Robert Kraft’s solution: Get rid of the lawyers

Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke with reporters here in Dallas media center, and brought his fastball on a variety of issues.

Let’s start with the collective bargaining agreement.  Kraft says the lawyers are mucking it up:

“In my opinion, we could get a deal done in the next week,” Kraft said.   “If business people sat down on both sides, and we tried to get the lawyers in the background. . . .  Get lawyers away from table.  Lawyers are deal breakers, not deal makers.”

Hmmm.  NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith’s background comes as a prosecutor then trial attorney.  NFL chief labor negotiator Jeff Pash got his start under fellow lawyer Paul Tagliabue.

We don’t think Kraft was referring to Smith or Pash when he spoke, but his sound-bite ready comments seem to oversimplify the issues between the two sides.  Kraft confirmed  one of the business people in the room

We thought the comments from Steelers owner Dan Rooney were more telling than Kraft’s words.  He told Albert Breer of NFL Network that he would be optimistic if the two sides were talking, and pessimistic otherwise.

Told that a bargaining session is scheduled for Saturday, Rooney replied: “I mean serious talk.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed to Rich Eisen on NFL Network two more negotiating sessions are scheduled next week as well.  We’ll have to wait and see if they are serious or not.

56 responses to “Robert Kraft’s solution: Get rid of the lawyers

  1. That a rather convenient arguement. But the lawyers work for the owners and the commissioner is also a lawyer.


    It’s official:
    Pouncey is OUT of Super Bowl:(

    Damn it!

    Great news for Packers fans.

  3. Yes serious negoiation. tommorrow is a lets set a schedule – I hope. window dressing. I think it needs 4 serious – 6 hour meeting, then a redirect then another week then another redirect then approval. 4 weeks of serious without the press being the go between.

  4. Commissioner Roger Goodell says that a new agreement is to be reached at the negotiating table. Yet, to date at least, he hasn’t even been able to get the business partners in the same negotiating room.

    Rather than preparing for a potential work stoppage, Commissioner Goodell, representatives of the NFL owners and the NFLPA should instead be preparing for a new agreement. That agreement will be forged out of compromise, which necessarily requires concessions from both sides. The NFLPA and its players should resign themselves to the inevitability of an 18-game regular season schedule with two pre-season games. The league’s labor negotiation team and the NFL owners must make every effort to meet the NFLPA at least halfway on its 18-game counterproposal, which was reported on last November by Chris Mortensen of

    In my view, these should be “low hanging fruit”—i.e., easily attainable objectives—for the NFLPA: (1) two in-season bye weeks; and, (2) reducing voluntary offseason workouts, though the NFLPA’s proposed cut strikes me as too drastic. An increase in the number of roster spots will likely be more problematic for the NFLPA, but an increase of at least one should be adopted. Likewise, the NFL owners should make fair concessions to reduce the number of games required for players to obtain post-career benefits, and to increase player salary contracts.

    The collective bargaining process must recognize that NFL players are entitled to “draw from the well” given the increased revenue stream expected from an extended regular season. At the same time, the players must accept that the owners are “the boss” and motivated by profit, which, contrary to the views of some, isn’t a bad thing in a capitalistic society. With that in mind, the business parties need to stop the posturing and foot-dragging, and they need to check their pride and egos—along with their coats and their lawyers—at the negotiating room door. It is unacceptable to NFL fans—the league’s customers, who either directly or indirectly pay everyone’s salaries—for the current CBA to expire without a new agreement.

  5. As a Salesman for the past 18 years I unequivocally agree with Bobby. I don’t think it’s overly simplistic rather lawyers tend to over complicate things. A deal get’s done in principal by BUSINESS people and then lawyers are brought in to ensure the agreement is legal and binding going forward to ensure what was agreed to is enforceable in court.

    Lawyers are critical but like everything in life it’s all about timing.


  6. Kraft is Right, now go DO IT…

    if there isn’t significant progress by the DRAFT , april ( if there is a draft), kiss next season goodbye…

  7. I didn’t even read the article, just the title, but I can agree that no matter what the problem is, that is a huge part of the solution.

  8. Get rid of the lawyers. So that would leave 31 of the most financially successful and business savvy men & women (and GB) in our country negotiating an incredibly complex multi-billion dollar a year contract with ….Vince Young & Ryan Clady.

  9. Yup. Because when negotiating a multi billion dollar contract with tons of conditions and contingencies, you don’t want anyone with any legal knowledge to be part of the proceedings. Idiot.

  10. Let’s hope Kraft was referring to Pash and De Smith with his comment that the lawyers should be relegated from the table to the background. Kraft is absolutely right in saying that “lawyers are deal breakers, not deal makers.” Let the owners and the union’s player reps agree in principle on general terms first, then bring in the lawyers to hammer out the details.

  11. Here’s my idea, throw both parties into a room, bring in cots in case they have to sleep every once in awhile and then lock the door. They can’t come out until a deal is done. See how long it takes under those circumstances, probably less than 48 hours.

  12. Pouncey wouldn’t change their loss on Sunday. It’s just an excuse for a under-talented team taking on the most talented team.

    Rodgers – Best playoff QB rating ever at ~ 130.
    Big Ben’s Conference finals game QB rating – 35.

    I’d bet on the Packers.

  13. The owners are businessmen (and businesswomen) who make and negotiate business deals on an every day basis. The players play football. While some of the players might have the education, intelligence, and experience to negotiate massive deals, those players are few and far between. This is why they have lawyers (and the same reason why most of us hire lawyers instead of representing ourselves in legal matters). If there were no lawyers involved then the owners would pretty much be able to dictate what they wanted and how they wanted it. It would be very easy for the owners to slide things by the players without them even realizing it. Yes there are some negative aspects that come with lawyers but overall it’s the lawyers that represent the players that give them a fair shake at the negotiating table. So it doesn’t surprise me that an owner is wanting to gain an unfair advantage by getting rid of the lawyers.

  14. Transcribed from a radio interview with Dick Vermeil yesterday concerning spygate (read it and weem stairwayto7):

    Felger: Well, Dick Vermeil, you’re saying it was at least a mistake. I think there are a lot of people who would say, what did he do wrong, everyone was doing it?

    Vermeil: Well, I don’t know if everyone was doing it, but everyone might’ve had a method of trying to do it. Maybe he did it better than everyone else. OK? And I’ll tell you this: In all honesty, I’ve coached as a head coach 15 years and an assistant four years, I know some things that have been done in the National Football League and I could document them, if I wanted to, that are far worse than that ever came close to being.

    And Robert Kraft didn’t get fined, the Patriots football club got fined.
    Get your facts straight… go Green Bay! Beat the rapists!!

  15. Get rid of the lawyers???? Hell, that’s the whole NFL front office, including Goodell! I agree with Kraft 100%.

  16. At the end of the day, if going to a game doesn’t get cheaper to fill some of the empty seats in the stadiums, this whole labor negotiation will be a failure. Corps can only buy so many seats.

  17. Kraft is a wise man…but he just doesnt go far enough…if only some sort of virus could strike every scumbag lawyer from this earth in an instant, this would be a fantastically better world for all of us…

  18. What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

    A good start!


    I’ll be here all night folks.

  19. Every Democrat is a lawyer and too many Republicans. Lawyers are like vampires in society. Most of em don’t add anything to society and basically just look for someone to shake money out or make you pay lots of money to follow the law, which should be free. More and more laws and we wonder why businesses don’t want to be here, why economy is stalled.

    Institute tort reform(one thing I will give Bush credit for, he wanted tort reform and he did call out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and got shot down by Congress on both), lower taxes, make citizens responsible for themselves and this country would take off.

    Way to go Mr. Kraft, tell it like it is.

  20. Kraft’s point is that the two sides are far more likely to achieve an agreement in principle if the attorneys are not in the room constantly mucking things up.

    And for anyone who disagrees with this, I am an experienced mediator who knows mediation both with and without attorneys. Every single case I have ever seen has gone better without the attorneys in the room.

    But you haters of Kraft and the Patriots keep on hating… your stale and wholly uninformed lines prove that there are some constants in the universe.

  21. Speaking as an attny that practices in commercial law, and thus obviously is biased, I can nonetheless say with a straight face that businesspeople screw up more deals than their attorneys. But hey, it’s always fun to poke at us with a sharp stick when Packer fans, car and insurance salespeople aren’t around.

  22. The term Robert Kraft was referring to was “legalism.”

    How did the land of freedom become a legal minefield? As Americans we have to continually tiptoe through law all day long, avoiding any acts that might offend someone or become a legal claim. Legal fears constantly divert us from doing what we think is right and keep us from making things happen quicker because the lawyers have to have their hands in every cookie jar taking some $$ from here and some from there.

    Also, Goodell was not and is not a lawyer, Tags was.

    As for the continual subject of “spygate,” that always seems to be popping up here and there when people want to divert attention away from the real topic at hand — whatever that may be. Whichever side you may take on spygate on undeniable truth is this: punishment by the league was handed down, whether it was harsh or not and whether it was fair or not is not at issue. The matter is resolved and it’s been handled and it’s been almost 4 yrs since that time. If Vick can be forgiven for what he did surely Belichick can be forgiven for his mistakes. The fact is the man came to the NFL as a graduate non-paid assistant in 1975 and worked his way up to HC. He is what most hard working Americans dream of becoming and just like all of us he has his faults. He was wrong, he moved on, the league moved on and so should everyone else. It’s childish to keep harping on an old stale topic. Worse things have happened in the NFL, as Dick Vermeil noted yesterday. If the NFL is going to correct all the wrongs of the league then they should start an investigation and ask Vermeil what he knows, because he did say he could document those issue if need be.

  23. Not surprised there are lots of Pats fans giving thumbs down to every post challenging Kraft. They love the Kraft/Goodell duo. Goodell tried to help them sweep Spygate under the rug (thankfully Matt Walsh didn’t let them finish the job), he changed the rules and made it illegal to give mean looks or use harsh language toward Tom Brady. If it wasn’t for Goodell the Pats dynasty* would be remembered universally along with the likes of the 1919 Black Sox.

  24. In otherwords, let’s have our people give you a formula for revenue sharing that might have something in it you’ll miss and we can take advantage of…. Who wouldn’t want to agree to that…

    What I do agree with is simplifying it and talking football issues.

  25. Go and find the story of how Kraft started off by buying a parking lot and ended up owning the Patriots. It shows that these direct, face-to-face meetings over adversarial issues work. They’d be the St. Louis Patriots if Goodell and D Smith were handling things then.

  26. psmith7716 says: Feb 4, 2011 4:24 PM

    “First, kill all the lawyers.”
    -Dick the butcher, in Shakespeare’s Henry

    A little extreme but pretty close to the mark.

    WOW !!! then what do you do with politicians who are lawyers ?

    Hey I know ! make them NFL owners who implement PSL’s on there fans.

  27. And the obsession with the Patriots continues…I haven’t seen one team completely in other fan bases head for a decade since…well…since the Yankees here in Boston…oh well, I guess Dynasties do that to jealous fans

  28. Bob Kraft is right and the first lawyers they should eject are Dee Smith and Roger Goodell. It’s impossible to see how this situation can be resolved when the primary negotiators are so intransigent. Smith is no Gene Upshaw. He’s not a player and doesn’t have a player’s sensibility. Goodell is a corporate guy who thinks only of profits and rather than love of the game. They aren’t emotionally invested in doing the right thing for everyone. They’re taking the typical adversarial approach of trying to ensure their side wins.

  29. stixzidinia says: Feb 4, 2011 5:58 PM

    Not surprised there are lots of Pats fans giving thumbs down to every post challenging Kraft. They love the Kraft/Goodell duo. Goodell tried to help them sweep Spygate under the rug (thankfully Matt Walsh didn’t let them finish the job), he changed the rules and made it illegal to give mean looks or use harsh language toward Tom Brady. If it wasn’t for Goodell the Pats dynasty* would be remembered universally along with the likes of the 1919 Black Sox.
    Well I would venture to say that any Pats fan giving your type of posts thumbs down is a result of the blatant 4th grader level idiocy and falsehoods in them and not that they criticize the owner.
    First off MATT WALSH HAD NOTHING. Not a single shred of proof of any walkthrough tape and IIRC had only snippets of tape exactly the same as what BB already had submitted to the league. I hate Tomase…this is all his fault with his malicious lies. Second, that punishment by Goodell was the WORST PUNISHMENT EVER BESTOWED IN NFL yeah…clearly Gooddell is in Kraft’s pocket (insert eyeroll here).
    The Brady comment is just puerile baseless nonsense.
    I don’t get why a whole lot of these dumb cameragate posts on here are from Steelers fans. Almost every Pats topic, you and some of the same other Steelers fans post this inane garbage. Why? You think you would have 8 rings already if it weren’t for OMGZPATSEVILCHEATINGSPYGATE or something? Give me a break. I respect the Steelers team and it has a lot of good & knowledgeable fans. I am not trying to paint all their fans with this brush at all. But for pete’s sake some of you Steelers fans on here work my nerves with your ignorance of what happened and your continuous harping on it.

    Most of the Pats fans I know are absolutely fine with admitting they should have been punished for cameragate and can also critique the team from the owner on down when we feel they have made unwise moves or have played poorly. /rant

    In this case no criticism of Mr. Kraft is warranted in my opinion. He’s right. It’s amusing to see how many people fail at reading comprehension though. He never said lawyers weren’t needed at all…in fact he says in another article that they save him from himself sometimes. He said they shouldn’t be doing the DEAL part. He said the players pissed away (my words not his) 15 million of their dollars questioning the tv agreement and they basically got nothing out of it. Who do you think got the 15 million? Yeah I bet it was the lawyers. Now if you disagree with that, fair enough. But don’t base your criticism on things he didn’t say or imply.

  30. Kraft didn’t say “Get rid of the lawyers.” He said they should be “in the background” meaning let the business people make the deal then let the lawyers dot the Is and cross the Ts.

    You haters wanna see what you wanna see and not actually look at the facts. It’s unbelievable.

    When you hear that a player and a team have “reached an agreement in principle”, it means the team and the player have agreed to the terms of a deal, but the lawyers are looking at it in order to finalize it. This is what needs to happen here. And, this was all Kraft was saying.

  31. LOL, in other words, “the best way for us owners to get a better deal from the players is to not have their lawyers in the room”

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