NFLPA: “Any suggestion we want a lockout is coming from outer space”

The NFLPA didn’t waste any time responding to claims they want a lockout, holding an impromptu conference call Thursday with the express purpose of responding to a Washington Post article from last night.

“Any suggestion we want a lockout is coming from outer space,”  NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen said on the call, which also included Colts center Jeff Saturday and NFLPA president Kevin Mawae.

We asked Berthelsen if he expected a lockout if a deal hasn’t been worked out by March 4.

“From everything we’ve seen and observed, there is a group of people who believe the hockey owners in 2004 and 2005 were able to extract significant concessions from the players then,” Berthelsen answered.  “They did it through [outside NFL labor counsel] Bob Batterman and his lockout strategy and that appears to be what the NFL owners have decided to do.”

Berthlesen relayed a communication from the league that warned health benefits would be cut off in the event of a work stoppage.  The NFLPA wouldn’t indicate Thursday whether they would decertify if they are locked out.

“We’re going to devote every waking minute to getting a deal done before March 3rd,” Berthlesen said.  “Whatever we do thereafter would be in response to what the owners do.”

On the call, Berthlesen repeatedly painted Batterman as the driving force behind the league’s lockout strategy and compared the situation to the NHL lockout.

The NFLPA failed to satisfactorily explain why the two sides haven’t met in person for more than a month.  Mawae said there were no meetings scheduled that “he was aware of.”   (He said the same on PFT Live Wednesday.)  The owners plan to meet next week, which the union hopes will inspire another round of talks.

Less formal discussions have been ongoing.  Berthlesen said that a “week doesn’t go by” where NFLPA Executive director DeMaurice Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell don’t speak, but those “kind of communications are the most important so they are best kept confidential.”

Saturday was the most emotional person on the call,  forcefully insisting the players want to play.  He didn’t want to discuss decertifying at this stage.

“We’re not doing anything until we’re locked out by the owners; only if we’re forced to act or react,” Saturday said.

The time for action is now.

16 responses to “NFLPA: “Any suggestion we want a lockout is coming from outer space”

  1. Good, Saturday! Avoid this lockout at all costs. It would have a tremendous negative impact on the NFL and it’s fans. Get it done!

  2. Yep, I’ve been saying all along the NFL will use the NHL lockout as their model to get the most concessions.

    NHL players were going broke during the lockout and had to play in Europe to pay their bills.

    They agreed to the NHL owner’s terms out of desperation. The same thing will happen here and a lot of fans will be pissed with the NFL owners.

    We see the writing on the wall.

  3. kingjoe1 says: Jan 13, 2011 1:35 PM

    “Why do the the alien players get blamed? It really is bordering on racist.

    Eh, that’s alien owners getting the blame this time.

    I’m fairly certain Mawae and Saturday are from Earth, though I’ve been wrong before. As for Berthelsen, I can’t really say either way.

  4. If the owners have or had no plan to lockout the players why did lockout language start appearing three years ago in employee and coaches contracts!! Hiring Bob Batterman as counsel was not to conduct a seminar in labor mediation/moderate negotiation techniques!! His firm’s website practically boasts how many union scalps are hanging in the hallways from previous labor negitiations.
    Also on why no meetings/negotiations ….unless there is some genuine desire to move and make a deal numerous “failed”negotiating sessions can bolster the owners eventuallyclaiming they are at “labor law impasse”and seek to unilaterally impose their “last best offer” so negotiations have to be serious and not just one or more”failed”sessions.

  5. Sorry, but it is quite obvious that the NFLPA wants a lockout to further the perception that the league/owners are the bad guys that don’t want football in 2011. The union has “devote[d] every waking minute to” running a PR campaign rather than trying to negotiate a reasonable deal. The only aspect of this dispute that I endorse from the union is their unwillingness to go to an 18 game schedule…although they are more than willing if they get paid more. The union leadership are a bunch of opportunistic, conceited, self-promoting hedonists.

  6. kingjoe1… how is that racist mang???

    PFT gets paid by kissing the leagues butt. They get interviews, and get on TV, and have NBC (who has a deal with the NFL) to get them on their shows.

    What do the players do for them? Nah means? If the players were to put PFT on their shows and etc. I bet PFT would be kissing their butts too.

    If their is a lockout, I’m going to blame the owners because they already have half of the money… now their after the other half.

  7. I have to agree with Batterman, it appears that the union (not necessarily the players) wants a lockout. Since the union is the one repeatedly predicting a lockout even though they already have approval from the players to decertify and block any lockout would suggest that they are at least considering allowing a lockout they know they can prevent. Now, you can debate why they want it, but since they know they can block and yet they keep talking about how likely it is to happen – they are basically saying it is likely we want a lockout (since they ultimately can decide whether any lockout can take place or not). Bottom line is that neither the owners or players can force a lockout on their own, in order for a lockout to take place this year both the owners and NFLPA have to give their blessing to it.

  8. The real downside of a lockout is the amount of time I’ll have to do more crap around the house on Sundays.

  9. kingjoe1 says:
    Jan 13, 2011 1:35 PM
    Why do the the alien players get blamed? It really is bordering on racist.

    Wouldn’t is actually be “specist”?

    If they can’t get something done to prevent a lockout then someone is holding it up on purpose. There is so much revenue to be lost by everyone involved that you’d think they’d do everything in their power to get it done. But it is the fact that there is so much money at stake that is preventing any one side to conceding anything. It’s a viscious cycle really.

  10. “cappa662 says:
    Jan 13, 2011 2:11 PM
    kingjoe1… how is that racist man???”

    Umm yea, you need to lighten up. Not much for humor are you?

  11. “Hey Rajah, let me know when you think we’ve had enough face time.”.

    “Patience, DeFudd, I’ve been at this a lot longer than you, we have to stretch things out. Build up some drama. Take it to the 11th hour, so to speak. Have you been practicing looking profound, worried, and dismayed, like I showed you?”.

  12. Could be a great opportunity for college football to move some games to Sunday. That being said, assume the contract will be signed in mid to late August, just in time for the begining of the season.

  13. DeMo and DeBoss actually have pretty good relationship. Most recently Raj advised the rookie to lose the heavy bling and the expensive suits. “Maybe it’s just me, Mo, but for some reason, on you, all that stuff looks stolen.”.

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