Mike Brown: “All the union cared about was the money”

Getty Images

Five years ago, Bengals owner Mike Brown was one of only two owners that didn’t approve the collective bargaining agreement.   It wasn’t long before a majority of his colleagues agreed with his take.

Following Friday’s decertification and subsequent lockout, Brown spoke with Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer about what comes next.  Brown promised that no one in the organization will be fired or be forced to take a furlough.

“We have an obligation to our people and ask them not to carry an unfair burden,” Brown said.

Brown believes the union wanted to go to court rather than collectively bargain.   And he doesn’t think the rookie wage scale or 18-game season ultimately prevented an agreement.

“It came down to the obvious point that all the union cared about was the money and these other things certainly didn’t matter enough,” Brown said. “It’s a tremendous situation that they have and it has become burdensome for the teams. Yes, we’re asking for some relief going forward. I don’t think that was unreasonable.”

On one hand, Brown is right: “The money” is essentially the one big issue no matter what anyone says.  Solve that and the rest will fall in line.

On the other hand, Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports was on to something when he wrote about the emotion on the players side.  Mistrust and anger from players may have played a bigger role on Friday than Brown understands.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have played that big a role, but this wasn’t just “business” to players.  They feel like they are getting pushed around and wanted to fight back.

Brown’s words won’t help matters, but we’ll leave things on a note that’s worth keeping in mind for frustrated fans.

“I’ve been through ups and downs in labor negotiations in the NFL and there is one thing similar in all of them,” Brown said.  “They do come to an end and you get back together and you go out and play football. This one will be no different.”

78 responses to “Mike Brown: “All the union cared about was the money”

  1. The players want more money because of the RISK to their bodies. News flash, the U.S. Military risk their lives on a daily basis for a lot less than what these premadonna athletes claim they are worth, and they don’t need financial statements to do it. If the players are so concerned about retirement and health care why are they not investing in something besides Escalades and jewelry? Has anyone noticed how much jewelry these clowns wear DURING a game? Seriously, these players will risk injury by not wearing hip and thigh pads so they can run faster, but they still wear HUGE diamond earrings and gold chains on gameday.

  2. If a dumb ass can sue McDonalds for its coffee being hot and win and a burglar can sue a home owner for getting hurt while breaking into the house, and win. Why cant we as fans sue the NFL and its players for possibly ruining our sundays???

  3. All this wailing from the players about “mistrust and anger” at their employers is pathetic. If you mistrust your boss so much, if you are so angry at your boss that you cannot go to work, then shut up and go get yourself another job. It’s really that simply.

    Except for NFL players. Some of them might actually be qualified to do real work, although not many, but not one of them could find a gig that would pay them even a tiny fraction of what the people who they “mistrust” so much pay them.

    The real crux of this matter is that a large percentage of these athletes have been spoiled, pampered and catered to their entire lives. That’s America, it loves it’s jocks, which is great, but when grown men in their late 20s, 30s and sometimes their 40s (see Brett Favre) pout, stomp their feet, and act like petulent children, it’s too much.

    This Jeff Satruday character for example. WTF is he always so angry about? Peyton Manning is another one. Without the NFL, would he have dime one? Would he have been able to make multi millions of endorsement dollars doing local TV promos in Knoxville for used cars? I don’t think so.

    Bottom line boys is that if you hate your bosses so much, go get another job.

  4. Mike Brown says “all the union cared about was the money”.

    A lot of Bengals fans feel the same about Mike Brown.

  5. Of course thats all they cared about. They stated they really cared about the former players. Now they decertify. How does an individual only bargaining for himself do anything about former players? This whole situation stinks!

  6. All the Owners cared about was money or they would not have opted out of the CBA early. Apparently the owners can care about money, but the players can’t. Hypocrite.

    It’s especially preposterous that Mike Brown, the cheapest owner in all of sports, is lamenting another group of people with being too concerned with money. Ridiculous hypocrite.

  7. “It’s a tremendous situation that they have and it has become burdensome for the teams.”

    Says the guy whom provides his team with vending machines so it doesn’t come out of his pocket when they eat a Snicker or want a Mountain Dew.

  8. It doesn’t matter how much money the players get,within a short amount of years after their carreers end more than half of those nitwits will be broke anyway!

  9. Something is seriously wrong with America if the players win this battle over money.

    Otherwise, what’s the advantage of running a business?

    That’s why we’ll all likely work for the state or government in the future.

  10. I don’t favor one side or the other in this argument. I think the owners did make a legitimate effort to resolve this, but not until the eleventh hour, in fact 11:59. Maybe if they had made a larger gesture before they had a gun to their heads this thing may have been resolved. And the players are being, at best, obstinate.
    That said, I find it funny that Mike Brown, of all people, would accuse someone of only caring about the money.

  11. Does anyone else find it ironic that the CHEAPEST owner in football ( if not all of sports) is complaining that it is all about the money with the players? Mr. Kettle, meet Mr. Pot.

  12. All either side cares about is money. Considering the current economy and job market, I find it appalling that these millionaire players and owners have the nerve and audacity to complain about their situations. There are many people out of a job or barely making ends meet, yet these millionaires do nothing but complain. I am thinking strongly about giving up on the NFL after this.

  13. gee mike brown blamming the players union

    take the billions he makes and field a team with coaches and players that want to win

    mike brown still sucks

  14. Brown is one of the worst owners in the NFL. Ask any long suffering Bengals fan (assuming any are still left)

    Unlike most of the folks who INHERITED their golden goose, he commands no respect around the league as one of its stewards (unlike Rooney, Hunt, McCaskey, etc)

    Of of course the ultimate irony is that one of the cheapest owners in all of sports says it was “all about the money”.

    Keep talking Mike. Its what you do best!

  15. Wow, look at the balls on that guy. I guess that $1 billion the owners wanted to shave off the top of the shared revenue was in the form of smiles and unicorn rides.

    The entire issue IS about money. That’s the entire reason the owners took the previous CBA and flushed it down the toilet.

  16. cowboyaggie says: Mar 12, 2011 6:21 PM

    “In reality, my fiancee is the real winner here.”

    You’re right.
    It’s all about the money to her too.

  17. Whereas Mike Brown has proved himself to be solely concerned with doing what’s best for the league and the fans. Riiiight. 🙄

  18. Mike Brown, the biggest recipient of money from the other teams under revenue sharing is complaining that someone else wants money? hahahahahahahahahaha.

  19. Something is seriously wrong with America if the players win this battle over money.

    Why? Because god forbid the people who actually make the money flow in get a decent cut of it?

    Otherwise, what’s the advantage of running a business?

    To earn more money than anyone else, and to dip your hands into the public trough whenever things get even a little rough? Do you really think that business owners are the poor victims here?

    That’s why we’ll all likely work for the state or government in the future.

    Maybe if businesses didn’t outsource every other job in order to save a nickel then there would still be some jobs left her in America? Oh wait, you actually believe the corporate America has your best interest at heart, and that its the big bad government who is the real villain here?


  20. I’m on whichever side brings down the ridiculous price of tickets. Wait, I doubt either side actually cares about that…

    Fans come last as usual.

  21. I find it appalling that these millionaire players and owners have the nerve and audacity to complain about their situations.

    Get this through your thick skull: the players were not complaining! This situation is 100% the result of the owners not being happy with merely being super rich and wanting to squeeze just a little bit more profit out of their sweet deal.

  22. Considering there’s no agreement – something tells me Mike was also pretty focused on money. I’d call him Mr Obvious if is wasnt for an insistance on not being transparent….

    I’m going to be pretty choked if I have to start spending Sunday afternoon with my wife instead of my friends and some cold beers. Thats also why I’ll come back to watch when this gets resolved.

    But my passion for the game (and as such the $’s I spend on it) wont come back if this negotiation ends in ruining the competitive balance of the league. I hope these idiots realize that they got uber rich because teams like Green Bay, New Orleans and Tampa Bay were able to compete for Superbowls. Hell – even ‘Zona lead one late in the fourth quarter.

    If this ends with a system where Dallas and Washington can buy superbowls, it doesnt matter how the $9 billion got divided. The league is going to suffer fan backlash if even one game is missed in 2011, but it will absolutely go the way of MLB if they screw up the best part of the game – every fans belief that their team can actually win any given sunday.

    Owners and Players – please make sure you dont screw up the structure of the game that all of us fans love.

  23. SI recently published a segment about how much owners are worth (top 5 and bottom 5). Mr. Brown wasn’t in either the top 5 or the bottom 5 which puts his net worth somewhere between 310 million and 1.45 BILLION dollars. Doesn’t look like you have any problems going to the atm other than them not allowing you to take out enough money there Mikey. Quit your bitching you grump.

  24. Why are readers hammering Brown who, as is reported in the second paragraph of this piece, will NOT layoff anyone? Other owners are not making that statement…some are ‘furloughing’ people already.

  25. dont people own football teams for the money? im confused. its a business.

    what are the players supposed to care about? good luck finding players who will play for free

  26. Ok what Mike Brown is trying to say here is that all the argument about player safety and concussions by the players was not backed up. Meaning when the NFL owners offered to shorten training camps and OTAs and allow less contact in practices there was NO positive feedback from the NFLPA. The only thing the players were barking about was the money (325 million) which part of it (82 million I believe) was supposed to go back to retired players anyway. So while reducing the contact and practices each team wanted an additional 10 million dollars and the NFLPA thought they had just encountered aliens, or at least thats what I read off of Demoron Smith’s face.

  27. As a former bengals season ticket holder (just gave them up) I can assure you it’s all Mike cares about too.

  28. Mike brown, really….he actually spoke to someone? Usually he is hiding up in his ivory tower so as not to hear the criticism of how bad of an owner he is.

    Now he feels compelled to speak? And he actually said someone else is all about the money? oh my god i think i broke a rib laughing.

    of corse noone is going to lose their job in cincinnati, all 7 of his non-player/coach employees will keep there jobs. Noone else in their right mind would work for Al davis’ retarded clone.

  29. Oh and by the way with all this talk about billionaires, only two NFL owners are actually billionaires. One is the Seahawks owner and I have forgot the other one (Not Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder). The rest are millionaires such as Dan Rooney which has a net worth of 150 million. So some players ala Manning, Brady, etc. over their careers make comparable amounts of money to some of NFL owners.

  30. It’s basically true. The players, led by De Smith, intended to take this into the courts all along, and it will drag out for years, and who knows when we will get to see NFL football again, so yes, all they care about is the money. Considering what they were offered, I would say that’s obvious.

  31. Pretty sad when the NFLPA’s* clown antics over the past few days make Mike Brown seem like an elder statesman by comparison.

  32. You have owners (employers) and you have players (employees). The players, if they don’t like their owner, can leave and find another job. The owners will simply replace the departing player.

    The owners are confident that the fans aren’t going anywhere – and they aren’t. The owners can outlast the players and since they own the teams and pay the bills, ultimatley have the power to do whatever they want.

    At some point it’s gonna get resolved, and I’ll tell you who’s gonna lose: The players. They don’t have a prayer, except to reach an agreement and get back to work or find another far less lucrative profession.

  33. Is that why u keep players on your team, even though they don’t want to be, instead of trading them and getting value. Bad morale spreads like a wild fire

  34. To Players:
    1)Never let your emotions get in the way of business.

    2)You aren’t partners with the owners and never will be. Players play and owners own.

    Anytime someone says it isn’t about the money…its always undoubtedly about the money. And just because the sport is peaking in popularity, TV contracts, and merchandise sales are up doesn’t mean the cost of running a franchise hasn’t risen.
    Also, these are privately owned business’ (exclude packers). No way you open your books to your employees…thats nuts to even ask. And public funds should never be used to build stadiums.

  35. Of all the persons to say it’a all about the money, just look at his Bengals team. He’s the cheap sake of all the bunch along with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys billion dollar stadium.

  36. I call Bullshiat!!!

    Will Roger Goddell and the owners please answer this question with your honesty.

    Why did you choose to walk out of the current CBA last year??

    The current (obsolete now more of the term) CBA still has 2 years left on it and the owners decided to selfishly take it upon themselves to walk away from it.

    The owners have yet to answer this question folks!!!

  37. deyser: That “dumbass” was an 80 year old woman who suffered 3rd degree burns. And if your life is so dependant on the NFL being active on Sunday’s, you may want to re-examine your life.

  38. rashard, not sure if you just got back from an interplanetary deployment but the owners have answered your questin numerous times. Economic conditions have changed according to them. Labor costs, stadium costs, and other such associated costs have risen at a higher rate than their revenue. You can choose to believe that or not but they have clearly answered your question. If their statements are true, I also would have walked on the agreement, fully within their legal and contractual right. I don’t know how much money the owners are pocketing but I do know for an indisputable fact that players are making more than they ever have. I was very neutral on this issue until this week when it was revealed that the NFL had backed off of the 19 game schedule, offered 82 million over the next 2 years to retired players and offered a much improved health insurance plan and other safety concessions. To a lesser extent, I was impressed by the NFL reducing their initial demand of 1 billion back to 325 million. ( don’t know if the original figure was merely a negotiating tactic). All that said, where is the union now attempting to meet the owners half way on this? It is becoming more apparent that the union wanted to litigate in hopes of hitting the grand slam, anti-trust exemption lifted. I am no smarter than anybody else on here but I personally feel the union has miscalculated the political environment and now may end up with less than they had on the table at the beginning of this week.

  39. I posted this in a different thread but get used to seeing it.

    Today I listened to a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview with George Martin, a former NFLPA Executive Director who walked a picket line for 57 days, went through decertification and legal battles, etc. He’s also the current President of the NFL Alumni Association. Neither DeMaurice Smith nor anybody else from the NFLPA has talked to him about anything for over a year despite his offers of assistance and requests for information. He has not been made privvy to any details regarding any veterans’ provisions in what the NFL offered, not even any details about the proposed deal to take the savings from the proposed rookie salary schedule and give them to the vets.

    Here’s what DeMaurice Smith had to say after they left negotiations despite their negotiators still negotiating: “To our forefathers: Radovich, White, Mackey, McNeil, Duerson and Powell; I want you to know that the torch has been passed to Brady, Brees, Manning, Vrabel, Umenyiora, Leber, Mankins, Robison, Jackson, and a brave young Aggie prospect named Von Miller. The measure of our Association is the men and their families who fight for the only thing they can bestow to each other: a better game, a safer game and a recognition from those who own for common respect.”

    There’s your 2011 NFLPA.

  40. Luckywi: old age doesn’t excuse idiocy!

    The owners will always be able to find players willing to play and get paid handsome sums of money, but these spoiled entitled players won’t find owners willing to pay them to play. Maybe they should try out for the arena league or go to Canada. I can’t wait to go into work Monday and tell my boss I’m not working until I see the books! I’ll let y’all know how that works out!

  41. @saberstud75

    Your argument comparing football player salaries to military salaries is just about as stupid an argument as I have EVER heard. I’m a Vet and I can easily see how ignorant it is.

    here’s an idea … play the troops more.

    i swear this board is populated with inbreds.

  42. This jackass is the 180 degree oppisite of king midas you have seen my last dollar mikey,your father is spinning idiot

  43. diehardskinsfan21 says: Mar 12, 2011 6:34 PM

    Mr. Brown wasn’t in either the top 5 or the bottom 5 which puts his net worth somewhere between 310 million and 1.45 BILLION dollars. Doesn’t look like you have any problems going to the atm other than them not allowing you to take out enough money there Mikey. Quit your bitching you grump.

    Every one of his players make at least three hundred and twenty five freaking thousand dollars a (half) year for playing a game. I’ll go out on a limb here ad say that’s pretty fair. Call me crazy, I know.

  44. sc2115 says:
    Mar 12, 2011 6:32 PM

    Get this through your thick skull: the players were not complaining! This situation is 100% the result of the owners not being happy with merely being super rich and wanting to squeeze just a little bit more profit out of their sweet deal.
    No. Actually the players picked this fight back in 2006 when they bullied their way into an unsustainable deal that even their leadership has admitted was far more favorable to the players than to the owners. Some owners (Brown & Wilson) knew the deal would not work over the long run, so they put in the early out clause (that the players agreed to) and signed the extension so we could actually have football until now.
    Owners are constantly being bashed as greedy simply because they have lots of money. The players insist on their partnership and collectively take the lion’s share of the profits the league makes as a whole. These same players have no intention of “sharing” even 1 penny of their “personal” endorsement deals that would never be possible but for the NFL. If not for the NFL, how many endorsement deals would Peyton Manning have?….ZERO. To ignore a decent consession by the owners in order to try and get a better deal, handed out by a judge who favors their side, yet scream the other side is greedy is quite disingenuous. You need only look at the statements made by Smith over the past year to see that the players intent was in the courts all along. The fact they voted to decertify months ago, and the conference call made in the middle of negotiations, etc. further show their true intent. Even though Doty seems biased towards the players, it is by no means a done deal that they get what they want.

  45. That cheap jerk is ALL about the money. Of course the players were all about the money cause they’ll never get it out of him. He’s so tight he squeaks.

  46. @scudbot …

    And that means … what? Exactly what would talking to Martin have accomplished? We’d have a new CBA? What?

    Yes, it is 2011. Martin is not a member of the players association. He is not part of this negotiation. He has not been involved with this group of owners. He is not an attorney. The fact that the people and players involved in this didn’t get back to him doesn’t mean anything except that he fell through the cracks with people who have a lot on their plates. And I question the motives of a man who claims loyalty to the union but is on the radio bashing them when, by his own admission, he doesn’t know what they’re trying to work out for retired players or anything else that’s going on behind the scenes.

    All I’ve taken from your post is that George Martin is pissed he isn’t getting enough attention so he’s finding a way to put himself in the spotlight. There’s always a disgruntled George Martin on hand these days–a guy for whom it’s all about “me”–and a guy like you to help promote him. 🙄

  47. The owners were talking about locking out the players as early as 2008. You don’t that might have created the animosity and distrust that exists between the owners and players?

  48. You have owners (employers) and you have players (employees). The players, if they don’t like their owner, can leave and find another job. The owners will simply replace the departing player.


    I love how people try to compare this situation to the average workplace scenario in America. This isn’t McDonald’s. “Replacing employees” isn’t near as easy in the world of the NFL. You think it’s easy to replace guys like Manning, Brady, or Adrian Peterson? The NFL learned the hard way in 1987 that fans won’t accept scrubs playing in place of stars (but I doubt you were watching then). And the players are the product. They are the attraction. Without the players there is no NFL. Nobody is tuning in or buying tickets to hear Mike Brown’s thoughts on life. And i’m willing to be tnone of you are working jobs where you are your company’s product and lifeblood. It’s true that any of YOU could could be replaced without much difficulty at your jobs, but it’s not true of NFL players.

    I’m guessing alot of the clowns dissing the players are Fox News disciples who’ve been brainwashed to believe corporate fat cats are the cream of our society and how dare we question them.

    And for all you idiots blaming the players……the owners opted out of the current CBA, not the players. The owners were the ones illegally negotiating lockout insurance from the networks, not the players.

  49. I’m sick of hearing players say they can’t support their families making only $3 mil. a year. If you’re not happy with your salary, take your college degrees that you earned and get a real 9 to 5 like the rest us. The world doesn’t revolve around the NFL.

  50. I can’t believe I’m defending Mike Brown, but the owners have been upfront from the beginning that they want to make more money. I think his point is that the players tried to pretend they had the moral high ground because they were negotiating about retirement, health care, player safety, etc. However, when the owners ceded ground on all these issues, the players were disinterested. So I don’t think Mike Brown is saying the owners don’t care about money. He’s simply calling the players hypocrites, and he’s right.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!