamas. what a bunch of garbage.

  23. sl1111 says: Jul 1, 2011 8:55 AM

    I think the guys that are mad about the stadium concerts issue might be missing the logical point of the players’ (possible) argument.

    The owners want players to “give up” a chunk of money to go to stadium costs (construction, maintenance, etc.). Well, the players only use the stadium 6 to 8 times per year. If the owners are making a bunch of money on the side holding concerts, etc., the players want a return on their contribution to the stadium.

    Otherwise, the owners should simply pay for the stadium costs out of their share of the NFL revenue. If the owners want the players to give up more money to help the stadium all year round – then it seems reasonable for the players to say either: no, we aren’t going to give up more money to help with the stadium; or, ok, we’ll do it, but we want a small piece of whatever else you do in the stadium.

  24. thenfltruth says: Jul 1, 2011 9:14 AM

    bottom line…..when you have a league that is dominated by people that have been raised to sit around and do nothing and eat the government cheese all their life, are you really surprised that the players are asking for such. They want everything and are not willing to give anything for it….if not for the owners, the players will still be eating the cheese. There are millions of potential players out there that can develop into stars and not ask for near the money that these idiots are asking for……

  25. yzguy431 says: Jul 1, 2011 9:27 AM

    this lockout is, as a practical matter, stupid.

  26. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 1, 2011 9:48 AM

    ok i hope they get a deal done, but players shouldn’t get any money generated from concerts at the stadiums. that is stupid.

  27. chief0727 says: Jul 1, 2011 10:20 AM

    The players want a share of concerts held in NFL stadiums?? WTF?? Are they going to share a percentage of personal appearance fees? Share a percentage of their wages for making commercials with the owners? Of course not. Now I understand why this drags on. Stupid unreasonable demands.

  28. 4gone says: Jul 1, 2011 10:31 AM

    Bogging down negotiations with rediculous demands is either a sign of rediculous greed coupled with entitlement issues OR a clear sign that the players really intend on pursuing the litigation strategy long-term.

    Sad part is they are fighting over how to split up our (fans) money and they are so far removed from our economic reality.

  29. pftstory says: Jul 1, 2011 10:34 AM

    Blank no longer has anything to do with Home Depot. But I agree with the point.

    We will have a season.

    Silliest thing I see that no one else commented on.

    Why the heck shouldn’t the owners take advantage of the belief that the players won’t walk away now?
    If it causes the owners to be able to get something they otherwise would not, its how you negotiate. Their mistake would be to overprice its value, and ask for som much it makes the players willing to walk away.

  30. 4gone says: Jul 1, 2011 10:39 AM

    I just asked my boss for a raise but told him all my income I want for my personal use. I told him to pay for my healthcare and my retirement.

    He said “no”. Strange.

  31. clear2me says: Jul 1, 2011 10:56 AM

    Give the players the tax money…and then they pay the administrative costs for collecting them and also the expense of returning these taxes to the states and cities etc. that might just change their minds.

  32. thephantomstranger says: Jul 1, 2011 11:06 AM

    Botttom line: When this whole deal gets done, you and I are going to be paying a lot more to go to a football game.

  33. SpartaChris says: Jul 1, 2011 11:21 AM

    Silver also writes that the players want a piece of the pie generated by the hosting of concerts at NFL stadiums.

    This is absolutely asinine, and shows the greed of the players. The players don’t own the stadiums they play in. They didn’t invest their money into the development and construction of the stadium, and they don’t have anything to do with the operations of the stadium. For them to demand a cut of events that take place at a stadium they have no financial investment in is irrational and misguided.

  34. dtr3e says: Jul 1, 2011 11:29 AM

    Have the players heard of a 401K? If i can afford it they sure as hell can!

  35. capslockkey says: Jul 1, 2011 11:49 AM

    They want a share of anything that happens in the building now? Aren’t a lot of these stadiums owned by the taxpayers rather than the teams themselves and technically leased? Now maybe teams receive some sort of percentage of non-football event revenue but I doubt it’s the kind of money that would make much difference to the hundreds of players pay. I don’t know which is more ridiculous, that or the sales tax argument. If I’m an owner, I counter with a proposal that I’d agree to it on the stipulation that the players have to share 48% of the gross income they receive from endorsement deals. I’m sure that would change their minds real quick.

  36. CKL says: Jul 1, 2011 12:40 PM

    airraid77 says:
    Jul 1, 2011 8:38 AM
    “Oh boy, the pro-owner gimps have been let out their boxes blaming it all on the players. Ignoring the fact that a man is only as good as his word….and the owners reneging on the 48% split. Both side have their faults and in order for this thing to settle both side must give and have true leadership. Smith & Goodell must step up for the good of the game.”

    goodell and smith at the end of the day are just doing what their parties are telling them….. both are being paid by the same 32 people.
    I would love to see the players play hard ball….PLEASE DO! I would love to see the owner CRUSH THE UNION.
    IN the first, Their will be no football, in the second unions in this country would be dead.
    and in both scenarios, their would be no union, players would pay what owners agree to pay, by the rules set up by owners and everybody else would be better offe. the way it should be. PLEASE LET THE UNION take the lawsuit to a jury.
    __________________________
    The thing is that I think if there’s no CBA and no union anything the owners do as a unit involves “conspiring” and violates the antitrust laws. So that wouldn’t work.

    Much as I loathe most MODERN DAY unions (they were much needed in the past days because workers were treated like garbage), this one isn’t quite the same thing. It’s necessary in order to have the business operate the way it’s currently set up. I know that there was a period of years they didn’t have a CBA/union but were I the owners I probably wouldn’t risk that again.

  37. git1tew says: Jul 1, 2011 1:22 PM

    When are people gonna learn? In this phenomenon which is the “NFL” the owners do not pay the bills. The NFL football product pays the bills. To which the owners, who have the business/financial burden, deserve the greater slice of the pie. But the players are not your typical employee here. These are the most elite employees at their craft anywhere in the world. Like it or not the players deserve more than what boss man is willing to pay based on the fact of what they bring to the table that frankly no one else can. A little respect on both sides would go along way. Like so many have said “cut the crap.”. Let us have our game back already.

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