Commish sits down with Bears players

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago.  So after carving up the carcass of a turkey, he carved out some time from his schedule to sit down with members of the Bears.

Per Brag Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times, it was the first visit by an NFL Commissioner to the team since 1998.

“Collective bargaining is obviously on their minds and the owners’ minds, but they have representatives and they have to be informed by those representatives,” Goodell told the team’s official web site, via Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune.  “But I did share some perspective with them on that.”

Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, the team’s elected representative to the NFLPA, liked what he heard.

“I think he’s doing a good job trying to hear from all parties,” Hillenmeyer said, per the Tribune.  “To get more people talking and stressing what their interests are, the better the chances are we can get something figured out.”

The visit apparently wasn’t part of the league’s new Player Advisory Forum, which will be conducting meetings with players regarding a wide variety of issues and concerns.

The NFLPA quietly has raised concerns regarding these face-to-face sessions at a time when the league and the union are dealing with labor discussions that could result in a work stoppage.  During a November 21 interview on NBC’s Football Night In America, Dan Patrick inquired regarding rumblings that the NFLPA “wondered about the timing of this,” given the possibility that “you’re aligning yourself with some players as maybe a backdoor way of currying favor with them.”

Goodell responded by explaining that he’s the Commissioner for all constituencies, and Goodell said he wasn’t aware of any concerns from the union regarding this effort to reach out to players.

That said, the timing is curious — and this series of face-to-face meetings between the Commissioner and players throughout the league will make it difficult for the union to sell at the bargaining table specific things that the players want (such as “no change to the way rookies currently are paid”), if the specific players are saying something else (such as “change the way rookies are currently paid”).

11 responses to “Commish sits down with Bears players

  1. Goodell is kissing player ass. He has to. Don’t think he showed up in Chicago by accident. He and his bosses, the owners, have probably discussed this for months. Visiting with players on Thanksgiving Day ? Well played, Roger.

  2. Thawing ice in this situation is a good thing. Maybe the union president should meet with an owner or two.

  3. Even a lot of the veteran players – Jared Allen – have voiced concerns about rookie salaries being so outrageous. Best part is Stafford and Sanchez saying they earned their 30-40 mil salaries without taking a snap. Video
    Going into a labor deal it is important for both sides to have discussions with the players. You honestly can’t expect the Commish or other NFL execs to not discuss issues with the rank and file, it would be foolish if they didn’t.
    Can’t wait for DeSmith’s latest quip about this being an outrage or some other nonsense.

  4. I don’t understand how the Players could want to keep the way rookies are being paid ? When Teams fork out huge chuncks of cha ching to guys who end up being turds it effects everyone on the Team. Not only do you end up with a weak link in the chain, it ties up salary cap dollars that could be used to sign free agents or extend the contracts of current players. I’d really like to know what the hell their thinking is on this one ?

  5. It’s a smart business move. If the union is unhappy it just reveals how precarious their situation is.

  6. “During a November 21 interview on NBC’s Football Night In America, Dan Patrick inquired regarding rumblings that the NFLPA “wondered about the timing of this,” given the possibility that “you’re aligning yourself with some players as maybe a backdoor way of currying favor with them.””
    Good lord I hate unions. It was one thing when an actual Football man in Upshaw was running things, now the NFLPA is just a bunch of pure old-school labor hacks.

  7. I’d believe the Golden Weasel when he says that he’s the Commissioner for all constituencies, were it not for the fact that he’s been culpable with the way that the league has been addressing, or should I say NOT addresssing, the concussion issue (Which seems to have taken an act of Congress to get them to finally do more than just pay lip service to the issue). This is nothing more than trying to get ahead of the issues and figuring out the best strategy for screwing the union.
    Oh and any player who has a problem with rookie pay should thank the Lord for the union because if they’re too stupid to see it, their agents use rookie pay as a basis to get them better pay (Of course, that’s not going to help the marginal players, who are among the biggest gripers but nothing will help them. Changing how rookies get paid won’t put a single dime into their pockets).

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