As NFL Players Association leadership meets in Los Angeles to further discuss the pending proposal from the NFL for a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement based on a 17-game season, most are mum about the situation. One league source has informed PFT, however, that the Executive Committee delegation and members of the board of player representatives are continuing to resist the concept of an extra game.
As previously reported and explained, the negotiating teams representing the league and the union have struck a deal subject to approval by their clients. The NFLPA’s approval process consists of the Executive Committee recommending the proposal to the board of player reps, two-thirds of the board approving the deal, and then 50 percent plus one of the roughly 1,900 dues-paying members of the union accepting the contract. Based on meetings occurred last Thursday and this Thursday, the NFLPA is having a harder time selling the deal than expected.
Meanwhile, both NFLPA spokesman George Atallah and Steelers representative Ramon Foster have disputed on Twitter the report from Dan Graziano of ESPN that the NFL has provided the union with a “rough deadline” of March 18 to accept the deal.
“NOT TRUE!!!!! NOT TRUE,” Foster said on Twitter. “This is a complicated deal and to say we are rushed to complete a deal is a lie. Whoever told you this lie, don’t trust them around your kids or in your house.”
Reminded that the comment comes from an ESPN report, Foster said, “Don’t trust ESPN producers and experts to watch your kids or home then. It’s a bold lie. This is arguably the biggest deal for time to come and you think we are going to rush this. That’s a hard no. Sorry. Fan of ur page though. No malice but we can’t let this be the narrative.”
Said Atallah, “Simply put, this report is not true.”
Here’s what is true: The ball is on the tee for a 10-year CBA. The union has to decide whether to kick it, or to walk away. And then if the union walks away, the NFL will have to decide what to do next, at a time when both sides want to turn to a renegotiation of the billions-dollars contracts with the various networks.
UPDATE 7:13 p.m. ET: A prior version of this item attributed the “rough deadline” report to Schefter, who tweeted a link to the story. The byline on the story belongs to Dan Graziano. The story has since been edited to remove the “rough deadline” language, and to explain that “both sides would prefer to have a deal in place soon so that changes in the CBA structure could go into effect at the start of the new league year on March 18.” The original “rough deadline” language can still be seen by Googling “rough deadline ESPN.com Dan Graziano.”