NFL Players’ Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith says that if a deal is going to be reached on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the owners are going to have to open the books and give the union real information about the financial status of the league.
As it stands, Smith told Mike Florio on The Dan Patrick Show, all the owners are saying is that they want the players to agree to take $1 billion less. Smith says that just about the only issue on which the league has given the union any specifics is that the owners would like to expand the regular season to 18 games.
“Although we continue to talk and I’m still hopeful that we get a deal
done, they remain firm on a $1 billion giveback and the only thing we
have heard from them since April in a constructive way is that they
want the players to play two extra regular-season games,” Smith said.
Smith stressed that if there is no football in 2011, that won’t be because the players don’t want to play — it will be because the owners shut the league down.
“The National Football League over the last two years has done nothing but prepare for this lockout,” Smith said. “This is not a work stoppage. This is a lockout.”
Although there have been some suggestions that Smith wants to force a lockout, Smith called that “probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard” and says he’s dedicated to keeping his union members working.
“I have a continued concern about the livelihood of our players,” Smith said. “It’s my job.”
Smith said he continues to be concerned about collusion among NFL owners, and he echoed the comments of NFLPA President Kevin Mawae about needing financial information about all 32 teams, and not just the Green Bay Packers, who are legally required to open their books.
“Let’s be real: It’s 1/32nd of the information we requested,” Smith said. “The owners want a billion dollars back from the players. They want to
do that and still want to not give us the financial information that
everybody would want.”