Basketball, David Stern, DeMaurice Smith, Football, NBA, NFL, NFLPA, Sports

Can’t We All Just Get Along …. ?


Can’t We All Just Get Along ………..

March 4th and the deadline for the current NFL collective bargaining agreement expires and one would’ve thought that the NFL hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would by now be closer to negotiating an agreement with Executive Committee of the NFLPA led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae . Instead the two sides are said to be so far apart that the divide makes the partisanship between Democrats and Republicans within both federal legislative houses seem like a house party.

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Goodell has insisted that he and the owners who feel that the players’ revenues derived of income received from the marketing and broadcasting contracts are overly excessive. Smith by his own account feels that the concessions that his union have already acceded to is enough. The economy has played its part in the situation that has been created but it simply doesn’t account for the fact that the league hierarchy has been totally complacent when addressing their expenditure. While we’ve the league negotiate with the broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , CBS , Fox and NBC multi billion dollar broadcast contracts in doing so they’ve simply not seen fit to try and rein in their expenses. The 2010 season was a year when the league operated without salary cap and when one bears in mind that the 2009 season the cap in place was one of approximately $110 million it’s easy to understand why Goodell and the owners simply saw fit to allay the process. They were under the impression that simply allowing the process to drag on and then take the stance that they would choose to opt out of the existing agreement would nullify the union.

Goodell would also have us believe that should there be a lockout this upcoming season then he’s quite prepared to forgo his annual salary and simply be paid a nominal sum of $1. Considering that he earned in excess of $12 million for the 2010 season I’m wondering how on the face of this gesture would appear to appease the NFL fans in general ?

Courtesy of USA Today

Roger Goodell to reduce salary to $1 if NFL enters work stoppage

By Sean Leahy of USA Today

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell intends to reduce his salary to $1 per year if the league’s labor skirmish erupts into a work stoppage this year.

Goodell announced the move in a letter to owners obtained by NFL.com in which he unveiled a series of rollbacks in compensation for NFL officials.

Chief NFL negotiator Jeff Pash also will slash his compensation to $1, and Goodell will hold back bonuses for league officials until April.

At that time, portions of bonuses will be held in reserve (10% for VPs, 25% for senior VPs, and 35% for executive VPs), and those balances won’t be paid until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

The current CBA ends in early March, and the league may enter a work stoppage if no new deal is reached. Goodell has said he doesn’t want that to happen.

But with the time dwindling on the current deal and progress between the NFL and NFLPA slow to develop, the prospect of a work stoppage is increasing.

Goodell and NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith met last week.

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DeMaurice Smith has countered in stating the league itself in collusion with the owners sought to bring the situation to an impasse by their actions. Players’ representatives from around the league have stated their opinions and they’re siding with their union chief and committee members. However there now seems to be some dissension from within as a number of players have stepped up to make their feelings known. And nowhere has this been more expressive than with the most recent statement from New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie who suggested that the commissioner and his union counterpart should lock themselves in a room and not come out until an agreement has been hammered out. What’s at stake here is nothing more than one side not wanting to look weak on appearance in the eyes of the NFL fans and the public at large. While this all is happening certain members of Congress have been observing this all rather closely. The House Oversight Committe as well as the House Judiciary Committe have sought to intervene in some way but in reality it’d seen as overly intrusive were they to do so at this juncture.

Any type of labor stoppage would do irreparable damage to the league and its image and it certainly doesn’t help in the current economic climate. A number of teams this past season financially suffered greatly having seen a number of their scheduled home games blacked out due to league regulations. It certainly affected the home schedule of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which saw all eight of their home games at Raymond James Stadium Tampa entirely blacked out. And for the local fans in the area’s television markets this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. In an area where the unemployment rate is said to be approaching the national average of 9.8% these are indeed some very hard times for the Buccaneers’ fans and fans in general across the league. For the San Diego Chargers it was very much the same thing for the team’s hierarchy led by Dean Spanos and GM A J Smith as the team saw them having three games blacked out from their home schedule at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California . In total some 26 games were blacked out over the 2010 season costing the league and economies in those markets tens of millions of dollars in its economic impact over the course of the year.

For the Chargers this was a season which saw the Spanos family sell a small minority stake to multi-billionaire entrepreneur Philip Anschutz the co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and the owner Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc (AEG Inc). Now one could allude to the fact that this might be a maneuver in the offing which could see Chargers move from San Diego to the greater Los Angeles area . But if anything that would for now take a back seat until whatever transpires between the NFL and NFLPA .

Neither Goodell or Smith have done themselves any favors at this juncture with their public statements , as it appears that with each comment becoming more venal than the previous statement uttered. For the fans in general who are now observing this they can but only ask to themselves what the hell is going on when multi-millionaire players and in some cases billionaire owners can’t even be civil towards one another ?. Never mind the fact that the idiocy that’s being continually shown by both parties if this were a peace treaty being negotiated then I can guarantee you this , both sides would now be preparing for war !

With Superbowl 45 now in the offing between the two conference representatives the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers this will be the last competitive game being played in the NFL. Granted this weekend we’ll also have the privilege of seeing the NFL Pro Bowl being played in Honolulu , Hawaii but who in reality thinks of the Pro Bowl as ever having been a competitive game to begin with ? The only incentive has been for the players participating who get to pad their already burgeoning salaries with additional incentives based on season performances for their respective teams .

Should there be a labor stoppage forcing a lockout then the alternative for the NFL fans out there will be rather meager. OK at that point of the season baseball (MLB ) will already be in full swing . That being said the NBA itself is by no means out the woods as of yet as NBA Commissioner David Stern still faces his own demons having not yet reached an agreement with NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the league hierarchy’s unresolved issues regarding their own ongoing collective bargaining agreement. What I’d like to know is when did the earth actually fall off its axis ? Because the idiocy that’s now said to be taking place is beyond believable .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

It remains without saying that both the NBA and NFL for all of their image conscious proclivities in trying to make their brand more accessible for their fans have as such let the fans down. And while one can apportion blame on the respective hierarchies I do believe also that the players and the respective unions aren’t without blame in all of this. But you’d be hard pressed to believe that either of these parties would be prepared to accept the fact that they’re at fault in any way. Simply look at the actions of the parties concerned for what is now transpiring ? In doing so , you can clearly see why it is we’re at the point where it seems that there might be a point of no return ! An NBA or NFL lockout will most certainly lead to irreparable harm to the image of both sports. Why can’t we all just get along ?

What thoughts if any do you now have concerning the NFL and that of the NFLPA ? And how do you view the present situation also concerning that of the NBA and the fact that there also David Stern has still not been able reach an agreement with the Players’ Union ?
Chime in with your thoughts on both topics raised within this piece and anything else that you may well feel that’s pertinent to both issues.

NB: ____ Picture and slide show details

(1) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter (foreground) and NBA Commissioner David Stern just can’t seem to get along or agree upon the financial health of the NBA . AP / Dave Caravetta ………..

(2) Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers is seen her giving a postgame interview after the game against the the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Fisher is also the President of the NPBA (Players’ Union) and it appears that the player and his members are prepared for a lockout should they and the league’s hierarchy not be able to resolve the issues concerning the collective bargaining agreement. Getty Images/ Chris Halpern ……

(3) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, shakes hands with National Football League Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009, prior to testifying before the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittee hearing on “The NFL StarCaps Case: Are Sports’ Anti-Doping Programs at a Legal Crossroads?”. Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations is at center. Both Goodell and Smith recently met at the NFL’s headquarters in New York city privately to further discuss their ongoing impasse as it relates to the collective bargaining agreement. It has now gotten so vehemently acrimonious between the two sides that several players are now calling for both officials to settle this issue as quickly as possible rather than it all leading to a possible labor stoppage and the alienation of the fans who’ve long supported the game. AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari ……….

(4)NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith , right, speaks as Tennessee Titans and NFL Players Association President Kevin Mawae , left, listens during a news conference Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ……

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