Jim Irsay: Labor deal needs to get done by the Fourth of July


Colts owner Jim Irsay doesn’t think his fellow owners, or NFL players, can afford to wait several more weeks to hammer out a labor deal.

According to Irsay, there are going to be serious problems for the league if the lockout goes beyond about six more weeks.

“There’s a window where we can get something done,” Irsay told the Indianapolis Star, “but we really need to get something done by the Fourth of July or thereabouts so we can get in and have training camp and preseason and get ready that way. There has to be some real urgency to get this thing resolved and really have a full season with a training camp and preseason games. It would be very unfortunate if we get a deal done Oct. 1 that we could have gotten done on July 10. The losses are great if we start missing preseason games and early [regular-season] games.”

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much urgency. Irsay may think he and Jeff Saturday could sit down for dinner and work out a deal, but just about everyone else thinks there’s a lot more to it than that — and at this point, getting a deal done by the Fourth of July sounds optimistic.

24 responses to “Jim Irsay: Labor deal needs to get done by the Fourth of July

  1. The players and the owners can’t work out a deal. The lawyers won’t let them.

  2. Collectively the league’s position would take
    $1 billion away from the players share of profits. Nobody would accept such a proposal; and when the players turned it down they were locked out.

    The current leverage isn’t as unequal as some characterize it. The players ARE NFL football. The owners have the cash.

    Fans will side with players unless owners make concessions. If the owners DO make concessions, fans will expect players to reciprocate.

    If owners never make concessions, they will lose good will and a huge chunk of profits for years. That is truly the bottom line.

  3. Irsay is becoming one of the biggest embarrassments of the NFL.

    It would be best for his future to keep his mouth closed at all times.

  4. October 1 is the earliest chance of anything getting done. It’s what the players’ leadership wants.

    Why do we have to keep pointing out that the media is engaging in a fallacy when they things like… “neither side wants to damage the season”?

    Wrong. It’s wishful thinking in addition to closed eyes on media’s behalf. One side does want to damage the season, the players’ leadership.

    That’s exactly what De Smith wants. He has no problem using the anniversary of 9/11 and no football as a tool. This is who he is.

    He doesn’t care about the game, he wants victory. And all means are on the table in pursuing his victory. that includes the nuclear option of losing the season.

    All you have to do is listen to him. But our media has a conflict of identity. They feel the social warrior thing to do is trash ownership. Right vs wrong has no place in the journalism angle of all this.

    Media needs to stop treating this issue as an expression and metaphor for their own political point of view.

  5. Thanks, Jim. As I recall, Goodell told us a deal would be done by last Christmas. Then we were told a deal would be done by the Super Bowl in early February. Then by the time the CBA expired in March. Surely they were going to work it out before the draft in late April. And now you’re coming in with a phantom deadline of July 4.

    But the owners spent two years plotting their lockout strategy. During the couple of days the lockout was lifted and they were told to open facilities, they shrugged and declared “no habla ingles” until they could get an appellate court to reinstate it. Obviously your fellow owners do not share your enthusiasm for having a 2011 season. If they did, they would not have shut down the league.

    Yes, yes, boys, I know you think the union decertifying forced the owners to impose a lockout. But that doesn’t make it true. It’s a lockout, not a strike. And it could end tomorrow and return to the negotiating table if the owners wanted.

  6. The only way this mess may end this summer is if the 8th circuit upholds the lockout and the players tell Smith to make a deal. Otherwise, D. Smith’s plan is to litigate and transfer $$$ from the players to his legal buddies.

    Smith does not care about the players or the game. He just wants to win no matter the cost or who it hurts.

    FACT: D. Smith walked out of CBA negotiations, decertified the union, had certain players file suit, and then did not attend at least one court ordered mediation session.

    Fans, players, and PFT employees that treally want football need to tell D. Smith to get his butt into negotiations.

  7. from another PFT thread:

    jbcommonsense says:May 21, 2011 2:16 PM

    What the players ARE entitled to is to collectively bargain for a fair share of the profits.

    Collective bargaining requires two parties, one representing each side, to basically sit at a table and negotiate a solution. Since the players union decertified, there is no legitimate organization representing all the players for the NFL owners to sit and negotiate with.
    Settlement talks on a lawsuit filed by 10 players is not collective bargaining for the benefit of all players, but merely for the benefit of the ten players involved (and of course, their attorneys)

    In all your wisdom and apparent knowlege of labor law, please advise all us dummies in the world what entity representing the players the owners are supposed to negotiate with?

  8. Neither side is entitled to anything. Free markets will drive the ultimate outcome if the players do not capitulate.

    There is no legal way to auction off human beings in a draft that is setup by an oligarchy. No college player need support the draft moving forward. They are free to negotiate with any team, regardless of NFL rules that hold no water when challenged.

    Free markets is the way. Contracts are then negotiated based on true economics of the game.

    If you cannot afford football in Buffalo then… wait for it… you cannot afford football in Buffalo.

    Free markets. It is true capitalism. What the NFL is smells of socialism… oligarchy.

    But… whatever. MLS is on tonight. Go Sounders!

  9. Walk away players, please!

    If you can let this go. If you can find solace in life without the attraction of the money, fame, adrenalin, you will have found something precious.

    Regardless of what happens in this labor strife, careers in football are short. So, walk away now. Take a deep breath, discover what you are meant to learn in life, and go learn that lesson.

    Life without football may, in fact, be a blessing.

    Walk away. Not in spite. Not in protest. But with compassion and grace.

    Walk away.

  10. Deb wrote:
    “Yes, yes, boys, I know you think the union decertifying forced the owners to impose a lockout.”

    Deb, for once I agree with you! This is the first sign of the Apocalypse!! I do think the union decertified forcing the owners to impose a lockout.

    The owners anticipated De Mo Reece’s strategy of filing an anti-trust lawsuit if Federal Court. Takes about four years to be decided, eh?

    It’s the players* who walked away, Deb.

  11. True power comes from what is enjoyed without attachment.

    Players true power is in their ability to play or not play. Victory lies in the transparent willingness to walk away. Action in supporting such a position will go far in silent negotiation.

    Sitting and waiting makes an NFL player no different than a junkie. Whether it be drugs, video games, sex, etc. Eventually the fix is too great to avoid.

    Find your next career now. Lose your attachment. Win your victory.

  12. nflfan101 says:
    The only way this mess may end this summer is if the 8th circuit upholds the lockout and the players tell Smith to make a deal.

    That’s the polar opposite of the truth.

    If the court rules in favor of the players the lockout is lifted, the players get back to work, and the season gets played.

  13. Wow! Jim Irsay is one of the more sane owners in the NFL!

    Hey Tony Kornheiser, the next time you call Irsay a bozo get a collective bargaining agreement solution that’s better than his!!!!!!

    But Tony, I forgot!!! You had no time!!!! He was too busy watching a meaningless show like … American Idol!!! [Just picture Korny saying “IDOL BABY!!!!! A) It has truly happened. B) PFT viewers would want Jim Irsay to B-Slap him!!!].

  14. @palinforpresident …

    You mean you are one of the twits who’s embraced a simplistic and erroneous version of these events because it fits your own narrow views and who ridicules the NFLPA leader in an ignorant, racist manner? Nahhh. 🙄

  15. The owners created this division. The players haven’t demanded anything. The owners’ contingent repeatedly failed to show up to negotiations for months prior to March. They were planning their lockout strategy for two years and intended to illegally fund it with what were supposed to be shared revenues.

    The owners refused a compromise proposal from the players submitted weeks before the deadline. The owners held their last proposal until just a few hours before the players would have lost their option to decertify–which was their only hope of blocking a lockout. That proposal did not even address several areas of contention. The players decertified because it was the only strategy open to them. The owners did not have to implement the lockout just because the players union decertified. Although negotiations would have been more complicated, they still could have continued working through mediation to reach an agreement.

    The backstory to all this is that some of the owners want to function as independent businesses without antitrust exemptions, drafts, or free-agency rules. The players are trying to gain leverage, but those owners want their lawsuits to be successful because they want to change the way the league operates.

    Much more is going on here some players demanding more and striking to get it–which is what half the commenters seem to think. The players aren’t demanding anything, nor are they on strike. The players didn’t bid their salaries into the millions, and their salaries have nothing to do with ticket prices. The owners determine what players are paid and what fans pay. And they’ve held the power in this situation from the get-go. They could stop it if they wanted. They know that even if you don’t.

  16. Deb….that was one of the better posts on this issue I’ve seen on any website! I have the same opinion as you in that the owners are the real problem, not the players….though I don’t like D.Smith, at all.

  17. @tommyf15 – It’s you who has it backwards. If the players win, then they won’t accept any offer from the NFL — they will have more leverage and suddenly a small slice of the pie won’t be enough. The owners have already made two offers (essentially the same offer twice) and the players have not made a counter offer. Why? Because their reps are telling them they are winning. Heck, Drew Brees publicly has said he’s under the impression they have won the last few rounds in court. So if the 8th circuit comes down hard on them, the players will get the picture and come back with a counter offer. And then a deal will get done.

    I think the big problem is that the players don’t really care if they destroy the NFL over the long haul — they are only in it for 5 more years or so on average. So as long as they get paid a lot more, they really won’t care that they transform the NFL into a league with no parity like MLB. The owners are in it for a much longer haul and know that the NFL has been so successful precisely because they give the fans more parity — that a team in a small market like Pittsburgh can compete with a NY team year after year — and hometown heroes, thanks to restrictive free agency rules — so you don’t have to root for 53 new people each year (like some baseball teams which pretty much have become farm teams for the rest of the league). The game is good now, and will only stay that way if the players are “forced” to negotiate for a raise rather than push the antitrust issue. They will get a raise, and will get veteran post-retirement benefits at the expense of crazy rookie payments — I suspect that is what’s on the table right now. But they want more. And if the court finds in their favor they will want even more than that. We are looking at short term players versus long term owners. The fans need what is best in the long term. The players only win if what is best in the short term happens. So if they prevail in this round of litigation, it’s bad for the fans.

  18. Irsay and the Colts have a huge vested interest in getting this thing done quickly. They have a 35 year old hall of fame QB that is about to head into the downside of his career and he has defined their marketing campaigns and their team for most of it’s history in Indy.

    The Colts could easily be on the precipice of an enormous decline alongside Peyton Manning and every day that he is outside the organizational structure increases the chances that he won’t be as effective when he returns. A missed season would be disastrous for him and the Colts at this point.

  19. This thing is getting uglier everyday. Dont see any light at the end of this long, dark road. D Smith is pretty set on seeing this season down the drain. And the owners will shut down the NFL, or release every player and start over. There has been no mediation, no common ground, no nothing. What else can the owners do ?
    If the players believe they are partners, then they should begin to act like partners who share all expenses as well as profits. Yeah right !!

  20. @rickyoung1212 …

    Thank you. I’m not a big fan of Smith’s myself. He comes across as combative, which doesn’t make for a smooth negotiator. I think they’d have been much better off with David Cornwell in that position.

    @palinforpresident …

    I’m sure any attempt at following logic makes you dizzy, and most kids laugh when they get dizzy. Would you like me to sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” before your nap?

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