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Reports: NFLPA moves to decertify union

Post by Eric Williams on March 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm with 123 Comments »
March 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the NFLPA has filed decertification papers in the courts, considered a precursor to allow individual players to file antitrust lawsuits and keep the league from moving to lockout players.

It’s been widely reported that Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning take the lead as players who would participate in such a filing.

This occurred about 15 minutes after NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith issued a short, prepared statement to reporters stating the following:

“How are you? We met with the owners until about 4 o’clock today. We discussed a proposal that they had presented. At this time, significant differences continue to remain.

“We informed the owners that significant difference remained, that if there was going to be a request for an extension, that was asked for 10 years of audited financial records to accompany any extension. We told them to please let us know by 5pm (ET) today. We’re going to head back to the office, and I’m sure we’ll have a further comment later on.”

And here’s an announcement from the NFPLA:

“The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League.

The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players.”

So here we go. It appears this battle between the two groups over how to divide around $9 billion in revenue will now move onto the courts.

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Leave a comment Comments → 123
  1. Well, at least we still have the Lingerie Football League.

  2. This was a mistake by “The Man” to let it come to this. This will be the first time in a long time “The Man” doesn’t get his way because Judge Doty is very sympathetic to The Union position.

    If it were politicians or Ben Bernanke deciding “The Man’s fate, “The Man” should ask to keep at least 75% of all revenues because he would certainly get it from these parties.

  3. Dukeshire says:

    It is a mistake. The league has had two years to work with the union since they opted out of the (soon-to-be) expired CBA. But Doty’s court will not be the only one to hear the myriad off lawsuits that will be filed. The league is counting on that.

    Why the owners agree to a 60% / 40% in ’06 is beyond me. They have only themselves to blame.

  4. chuck_easton says:

    I hate to say it but I’m on the owners side on this one. The final offer made by the league was very fair

    No 18 game season OTA cut from 14 days to ten. Team mandated workouts reduced. Less contact in practice.

    The NFLPAs demand for 10 years of audited books or no deal was beyond dumb.

    So the players will now file their anti trust lawsuit in Minnesota because they think the judge there is pro player. That. Judge is pro Vikings and now that there isn’t a Vikings team to be a fan of he will come down heavily on the players

  5. This would be a great time to get the USFL going again!

  6. hawkdawg says:

    If Pash’s recitation of the offer the Union refused at the end is accurate, I think the Union is going to lose public sympathy votes pretty quickly here….

  7. The CBA does not expire till 11:59PM tonight. If it expires the trade organization can only represent PRESENT and PAST NFL PLAYERS!

    If that happens,I look for the owners to petition a federal court in EVERY NFL city to become an AT-WILL EMPLOYER for FUTURE NFL PLAYERS!

    Next, Wanted 1,800 Football players to play NFL Football with an INDIVIDUAL PROFIT SHARING PLAN!

  8. Dukeshire says:

    chuck_easton – The owners have lied, colluded and cheated the players (according to Judge Doty). How can the players give close to a billion dollars a year back without having a very basic question answered; why?

    Jeff Pash is VP of Labor, one of the heaviest heavyweight lawyers the league has. He has a very sincere motivation to skew the offer to the public so if reflects well on the league. Just as Smith does for the players. And considering how the league has behaved to this point, I wouldn’t trust him any further that I could throw him.

  9. chuck_easton says:


    As a lawyer I can tell you for every lawsuit you hope for a judge sympathetic to your position. The players have that in Doty. Problem is the first thing the league is going to do is petition to have Doty removed as his previous decision shows bias towards one side. He’ll e removed. The next judge may not be as favorable for the players.

    Every lawyer knows a trial is a role of the dice which is why you try to settle. Most lawsuits never make it to court.

  10. The NFL is a private business, they don’t have to show their financial records if they so desire. The thing I think is funny on the players reps is about how this sport is so hard on the players, it deffinantly is but the last I checked this game was not mandatory. When you are in the NFL you know the risks that are involved and you do it for the money. I get a chuckle when players say they play it for the love of the game, if you didn’t have the millions of dollars you would not be saying that. When formal SF coach was asked about veteran and current players benefits he said all players get paid pretty decent so if you want more coverage go get extra coverage outside of the nfl,plain and simple. This is billionaires vs millionaires. The players are relying on Judge Doty to be in favor of the players in court which has happen before but if he doesn’t it could be huge for the owners.

  11. Dukeshire says:

    chuck_easton – I’m not arguing that, at all. Aside from potential recusement (which I doubt), as suit and counter-suit are filed, in the 8th circuit and elsewhere, there will be many hands in this litigation, I understand that. I only use the Doty example above as something tangible the players can hang their (rightfully founded) distrust of the owners on.

    My point is, that without the players knowing just how much money is at stake (that is, how much the league is alleging will be lost under the current CBA), how can they possibly know if the league’s offer was fair?

  12. Dukeshire says:

    On a much larger scale, I do not believe the players are “relying” on Doty to continue to rule in their favor. Players were taking votes to decertify during training camp last summer. His ruling last week certainly bolsters their confidence, but they were prepared for this long before his judgement came down, rightly or otherwise.

  13. chuck_easton says:

    I’m also not totally convinced the owners minded the Doty ruling, other than it cost them the Lockout insurance. They will make that up by not paying salaries.

    But I can say that any attempt by the players to go back before Doty will lead to the owners making application to have him removed. He has already given a decision, even if in the very narrow scope of the lockout insurance, that indicates he does not appear ‘to the reasonable person’ (the actual legal term for all cases of judicial bias…I know I’ve one one and lost one) that he can continue to be impartial.

    Also, now that we are talking something more on my turf and not football, I would have to believe that if/when this goes to the Supreme Court the owners have a much better chance. Just based on the current judicial make-up of the Supreme Court.

  14. It will be interesting how this plays out. I can’t see the owners and players not coming to some type of agreement eventually. 9 billions is a lot of cash to be playing russian roulette with and the future reputation of the NFL brand. I take the owners side on this whole debacle, has the NFL made some error judgement, yes along with the players as well but in the end I think the owners should get the money they have asked for. There are very few businesses where the owner and employees are 60/40 or even 50/50 split in revenue sharing.

  15. hawkdawg says:


    Neither you nor I know how much the owners offered to share with the players. Your question regarding how the players could possibly agree to the owners’ demands for more money when they don’t know enough about the owners’ financial situations therefore implcitly assumes that Smith is giving us the straight scoop as to whether the owners have indeed offered enough information. I smell bias.

    But that’s not the only issue in dispute. And the other offers made by the owners, which Pash explicitly detailed in the press conference outside the mediator’s building this afternoon, struck me as pretty darn fair.

    We’ll see how it shakes out, PR wise. But the players may now be fighting an uphill battle here. If they care.

  16. chuck_easton says:

    And so it begins:

    Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, seven others file antitrust suit

    Now I can see the 9 NFL players being part of the lawsuit, but Von Miller is taking a big chance. He’s not even an NFL player yet and he files a lawsuit.

    What NFL team is not going to worry about an undrafted rookie suing them as a whole?

  17. freedom_X says:

    Most of the legal analysis I read doesn’t say Doty is sympathetic to the players. It says he’s even handed – some wins for players, some wins for owners. Look at his decisions and tell me if they don’t make sense, or look like Doty is a communist sympathizer.

    Personally, if my employer wants me to take pay cuts, I want to see financial evidence that it is justified. If that evidence isn’t provided, it’s up to me whether I take the cut and keep working, or accept being fired.

    The players have made their choice. It’s the same situation. They, like us, would keep working under the same “wage.”

  18. chuck_easton says:


    I’m not saying Doty isn’t fair. I’m just saying the league now has the ammunition to attempt to have him removed.

    If you sue your boss and the judge that is hearing one portion of the case rules against you (or for you) would you feel at all comfortable going back before that same judge with the same parties and have them make another ruling? No.

    That is the legal definition of judicial bias. Anything a trior of fact says or does that would lead a reasonable man (yes it’s a case from the time before gender equality) to believe that the Jugde may be partial to one argument over the other is grounds for having that judge removed from the case.

    It doesn’t mean the you have to prove the judge is biased you just have to show that the judge ‘appears’ to be biased.

    Is Doty biased? I don’t know, I haven’t been before him and I haven’t read any of his other decisions. I can just predict the argument that MAY likely be used by the league to have him removed from the case before he can make any other rulings.

    Now if Doty had ruled in favor of the league in his last ruling you could bet that it would be the Player’s lawyers seeking to have him removed. Goes both ways.

  19. freedom_X says:

    Got it. And it is undisputable that the owners are unhappy with Doty, and would like to get it under someone else’s jurisdiction. No question about that.

  20. Chuck_Easton

    Good info on the legal ramification on what if scenarios.

  21. Dukeshire says:

    hawkdawg – I couldn’t disagree more with you. I no way am I presuming or implying Smith spoke without bias regarding the league’s financial disclosures. What I do know however, is that if a labor union is asked to give money back, the representatives of said union have a responsibility to learn as much as they need to about the financial solvency of ownership, in order to judge what’s fair. This includes ownership disclosing audited statements, id requested. This clearly hasn’t happened and the owners have stated on several occasions they are unwilling to “open the books” as it were, to the union. Without information, how can they possibly know what a “fair” deal is? Taking the league at their word is irresponsible and foolish, IMO.

  22. Dukeshire says:

    chuck – I totally agree with your assessment of the Supreme Court.

  23. 4 Hours and counting down to CPA expiation and NO PLAYERS UNION!

  24. I hate the owners and I hate the thousandaires. I’d call the players millionaires, but a majority of people know full well that most NFL players don’t make a million dollars per season. The owners are greedy pigs and the players make a hell of a lot more than the average person. To top it off, if you’re an idiot like Cromartie, Dockett, etc. you’re probably too stupid to hold a real job for any length of time so you should be happy to make more than most people on earth. Both sides lose. Both sides claim to care about the fans, buy you know they are not telling the truth. How can you tell when they are being liars? Their lips are moving. This process is sickening and I’m fed up with it!

  25. chuck –
    If the union is dissolved, how does the NFLPA have standing? Is there a contractual obligation between each player and the association that survives the union, or is it just that the NFLPA is only acting as counsel for each of the former members of the union by agreement between each player and the NFLPA?

    Could imagine opening books might give some kinda ammo to ‘upset’ players sicking the IRS on owners as a kinda pay-back (or reward)?

  26. I hope we don’t hear that, like Mubarik, after he refuses to recuse himself, the next day we hear that Doty will not hear the case, and the day after that, for some unknown reason Doty is in a coma.

  27. maddog12 says:

    I am a union employee. I have a college degree but I don’t need that to tell me that the millionaires are going to hit the wall before the billionaires. The advantage here is always to the one with the deeper pockets. There are a lot of scenarios that can get played out.

    There is now no union. That will be a major point the owners will make and use. I don’t see how the players win. I don’t think the financial s will be forced to be disclosed. Time and money is on the owners side. While I sympathize with the players I won’t bet against the owners. The giant mortgages the players have will still have to be paid the entourage will need to be fed. What I think is going to happen is that before this is over the players will have the terms dictated to them under which some can keep being millionaires and if they don’t like the terms, well someone else will step up and be a millionaire in their place.

    I don’t like it but that is what I think is going to happen. At the moment the players are full of themselves but this will be a marathon and the owners can run the 26 miles. Some players can make it five, some ten, a few fifteen and a very few 20. All the owners can make the full 26. The players will figure this out and we will have football it will just take a while.

    In the mean time if I was Charlie Whitehurst I’d be trying to get my guys together and organize some kind of practice somewhere. Sark could offer UW’s facilities. The players and coaches I hope are remaining on friendly terms and should be ready to go at a moments notice.

  28. OCHawkFan says:

    Its more of a risk/reward issue for me. The owners, unlike the players, are running a business. They run the risk that league revenues may not cover expenses (ie administrative, gauranteed portion of players salaries, etc.). The players, on the other hand, just have to show up and play to get paid per their contracts, regardless of team revenues.
    From my understanding, the owners have provided the union 5 yrs of audited profitability information to the union. That dataset should be enough to get a feel for the league financial position.
    My theory is that the union is using the financial statement argument to hold this up in litigation. At which point Doty can give the red light to the Lockout and they’d be stuck with the 2010 CBA until a new one can be hammered out.

  29. Dukeshire says:

    klm – Mubarak and Doty? What are you trying to say?

  30. Now that the owners don’t have the lockout insurance payments which they thought they had, the owners have lost a lot of their leverage.

    They were willing to sacrifice the season because they thought the players would cave once the paychecks stopped coming. But now the owners are just as likely to cave when they are unable to service their debt and go into default.

  31. maddog12 says:

    Klm I don’t think the owners need to put horse heads in beds or have Doty sleep with the fish. As Chuck E said…they will just try to change the judge or do it on appeal. Doty is only the first judge to hear this matter…he won’t be the last (and that is regardless of who he sides with in the first round).

  32. This bites, but I am not at all surprised. The owners will blink no later then 4 games into the regular season.

  33. 1 hour and counting down to no CBA and No standing for the PLAYERS UNION!

  34. hawkdawg says:


    I’ll try again. You do not know what the owners were offering to disclose. You do not know that the Union needed fully audited complete financial statements to discern whether the owners’ offer was fair. You are implicitly buying the Union’s arguments that the owners did not disclose enough. You don’t know that. Very few people know it, and none of us are among them.

  35. CyberCowboy777 says:

    Players got greedy on the 10years… or they planned to de certify the entire time…

  36. There is no nfl CBA. The NFL will invoke It’s right under the RIGHT TO WORK statutes to hire replacement workers for the 2011 NFL season.

    The NFL will abbrogate It’s contract with the TV networks, and reword it to broadcast FUTURE NFL PLAYERS and REPLACEMENT PLAYER GAMES! for the 2011 NFL season. Thus giving Doty nothing to rule on.

    The NFL will not use the term LOCKOUT , Instead they will offer a contract to anyone that wants to play NFL football in 2011.

    The NFL will hold It’s ROSTER RE-STOCKING DRAFT as scheduled for ANYONE who wants to play NFL football in 2011.

  37. In your scenario, Osbrey, what does the NFL do when they are in default of their debt and bank loans which specify a certain level of revenues and profitability must be maintained? Their revenues will decrease by a minimum of 50% with replacement players. Do they give their entire operation over to the creditors?

  38. Pabuwai,
    There is no CBA Everything before 12:00 AM is null and void!

  39. I think that the union is being stupid on this one. IF, oh big IF, the items on are accurate.

    What they don’t state – is what other items are not listed. But the concessions seemed pretty fair to me.

    No 18 game schedule – health care – higher cap – rookie scale the union wanted . . .

    I am not saying I totally agree with the owners either ( I have been against them the whole way) but for me this doesn’t look good for the union to pass up!!

  40. The NFL conveniently left out how much money they wanted the players to give back on their concessions list.

  41. It does not not matter the union rejected the NFL’S final offer ,which was more than fair!

  42. Like others have mentioned I think the people ie owners with bigger pockets will win this in the end. If somehow the owners where to get replacement players (even though the product on the field would be lower) the players would eventually cross the line. Saints head coach Sean Peyton was a scab qb in the last lockout.

  43. How can there be a scab,there is no union, they can’t evan put up a picket line!

  44. MattandCindy says:

    It’s not like I’m on the side of the fat-cat owners…but it sure looks like, to me anyway, that the union had litigation in their sights the entire time.

    P.S. – Does DeMaurice Smith seem like a huge prick, or is it just me???

  45. Osbrey-

    Scab in terms of crossing the imaginary line and giving into the owners and playing along replacement players. It is just hypothetical, I don’t see this going into chaos beyond a few months, there is too much money to be loss and the reputation of the NFL is at stake.

  46. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    sorry duke, but I completely disagree with you on this. What on earth does the last 10 years financials have to do with revenue sharing next year, or coming years?


    And I still can’t buy your statement that the players union has to “give back” a billion dollars. It’s not their money, it’s the owner’s money. The owners don’t have to show financials to justify it to the players union. The only criteria for determining if the owners are getting enough of the pie is the opinion of the owners.

    I’ve read the owner’s latest proposal. It was reasonable, and it’s clear the owners have moved toward the NFLPA’s position in a number of items. The fact that we’re in this spot after that proposal because the owners didn’t publish the last 10 years financials for each team is just plain stupid. It’s none of the NFLPA’s business what the financials were for the last 10 years. The only thing that matters is their share of the pie moving forward.

    Anyone who really understood this situation knew the NFLPA had the upper hand in this process until game checks start getting missed. That’s not happening in March. It’s easy to say the owners lied to the NFLPA by getting guaranteed TV revenues even if there was a work stoppage should consider the other side of the coin too. The Union has no real sense of urgency to clear this up in the forseeable future because it’s the teams/owners who are losing out right now, not the players. The guaranteed revenue was really the only equalizer.

  47. Dukeshire says:

    CHawkFanIn9erLand – The past financial statements have to do with the fact the owners are trying to take back nearly $1 billion a year that they agreed to pay the players in the previous CBA in ’06. And once the league agreed to pay the players, it’s no longer their money, it’s the players’. And one would be a fool IMO, to give back money that was agreed upon simply because ownership says they need to. The owners are claiming that a downward trend has developed that they cannot sustain moving forward. Well, let’s see the proof say the players.

    hawkdawg – I agree you none of us know exactly what was disclosed. Nor is that really my point. I stand behind my belief that if the players are asked to give back a portion of the revenue they have been contractually given, they have an obligation to be as informed as possible before agreeing (or having any idea) to what is fair.

  48. Well, they aren’t “giving back” anything, if you mean that literally, since the old contract was expiring, and the new one was being negotiated.

    But more importantly, the players have an “obligation”, if you want to call it that, to be informed sufficiently to make an informed decision. We do not know whether the owners’ offer of information was sufficient for such a decision. Maybe it wasn’t. But maybe the Union demanded more than it needed, so that it could use that as a pretext to tube the talks and get to court.

    Perhaps we’ll know the truth some day. But I for one am not prepared to say I do right now. I have my suspicions, but not enough evidence.

  49. A company tells their employees that they need to take a paycut and the employees ask why? The company can say they are in financial trouble or say nothing. The employee can take the paycut or go elsewhere for employment. The NFL opted out of the CBA in 2008 so as of right now all prior agreements are non existent. So when the owners asking for a billion off the top they have every right to do that. This is not a 50/50 partnership as the PA rep is trying to portray. The players didn’t give any of their own money towards new stadiums, etc. The owners are the executives of the NFL business and the players are the employees. Players are going to lose this battle…

  50. OCHawkFan says:

    dacmike: While overall I side mostly with the owners, this is the one point I side with the players The NFL is a true monopoly; there is no where else for the players to go for employment.
    The NFL has been willing to send the financial info to an agreed upon 3rd Party to be audited for profitability. I dont understand why this isnt an agreeable compromise for the NFLPA? And 10 yrs? Really? The economic landscape has changed so much, I dont understand what financial information pre 2006 will tell them. It seems more and more that the NFLPA believes litigation is preferable over negotiation.

  51. Dukeshire says:

    hawkdawg – I presume you know what I mean when I (and the players) are saying they are being asked to “give back”. That is, they are being asked to take / accept / agree to a smaller share of the revenue than they were receiving under the previous CBA.

    And the obligation doesn’t fall on the players necessarily but rather those negotiating for them, in my estimation. And as I acknowledged before, you are correct, we don’t know exactly what was disclosed. But if the argument now, is that the union was bent on decert. regardless and wanted an excuse to get this into the courts, I won’t engage in that. While I don’t believe that was the case, either view is pure conjecture and speculation. But we do know as a matter of fact that for nearly 2 years, the league refused to grant the union’s requests for financial transparency. What they revealed at the end, listening to Pash and Smith, their perspective on that information couldn’t be more different.

    ESPN just ran a piece where Pash listed the league’s offer and it sounded reasonable. They immediately cut to Smith discussing the offer and it sounded thoroughly unreasonable. Perspective. The two descriptions of the deal couldn’t have been more different.

  52. chuck_easton says:


    I think this is one of those RARE times when you are going to find yourself on the ‘wrong’ side of the argument. And by wrong I mean the more unpopular side.

    Public sentiment is coming down hard on the players.

    Could it just be the owners have better PR? Yup, you betcha but the owners are being seen as the victims.

    Case in point, another blog site just ran a poll on who people blame. The results are:

    20.04% Owners
    41.07% Players
    38.62% Both
    .28% Neither

    So, twice as many people blame the players over the owners and more people blame the players than say both are at fault.

    I would have at least thought that the BOTH option would have been the higher choice, but it’s the players.

  53. I just voted on that site against the owners. PFT? Although I had a hard time not clicking “both.” I wish there was some way most fans could simply boycott the NFL for half of a season. No fans at games (obviously not paying for concessions then). No fans watching (sadly, I doubt I could do this… part of the reason they have us by the balls). Nothing.

    Randomly – I’m sick of hearing it’s billionaires vs. millionaires. Why do people continue to say that when most NFL players don’t make a million dollars?

  54. If a player is in the league at least three years they would have made over a million dollars. And with signing bonuses, roster bonuses, and players that make the playoffs, the majority of the players are considered millionaires. So for the most part it is millionaires vs billionaires.

  55. chuck_easton says:


    Did you realize there is only one real Billionaire owner? And guess who he is?

  56. Dukeshire says:

    Chuck – I’m beginning to see that as well. lol. It’s interesting, I bet if you took a poll even as little as 72 hours ago, the owner / player %s would have been just the opposite.

  57. So you’re saying the Eagless paid Owen Schmitt over a million dollars last year? I think not.

  58. Those polls that come down on the side of the owners are no surprise and almost pointless to run.

    Most fans will generally come down on the side of the owners, because for some strange reason, fans feel a kinship with NFL owners. Maybe its because fans use the terms “we” and “our” when referring to NFL teams when owners are really the only one who can use that term. Or maybe its because owners remain constant while players come and go. Or maybe because fans actually think they have a better chance at being an NFL owner than a player.

    Owners have created a business where people actually care if they are paying too much to an employee due to the concept known as the salary cap. How many people on this board get upset when they think a player is overpaid because it will hurt the team but how many people on this board get upset when an NFL owner jacks a city for stadium funding, doubles your cost of NFL ST, tickets and parking so they can accrue the next $1B of franchise values.

    The bottom line is – the owners would have to be completely in the wrong for the fans to side with the players. The owners have legalized crack and generally the fans are too far gone to understand this.

  59. chuck_easton says:

    Richest Owner

    Paul Allen – Seahawks $13.5 Billion

    Next in line

    Stephen Ross – Dolphins $3.4 Billion

    The majority of NFL Owners are ‘Only’ millionaires. Maybe we should take up a collection?

  60. I don’t understand the math on this board. If a player earns $1.5 million or more in NFL salary over the course of his career, how have they pocketed $1 million of those earnings to be a millionaire?

  61. Dukeshire says:

    pabuwal – Well said and I couldn’t agree more (owners / players take).

  62. chuck_easton says:

    And BobbyK,

    The remaining 9 or so Billionaire Owners barely break the Billion mark at or around $1.1 Billion. How can they afford to feed their families?

    What is truly sad is all these ‘millionaire’ players who finish their career and in a few short years are having to declare bankruptcy.

    JaMarcus Russell is having his 3.4 million dollar home in the Oakland hills foreclosed on for not paying the mortgage.

    I don’t know. Give me a million dollars and (even after taxes) I could make that money last my whole life. But then I don’t do things like drop $100,000.00 on a bar tab in one night at the NBA allstar game like one Vikings DL man just did. I’d actually invest it for my retirement.

  63. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Duke, I understand the premise you’re basing your opinion on, I just disagree with it. I think we can go back and forth on that for weeks and not get anywhere. My point is that the books for the last 10 years don’t matter. If the owners dont’ want to give up 60%, that’s all that matters. They don’t want = they don’t want to. I think everybody in the entire world who has heard of “NFL” understands that the owners and league aren’t going bankrupt under the old CBA. Furthermore, the NFLPA isn’t decertifying because players will be unable to afford Oat Meal at a measly 50% of revenue. I think we all get the idea, both sides want as much money as possible.

    That being said, yeah, the union showed it’s true feathers yesterday by leaving the negotiating table and refusing to return unless they got 100% of what they wanted. Reading that offer from the league/owners, you can tell they have moved QUITE A BIT toward the NFLPA’s position on the key issues. There was a lot of compromise there. A lot of people looked at that and determined that the union really had no motivation to strike a deal at this time. They planned all along to take this to the courts. You’ve mentioned the “bad faith” on the part of the owners due to the TV deals they struck. I think what we’ve seen from the union is a big reason behind the creation of that deal.

  64. chuck – you and I have brains in our heads. We’d be fine with a million dollars. lol The same can’t be said of JaMarcus Russell (having a real, working brain in his head).

    I have lost a lot of sympathy for the players recently, but I still have a hard time supporting the owners. What every single one of us is going through right now sucks.

    We have 11 billionaire owners, many millionaire players (guys who will never make a million bucks in a year — and certainly less than even the “poorer” NFL players) and we’re the ones getting screwed over.

  65. I actually don’t think you guys can live the rest of your lives on a million dollars without a job.

    If you were to receive a lump sum of $1m, at least 50% will go to taxes. That leaves you with $500K. If you are 35, you are telling me you can live another 40 years on a mere $500K or $12.5K a year?

  66. That came out wrong — we, as fans, will never make what even most thousandaire NFL players make in a season. Let alone the crazy prices a guy like Curry makes (for sucking). But I have a hard time for the “woe is me” owner. I’m my patience has run it’s course with the “woe is me” player too.

  67. chuck_easton says:


    Of course I’d keep working. That’s why I said I’d invest it towards my retirement which, at my age of 47, is still 18 years or so away.

    What I’d also do that NFL players don’t seem to be able to do, is realize that you have to live today in a manner within your means and not go around spending just because you have a few more zeros in your bank ledger than the average person. Some day those paychecks with all the zeros before the decimal point are going to end.

    Look how many people manage to live on a salary of $50,000.00 (or less) and still manage to stay away from declaring bankruptcy.

  68. Dukeshire says:

    CHawkFanIn9erLand – Of course you’re right, we could keep going back and forth all day. We just see the situation differently and our “sympathies” lay in different camps. The last thing I want is to get into arguments with people on here about this and have all manor or rancorous posts directed at one another. It’s a horrible situation that could have and should have been avoided. And ultimately we all just want the same thing; football.

  69. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Pabuwal … I think the owners have earned some goodwill for a few reasons …

    The owners didn’t become rich be being owners. They got rich, most were fans, and then bought a team.

    The fans understand that the players aren’t the NFL, anymore than a steel worker isn’t the steel industry. The steel workers were willing to keep working, but the owners had to shut it down due to profitability. It’s the owner’s company, not the employees’

    Not a whole lot of headlines about owners raping/assaulting drunken teenage girls while the girl’s friends were trying to rescue her but bodyguards prevented them.

    The owners are easier to relate to. They built something. Paid for something. Own something. The players play a sport for exorbitant amounts of money.

    The players get this huge sum of money, and then blow it on very undisciplined lifestyles.

    But you know what, all that contributes, but it’s a lot more basic than that in it’s core. Players move on. Get traded, get hurt, retire, etc. A hated player can join our team, and become part of the family once he starts making plays for us. That’s because this isn’t a league of a bunch of players that we follow. It’s a leage made up of a team we follow. We don’t follow the player to their new team. We remain fans of the team. The players aren’t the team. The players aren’t the league. The team is the team, and the teams are the league.

    I guess that’s easy to forget.

  70. Dukeshire says:

    In fairness, isn’t the highest tax rate set at 35% right now. Chuck just earned an additional $150,000. Atta boy!

  71. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Amen Duke.

  72. Dukeshire says:

    I’m not sure how many people are able to relate to Jerry Jones or Al Davis any more than Mike Vick or Terrell Owens.

  73. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    LOL Pabuwal, I could live for the rest of my life on a million dollars without working. Even a journeyman investment advisor could easily set it up. The problem is that here in America we’re clueless on how to live life on a budget.

  74. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Duke, I think the polls are showing that people actually do relate to the owners much more. As much as I love Matty Hass, Saun, Lofa, etc, I don’t look to them as the people who saved my beloved team.

    I credit my owner.

  75. chuck_easton says:


    I know this is a football blog, and specifically a Seahawks football blog, but since those guys (both sides) have given themselves a timeout lets talk something sports related?

    How bout them Husky’s making it to the Pac-10 finals thereby pretty much locking up a birth in the March madness BIG show?

    Anybody? Beuller? Didn’t think so. Kinda stinks not having actual football issues to argue about.

  76. Dukeshire says:

    To follow that up a bit, a lot of people played sports in high school or college and on that level, there is some ability to “relate” to the athletes. Some common footing.

    ugh… I’m already so burned out with all this B.S. I’m going to the gym then come home and drink beer all afternoon while watching college B Ball.

  77. Duke – thats Federal. Then there are state taxes for most (10%), medicare and SS (2% total for $1m) up to the limit and maybe even some municipal taxes depending on where each game is played.

    CHawkFanIn9erLand – there is a widely accepted school of thought that NFL owners built their franchise values up on their own hard work and risk capital. What everyone either ignores or are blind to, is the massive public subsidization of profit margins and asset values for the wealthy through public and private deficit spending via Fiscal and Monetary policy.

    NFL owners have benefited from this via public stadium financing (paid for by future generations) and the 0% interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve which facilitates a transfer of wealth from the lower class and future generations to the wealthy. The transfer occurs via spending beyond current income levels (hey money is cheap, borrow all you can for those season tickets) AND a rise in commodity prices such as fuel and energy. The upper end invests in these commodities and the lower end spends a large part of their income on these commodities.

    So I choose not to ignore the massive credit bubble built upon the backs of the population and future generation that has allowed NFL owners and others to build their wealth with very little of actual value provided in return. Rather than celebrate the end of the middle class, I say more power to workers – even if they are NFL players in this case.

  78. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    I certainly agree with your point duke, and I don’t think that the players are impossible to relate to. Otherwise we’d all buy blank jerseys with no player names. I was referring to the goodwill in this specific event of the labor discussions. I think fans understand that NFL football is brought to us by the NFL, not the NFLPA.

    My wife is a union employee, a nurse in Cali. We see first hand all the things the Cali Nurse’s association has done for her as a nurse. Now that she’s a nursing supervisor, we also see all the things the CNA does to make it very complicated to run an efficient business and hold employees accountable.

    With that in mind, I’ve seen both sides of the NFL labor argument and empathized with them throughout this process. But it’s become clear that to me that the union decided it had an advantage in court, and decided to go the litigation route even before this round of talks started. They haven’t budged or compromised in any measurable fashion, and they understand that they have no reason to until game checks start getting missed.

    I think fans are starting to see that.

  79. CHawkFanIn9erLand – 2 more things.

    1). The majority of NFL owners have built their wealth through their franchises.
    2). What sense does it make that the owners are asking for more concessions from the players when the revenues and franchise values have only gotten stronger? This isn’t the NBA or NHL.

  80. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:


    I just looked at league minimum salaries … you lost me at middle class = NFL player.

    I think that’s about the ugliest use of the distributive property I’ve ever seen.

  81. I think the point is ,why should they take a cut in pay?I f there is a reason explain or show us. Seems these owners are making plenty of money and they agreed to the deal last time. Also what did they offer the players? They don’t have to play 18 games.Less “Voluntary” workouts.I have a hard time paying for my season ticketts, no one can afford a sSuperbowl that will soon be for the weathy only if it is not already.Both sides are at fault It just seems to me the owners could of left it as it was , Come on, they were not making Money? They were not making enough money.The only thing that was of any value was the Veteran player health care thing.

  82. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Really pabuwal … so a bunch of broke guys went out and bought nfl franchises? Nope. Rich guys did.

    What sense does it make? It’s their business, they get to decide what they want to make. Just like the players get to decide what they want to make. Just like every other business in the world gets to decide that same thing.

  83. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    You’re right cerjam, the owners were greedy. I’ve made that point several times. I never asserted that the league was losing money, just the opposite. We agree completely.

  84. CHawkFanIn9erLand – if there was no collective bargaining and the NFL ran this like “free market capitalism”, the NFL would become like MLB. How about we do it that way?

    And a lot of the new guard NFL owners bought their teams with a high degree of leverage. Franchise values have appreciated to the point the leverage is a small part of the asset value. If you divide the franchise value by total wealth for each owner, most owners would be sitting at a value of 75% or more.

  85. What would you do if Monday at work you found out you company that has been growing very fast and doing well to say the least want’s you to take a cut in pay.Would you just do it or would you ask why? explain this to me.Then you might go look for a new job.There is no new job to go look for if you are in the NFL what can you do go to Canada and play.Its a monopoly plain and simple.

  86. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Pabuwal, I agree with you. I don’t think the NFLPA is the bad guy, any more than the owners are the bad guy. Neither do I think either side is the good guy. Greed is motivating both sides.

    If you read my posts, I’m not anti union. My wife’s career was saved by the CNA because her department manager was a loser. The union got her a fair shake. So please avoid attempts to debase my opinion by using hyperbole.

    But your point is incomplete. Show me the part of the League’s proposal that is bringing us back to the 70’s.

    And OK, so most owners have 75% of their wealth tied up in their franchise according to your math. Show me which majority owner had less money than the richest NFL player at the time they became owner?

    All the pie charts and business finance terms in the world won’t change the fact that the owners were very, very, VERY rich before becoming owners.

    The funny part is that the discussion around how the owners got their money is actually not relevant, we’re just wasting space.

  87. I don’t know if I can take the madness anymore. I hate both sides. What I wouldn’t give for the days of arguing with pabs about whether Matt still has it or not. lol

  88. Of course the owners were very rich before they became owners, but that doesn’t change that most of the wealth for most of the owners (in percentage and dollar terms) are from the appreciation in NFL franchise values.

    When you mean 70s, do you mean 1970s? I’m not sure what you mean there.

  89. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:


    I agree with you. The owners used to pay 60% of revenue, and now they want to pay 50%. The union doesn’t like that, and understandably so. The owners agreed to that deal, and the union agreed to give the owners an opt out if they decided they didn’t like it.

    To answer your question, it happens. That’s life. It’s happened to me, I’ve taken a 17% cut in pay because my employer cut pay across the board. I went and found something else.

    I know the NFL players can’t do that, there’s only one NFL. But your analogy is actually incorrect. The players won’t be getting pay cuts. Tom Brady won’t, Manning won’t, league veterans won’t. Free agents won’t. Injured players won’t. Retired players won’t. The veteran minimum isn’t decreasing. Quite the contrary, every single team’s salary cap is increasing. The only player segment actually potentially getting a pay cut are unproven rookies. And even that may not be a cut, just a cap on growth. So let’s deal with the truth here. I’ve yet to see one player segment that’s been told they are getting a cut in pay.

  90. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    OK pabs, we agree that the owners have most of their wealth tied up in their franchise. I don’t see the point though.

    I don’t like the owners more than the players. My point was that the owners have earned more good will recently than the union.

  91. Well the good news is that some type of Free Agency will be starting in the next week or 2 and we can all get back to arguing who should be the Seahawks starting QB next year.

  92. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Yeah, I wonder if Matty will actually end up on another team next year. It would be something to see him in a niner’s or Cards uni

  93. I think Alex Smith re-signs with the 49ers and the Cards draft a QB with the likely destinations for Hasselbeck either Tenn or Minnesota if not the Seahawks.

  94. chuck_easton says:


    Now knock it off! Quit talking actual football. It’s not allowed right now. There is a lockout!

    We have to talk all litigation, all the time. Didn’t you get the memo?

  95. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    yeah I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll end up with a different team within our division, but that would sure make for an interesting season … whenever that season gets played.

  96. Dukeshire says:

    If the rumors (perpetuated by Tim Hasselbeck) of Matt using K. Collins salary as a measure, can’t see him going to Tenn.

    pabuwal – That’s why so many athletes live in states like Fla and Texas.

    Here is a link to the potential FA pabs eluded to.

  97. chuck_easton says:

    Free agency will only start when the lockout is ended. Only way that happens if the players can get a favourable ruling.

    But then the league will file for a stay pending a decision by a higher Court.

    So, knowing how the legal system works there very likely won’t be any FA for several months.

  98. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    I’d personally like to see the league and the union get smacked hard in this. Make ‘em think twice before messing with my precious.

    Go get em judge!

  99. Dukeshire says:

    Chuck – Agreed, only passing along the link. There are so many conflicting issues during a lockout, to also have free agency is absurd.

  100. I did not start watching Football because I admired an owner.I started watching because John Unitus brought the Colts back in the last minute time after time,who owened the team I still don’t know or care.It was one player after another that I admired all the way up to Largent. They built this Leauge

  101. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    Cerjam, obviously none of us became fans because we had an emotional attachment to an owner.

    The players built this league? Nope, investors built the league. The players are part of the product. That’s like saying the iMac built Apple. Investors and entrepreneurs did. Just like with the NFL.

  102. Brock has been writing about how there’s at least 20 teams that are in a much better position than SEA with established offenses, coaches, players, schemes, etc. Especially if the lockout continues for very long. Of the remaining 12 teams, SEA is still in one of the worst positions. Only CAR has less money tied up in ’11 player salaries (not counting RFAs) at like $75M. SEA has like $85M that goes to existing contracts of players for ’11. I’m not sure how much $ would be added for RFAs, but Mebane is like $1M or so. If that is $10M for RFAs and the new cap is like $145M, that leaves about $50M for FAs. JS & PC got in a great position to get some new FAs, except that free agency might be restricted to like a week, and then the ’11 reg season games start (or continue if there were non-union games)? If all goes bad in ’11 then maybe ’12 gets Luck(y)?

  103. MattandCindy says:

    I dunno…I just can’t get on board with someone who says they deserve more money while wearing a different $1000 pimp hat everyday. How can anyone with a rational brain look at what happened the last couple weeks and say that the NFLPA wanted to make a deal, and not go to litigation?

    The owners haven’t exactly been forthcoming or reasonable, either…but I can at least see where they are coming from. Smith just seems like an irrational
    bully, IMO.

    Here’s a fictional breakdown of how things went (as I see it)…

    Smith: Let’s split the money 50-50.

    NFL: We were thinking maybe 75-25.

    Smith: We were thinking 50-50, and we want a diamond hat.

    NFL: I’m not sure what you mean by….

    Smith: We were thinking 50-50, a diamond hat, and naked pictures of all the owners wives. You have 5 seconds to decide…

    NFL: Ummmm……

    Smith: Decertified….bitch.

  104. Why, if there’s no collective bargaining agreement and no union, can’t the owners just say, OK, back to the NFL pre-free agency? Why can’t the owners just go out and hire any player that’s not currently under contract with any other team?

  105. MattandCindy says:

    Here’s a nice detailed description of what happens post decertification…

  106. MattandCindy
    Thanx – very good article! Still can’t help thinking there may be some other options not addressed.

  107. MattandCindy

    Damn, that was funny!

  108. freedom_X says:

    The flaw in the parody is that the players aren’t asking for a diamond hat. They aren’t asking for anything extra. If the NFL will keep the just expired agreement exactly as it is, the players will sign it. It’s the owners who want rollbacks.

    For ordinary working stiffs, if we don’t accept the management demand, they’ll just cut us loose and hire someone else.

    If the fans are OK with getting rid of the existing players and replacing them with non-NFL players or players willing to sign and play now (if that’s possible) then there is no issue. The player’s situation is exactly like any other corporation demanding that their employees take pay and benefit cuts.

    The players are counting on the idea that NFL fans will not accept replacement players. If that’s the case, then it makes the NFL player situation different than the normal worker. They do in fact have leverage.

    Which of these cases apply – any of us can decide for themselves.

  109. Nice post, freedom.

  110. I hate the owners when it comes to money issues.

    How many teams this year got caught on the beer cup issue. How many teams put crappy products out there and don’t care.

    Not one of the owners puts their life on the line to play and they would totally cut a player loose if he was hurt if they could. they don’t care about he players AT ALL! they just want money. The pat downs they do now have nothing to do with security it;s all about stopping people from bring stuff in that they can sell you for an ASTRONOMICAL mark up. call a spade a spade

    I totally believe they deserve to earn money but I also believe they need to treat their employees well too. The reason there is a players union is because the they need it since the owners will stab them in the back. Costco time and time again fails in union votes becuase they treat the employees great and they take care of them.

    the owner can not and will not make money unless they have the best players out there. Why do you think all these other leagues have fallen. I for one will NOT be paying for tickets/merchandise if 2nd rate players.

  111. Dukeshire says:

    Yes, and the idea that the owners built this league is only partially right. Football was being played in this country long before there was a NFL (which goes back to 1920). The owners didn’t invent this game, but some great men (Hunt, Rooney, etc…) who owned teams, helped bring this game to what we enjoy today. But they did it on the backs of some incredible athletes who sacrificed themselves to the game, and still do. The money being made on both sides is so far beyond what anyone could have imagined, I’m sure. The owners’ and players’ partnership is very real and critical to the game’s history and to it’s future. Neither side would be in the financial position they are today without the other.

  112. Long live Jim Thorpe!!!

  113. MattandCindy says:

    I think the NFL has learned its lesson with “replacement” players. The product isn’t good enough. Sponsors would run in the other direction, along with most of the fans…me included.

  114. Remember, those “replacement” players were the reason a bunch of guys (see Largent, Steve) crossed the picket lines in the first place. Granted, there’s a different set of circumstances today, but still…

    Anyone remember how Largent tore up (I think) the Lions in the 3rd week of replacement players? I still have those ESPN highlights on a vhs somewhere. lol

    Personally, if we all went with replacement players and the Seahawks ended up in the Super Bowl — I wouldn’t care. All I give a crap about is that the Seahawks WIN a Super Bowl. I could care less how it happens (f-ed up officiating included — part sarcasm).

    We all want to do it the “right” way (see Ruskell, Tim), but I’d rather win it the wrong way than never get it done the right way. Yes. I am a sell-out. And I bet most of you are too. We all have a price on 99.9% of things in life.

  115. Upon further review… my best guess is that it’s 87.93% things in life. It’s more like 99.9% things with respect to the NFL. The percentage changes drastically if you’ve already seen your team hoist a Lombardi.

  116. Best guess, how long before NFL does free agency?

  117. Dukeshire says:

    Bobby – lol

    klm – I have two answers to that. The optimist in me sees something getting done by mid / late April, before the draft. That’s such an important time for teams to know how they need to draft and for trades. But, if nothing is in place by then, I say we’re missing games. I see it then dragging into summer and early fall, and for me, that absolute worst case scenario. I don’t think a season is lost, but part of one. Those are my thoughts anyway.

  118. Sarcasticus says:

    Any time an agreement cannot be met, both sides are at fault.

    There is a giant pile of money created by us who support the game. Where should that money go? You purchase the tickets, the jerseys, the beer in the stadium. Where do you want that money to go? If you say, you want the majority to go to the owners, you are lying.

    A player in the NFL makes way more than most people will ever see. To compare his salary to what I make and consider rational is absurd. That player is part of a team that generates huge revenue. Why shouldn’t that player demand a fair amount of said revenue. Granted that “fair amount” is still unfair when compared to what most of us make, but not in the context of billions of dollars.

    So, to be upset that rich players want more money is skewed thinking. Yes, they make a lot, and yes I am so jealous, but they earn it. I don’t go to the stadium to watch the owner. I don’t wear a jersey with the owner’s name on the back. I don’t watch the draft and the combines so I can get excited about the owners. I watch for the players.

    I don’t know what a “fair” amount or percentage would be for the players. I don’t care how much either side makes. I love the game, and until an agreement is met, I hold both sides accountable.

  119. Dukeshire says:

    Well said and agreed.

  120. maddog12 says:

    Have we hashed out a ruling that the judge says both nflpa decert is a sham and nfl lockout is illegal. Would that force the two side back to negotiate?

    Chuck is that an option?

  121. chuck_easton says:


    Unfortunately no.

    The Judge will have to rule one way or the other. Either he determines the lockout is an anti-trust violation and the lockout ends or he rules the decertification is a sham and the lockout continues.

    Either way the matter will continue in Court. The players want a final Court ruling because they think they have a better chance through the Court than they do at the bargaining table.

    The league wants the lockout to continue in hopes of ‘starving’ the players out and forcing them to accept the leagues offer.

    Neither solution leads to a quick decision. Duke is right. I’m guessing nothing gets decided until mid April at the earliest.

    It’s more likely that nothing will get done until we get closer to players actually not getting paid. Remember they only get paid during the weeks of the season. That is the reason for workout bonuses and attendance bonuses. It’s a way the owners have to try and get players to show up prior to the start of the season.

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