Albert Pujols, Baseball, Basketball, Billy Hunter (NBPA), David Stern, ESPN, Football, Gregg Popovich, Jim Tressel, Major League Baseball, MLB, NBA, NFL, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Ohio State (Buckeyes), Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary, St Louis Cardinals, Terrelle Pryor, Uncategorized

Are You Up For That ?


Are You Up For That ?

Ah get a litany of lawyers in a room to try and draw up an agreement between two parties as part of the resolution process in a negotiation is like extracting several teeth without the use of a pain killer . Neither side will be truly happy at all even when you’ve been told that a compromise has been reached . Inasmuch as the NFL negotiations have been going on for what appears to be in an indeterminable period of time. It’s hard to believe that the owners , league hierarchy and players represented by their union NFLPA are actually any closer to a real compromise . Granted , ESPN has made it their sole purpose of keeping us abreast of each and every whiff any move that that has taken place . But for me, this whole episode has been one complete and utter bore ! So much so , that with the NFL having already alienated much of their fan-base I seriously doubt why it is that these arrogant and pompous assholes would actually create the perception that at any time they have actually cared what the fans think !

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If as is to be believed that the league and all parties concerned will have an agreement in place by the 15th July at the latest then what can the NFL offer the fans this season . A slew of preseason games as usual where in large part we will see the new draftees try to show us why it is that the teams went out and drafted them in the first place . At the same time we may well get to see none other than Terrelle Pryor try and make believers out of us that he has in fact changed and is ready for the rigors of the NFL and all that it brings . Fast cars , loose women and plenty of money . Oh I forgot, Pryor was already use to that with his days served under Jim Tressel at Ohio State . So what will be new for the player ? Well first out having signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus as a client you can be sure that the ubiquitous agent will be doing his utter best to hype up his client as if he were the second coming of Joe Montana . But then again when hasn’t Rosenhaus never not been known to do that for any of his clients ? In the right environment the agent could sell oil to the Arabs right from their very own wells at a reasonable price and they would still feel happy about the transaction .

With Pryor having left Ohio State and having declared himself eligible for the NFL’s Supplemental Draft it will be interesting to see if there are any teams out there interested in acquiring the player . I am sure that there will be but as to who they might be remains to be seen .

Well the NBA Draft is almost upon us and environment is rife with a great deal of speculation as to will be the top pick in the draft . With the Cleveland Cavaliers having the privilege of that pick along with another in the top ten it will be interesting to see how Cavaliers GM Chris Grant goes about rebuilding the roster in the aftermath of LeBron James’ departure and their rather lackluster season within the Eastern Conference . From my own standpoint I do believe that Bryon Scott as the team’s coach has a monumental task to undertake as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be a team without a sense of real purpose . The fans within the city may well have had the last laugh in seeing the player and his team the Miami Heat succumb to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals . But that asides it has to be said that the situation while on the face of it may well appear to bleak it could well be a number of years before we can actually view the franchise as a legitimate threat to win an NBA title .

Being an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan I’ve read a number of blogs within this medium suggesting that GM R C Burford may well seek to trade Tony Parker or use the player as bait in moving up in the order of the NBA Draft. While on the face of it seems a reasonable thing to do . I would point to the fact that the player throughout much of the regular season was the team’s most productive player by far in terms of their offensive output . But what might be even more asinine would be for Burford to actually believe it feasible to acquire an aging Vince Carter to add to this team. The team doesn’t need to get older but simply more athletic with the younger players on this squad actually stepping up their game and actually contributing more . But given the sheer ineptitude shown by the Spurs this postseason I for one am not so sure that the fans won’t be in for more of the same should they make the playoffs this upcoming season . As great a coach as I know Gregg Popovich to be if these players aren’t motivated to get the job done then their ass ought to be kicked to the curb . And yes that includes veteran player Tim Duncan as well !

I don’t know if at this time of the season any team can really afford an injury to one of their most prominent players on their roster . In baseball this seems to be the anomaly that repeatedly tends to either add an incentive to the rest of the players or simply saps them of all of their confidence . This could very well be the case with the St Louis Cardinals and the loss of their All Star slugger and first baseman Albert Pujols for what we’re led to believe could be a minimum of six weeks due to a fractured right arm/wrist . Given the player’s productivity and what it means to the team over the course of the season any loss of this magnitude has to be profound for the organization

The St Louis Cardinals now appear to be in a tenuous dog fight in terms of seeking dominance within the NL Central . While trying to fend off the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers they also have to deal with a Cincinnati Reds team that would like to show the fans that their appearance in last season’s standings and their appearance in the postseason were by no means a fluke .

If the Cardinals are to have any chance of the team even winning the division much less obtaining the wildcard berth as the NL representative then the likes of Matt Holliday , Coby Rasmus , Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman in particular will have to raise the level of their play over the ensuing weeks while Pujols remains on the DL . If the Cardinals can weather that storm and stay at least within two games of the division leaders then the loss of Albert Pujols mightn’t be as grave as one would have first thought . It will be however down to Tony La Russa to have his players believing that they’re still in with a fighting chance and that the loss of Pujols is not in vain .

And here was I thinking that the idiocy of the NFL labor negotiations had become a real farce ! Now I’m being proven wrong by the sheer ineptitude now being shown by the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and the NPBA (union) . Were it not for the asinine behavior continually being shown by the Obama administration of the government , the House and Senate I could have sworn that this wasn’t indeed the US but some third world country on the African continent ! Somewhere or should I say somehow , the NBA and the union seems to have found themselves in a total divergence when it comes to an according concerning their collective bargaining agreement that is due to expire at midnight on the 30th June. Suffice to say, that if an agreement of some kind is not reached then in all likelihood the fans of the NBA could see a lockout of the players . Bring on the dark days of Summer I say ! Can anything else go wrong that already hasn’t when it comes to the world of professional and collegiate sports ? I’ll leave that for you all to decide !

Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

Union: Owners still demand too much in NBA talks

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP )—Union officials said Wednesday that NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.

So far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that union president Derek Fisher(notes) said when players are briefed on the state of the talks, they are in “total disbelief” and ask why they even bother having meetings.

“When we put our spreadsheets up, we put it on the board, we lay it out, everybody’s at a loss for how to even begin to close this gap,” the Lakers’ guard said.

They have only until June 30, when the current CBA expires, and they’ll take another crack at it during another session Friday.

But as they continue to disagree over issues relating to the salary cap as well as the enormous gap in economics, it becomes clear how difficult it will be to avoid a lockout.

“Their demand is gargantuan and we just can’t meet it,” executive director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter and Fisher decided to meet with reporters after being caught off guard Tuesday when NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed details of the league’s latest proposal during a press conference after a bargaining session. Both sides had largely kept specifics from the media during the negotiations.

Yet Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver laid out their proposal for what they called a “flex cap,” in which teams would be targeted to spend $62 million in salary, but could exceed that number through the use of exceptions to an unspecified level before the ceiling kicked in.

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If what we’re being led to believe is that the two sides are so far apart , as in trying to alleviate this issue with both parties aren’t able to come to an agreement , wherein they can successfully reach an accord as to how best to equally split a projected revenue stream of $ 7 billion over the next decade then there’s something seriously wrong with the thinking of parties . Not unlike the idiocy we’re now seeing concerning Democrats , GOP and the President as they try to rein in the runaway spending and an ever deepening deficit and national debt . Can I get a what , what here ?

I’ve never really been enamored with David Stern as the commissioner of the NBA and I simply do not trust anything that has been set forth by NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter or anyone from the union’s executive committee led by union President Derek Fisher . Both sides at present would rather have a pissing contest , seeing who best can actually write their name in the sand . Can any of these bumbling oafs actually see the forest but for the trees ? Then one has to consider that should a labor stoppage now begin in earnest where does it leave the players now awaiting the commencement of tonight’s NBA Draft ?

Now as we head on into the dank dark days of summer no doubt hoping to enjoy a season of fun in terms of what sporting offers there are to be had . I’m not so sure that we are all expecting will actually be that satisfactory to begin with . I mean simply look across the collegiate landscape to see the machinations that have taken place there ? I’m sure that Jim Tressel if he had it to do all over again would have preferred to have had a tattoo on the end of his member, asking all those who view it, to pull ! But instead, it was left to Prior and several of his now former teammates to blow that bitch asunder for us to actually know that collegiate athletics has always been a complete joke to begin with ! Needless to say those devout fans of USC would like to tell us otherwise .

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left, hugs his wife, Candice Romo at his annual football fundamentals camp at Burlington High School, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in Burlington, Wis. They were married May 28. Romo graduated from the school. The two-day camp is for athletes entering grades 7-12. AP Photo/Journal Times, Mark Hertzberg …

(2) Woody Johnson, left, owner of the New York Jets, talks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(3) Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, second from right, and others grab a bite to eat during the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh …..

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

(5) Terrelle Pryor ended his silence Tuesday — for exactly 97 seconds. Pryor (right) is seen here with his agent Drew Rosenhaus and Rosenhaus associate Robert Bailey (left). AP Photo / Michael Croft ……

(6) FILE – This April 29, 2011 , file photo shows San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, talking with guard Tony Parker, of France, during the first half of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies , in a first-round NBA basketball playoff game, in Memphis, Tenn. Parker is backing off earlier comments to French media that San Antonio realistically has no more chances to win another championship. The comments came a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ……

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – JUNE 22: Lance Berkman (12 ) of the St. Louis Cardinals double up Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Phillies would go on to defeat the Caridnals 4-0 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(8) Starter Cliff Lee(33) and Carlos Ruiz (51) both of the Philadelphia Phillies congratulate each other after beating the St. Louis Cardinals at Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 22, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols stands in the dugout with his left arm in a soft cast during the Cardinals’ baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies pm Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in St. Louis. Pujols will be out 4-6 weeks after being injured on a play during a game against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(10) NBA Commissioner David Stern, left, gestures as he sits next to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , following a meeting between team owners and the NBA players’ union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, in New York. Both sides made new proposals in a 3 1/2-hour meeting on what Stern said was an important day in the league’s labor talks. The collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews ……

(11) Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Derek Fisher holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York . AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(12) Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, holds a press briefing following a meeting between team owners and the NBA player’s union on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(13) These recent handouts provided by their respective schools or overseas team, show 2011 NBA basketball draft prospects. Top from left are Nolan Smith, Duke; Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State; Trey Thompkins, Georgia; Klay Thompson, Washington State; Tristan Thompson, Texas, and Jeremy Tyler, Tokyo Apache. Bottom from left are Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania); Jan Vesely, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia); Nikola Vicevic, Southern Cal; Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Derrick Williams, Arizona, and Jordan Williams, Maryland. AP Photo / File …….

(14) Toronto Raptors new head coach Dwane Casey , left, and general manager Bryan Colangelo pose following a basketball conference in Toronto on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Casey was hired as coach of the Raptors on Tuesday, nine days after the Dallas assistant helped the Mavericks win an NBA title. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ……

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Allan 'Bud' Selig, Basketball, Billy Hunter (NBPA), Commissioner Roger Goodell, David Stern, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Phil Jackson, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

Speak When You’re Spoken To ……………


Speak When You’re Spoken To ……………

I find it somewhat amusing that NBA Commissioner David Stern continues to treat the NBA as if it’s his own personal fiefdom ! He seems to forget it’s the players who make the game what it is albeit that he assisted in making the brand such a global phenomenon. Stern and the hierarchy along with the team owners have seen the brand grow exponentially into a multi billion enterprise and to where the players are handsomely compensated alongside the coaches within the league .

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Now as the postseason beckons and the 16 teams left to participate in the NBA’s postseason competitive play we now find the game’s most respected coach Phil Jackson amidst some controversy as he openly speaks his mind . The Los Angeles Lakers’ coach in a recent postgame interview which was the finale to the team’s season was asked by the convened press about his team’s chances in the postseason as well as his impending future as it regards the organization. It has long been believed that this may well be Jackson’s last season with the team that he’s coached to five NBA titles . Jackson in his response was forthcoming, saying that he felt good about the team’s prospects and that a final decision hadn’t yet been made as to his immediate future . But he coyly suggested that he may well return to the quiet life while spending more time with his family. That in of-itself would have been enough to satisfy the media there at the time but the coach went on to suggest that it is his belief that the league is now heading towards an imposed lockout because of the impasse that there now is between the NBA and NBPA (Players Union). Now this was merely Jackson’s view and as such it may not have been shared by any of his peers , so in effect it was a personal response and should not be seen as an attack on the integrity of the league as a whole.

In the aftermath of Phil Jackson’s public statement to the press on his feelings about a possible NBA sanctioned lockout David Stern saw fit to impose a $75,000 fine on the coach for his statement . Unless I’m mistaken , Jackson hadn’t contravened any of the league’s rules in making his feelings known nor was it a matter whereby he had spoken on the record as to any discussions that might be taking place between Stern and his union counterpart NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter . So herein lies my question , what was it that was said by Jackson that angered David Stern to the extent where he felt that he had to impose a fine on the Lakers’ coach ? Had he spoken derogatory about an official , player , owner or even an executive of another team ? No , that simply wasn’t the case in any of the premises mentioned . But somehow the narcissistic Stern has taken umbrage to the fact that the league’s most recognized figure in terms of a coach spoke his mind. Not in the case, where he’s being derogatory about anyone but merely from a point of offering his view as to what he believes is liable to happen between the two sides should there not be an agreement reached as it relates to the existing collective bargaining agreement.

I’ve long felt that the power that Stern has as the commissioner of the NBA makes him so autocratic and likened to dictator ! He may well be to my mind certainly the most powerful executive in any of the four major sports . He certainly has to be more powerful than NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman , most definitely more powerful than Bud Selig and in baseball and I simply know that he’s way more intelligent than his NFL counterpart Roger Goodell !

If David Stern is to have any real credibility in the league amongst the owners , team executives , players and even the referees themselves then he’ll have to know when to rein in that leash of his rather than coming across as a tyrant . His run ins with Dallas Mavericks’ team owner Mark Cuban have been well chronicled . Such has been the case to where Cuban has paid in excess of a $1 million in fines imposed upon him by the commissioner for many of his pubic utterances be they about the inconsistencies of the officiating during the regular season and postseason as well as Stern’s own inconsistencies when it comes to meting out punishment to the players as it relates to their professional conduct both on and off the basketball court . But such are the vagaries of the game and its perceived image. And that if anything has always been the premise behind Stern’s intransigence I believe and his wish to be viewed as omnipotent when it comes to the power he wields ! David Stern has always been about the image of the league but what he seems to forget is that image isn’t always everything , there also has to be substance and integrity to the game as well. And that has been in part his downfall and own making , wherein he’s created a monster that he no longer has power over. I mean how else can you simply explain the situation where the players or should I say state the ‘ marquee names’ we’ve all come to know can in essence act in such a way wherein their persona becomes larger than the game itself and to the extent that the fans can no longer identify with their teams but merely with the star on that team ?

Courtesy of Bloomberg.com

NBA Projecting $300 Million in Losses This Season, Commissioner Stern Says

By Mason Levinson

The National Basketball Association is projecting $300 million in losses this season as it approaches the end of the collective bargaining agreement with its players union, league Commissioner David Stern said.

The NBA owners’ labor committee, headed by San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, has been given permission by the full ownership to make a new proposal to the National Basketball Players Association in the next week or so, Stern said today at a news conference that followed a two-day meeting in New York of the league’s Board of Governors.

The figure Stern cited for the 2010-11 season was lower than loss estimates he made earlier today on ESPN Radio for previous years. He said in that earlier interview that the NBA lost $370 million two seasons ago and $340 million last season.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver added that about 22 of the league’s 30 franchises are expected to lose money this season.

“Business has improved, nothing to be proud of, but we’ve reduced losses,” Silver said at the news conference. “We don’t believe, within this current system, we have the ability to move dramatically much more.”

While the NBA has had discussions with the union since the February All-Star Game, there have been no formal bargaining sessions in that time, and neither Stern nor Silver would discuss the specifics of what a new proposal might contain.

The league previously cited the need for a more favorable revenue-sharing agreement, a hard salary cap, the end of guaranteed contracts and shortening of contracts as the top negotiating points for the owners.

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When stars such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony can literally hold a team to ransom in order to get what they want it does to an extent send the wrong message about the game and what it represents. I know for the players money matters as well as well as success and long term financial security . But it’s now gotten to the stage where the marquee players around the league can earn way more off the court than they can on the court merely through endorsement deals and corporate sponsorship. OK so we have Stern , Michael Jordan and Nike Inc to be thankful for that , for without the that trio I’d dare say the game and in particular the NBA wouldn’t be what it is today ! That being said many teams are now struggling from a financial standpoint merely to remain financially viable and to an extent competitive . Something that Stern hasn’t really publicly addressed and that is even in the aftermath of the now impending move of the Sacramento Kings to now the greater Los Angeles Area . Ah well , it is what it is ! Somehow Los Angeles can suddenly find itself now with potentially a third NBA franchise almost at the drop of a hat but yet they can’t somehow entice an NFL franchise to make that city its home . Perplexing isn’ t it , wouldn’t you agree ?

As to any ongoing negotiations between the NBA and NBPA there has little that has been made public by Stern , by any of his subordinates such as Stu Jackson EVP , Basketball Operations , Adam Silver , NBA Deputy Commissoner & COO or for that matter from Richard Buchanan , NBA EVP & Chief Legal Counsel . On the opposite end of that spectrum we’ve heard rumblings of the NBPA quite possibly decertifying as a union and becoming a trade association just as in the same way the NFLPA has done in their stance , to the point where both sides are now in Federal Court trying to use the justice system to sort out their ongoing problems . The presiding judge , Judge Susan Nelson may well force the two sides to mediation but bear in mind that when they sought recourse through the FMCS that situation went about as well as the peace negotiations that have taken place between the Israelis and Palestinians !

Billy Hunter and NBPA President Derek Fisher along with the union’s Executive Committee and Players’ Representatives may well not be looking to be confrontational but the situation should it go on as is being perceived could very well be as contentious a fight as we’ve seen between two sides in a long time in the professional sport’s landscape. That being said the comedic value as to what can now be gleaned between the NFL and NFLPA couldn’t have been scripted any better had it been commissioned and produced in Hollywood . Where else can you find the two main characters such as Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith come up smelling even worse than a piece of elephant dung deposited on the ground by a pachyderm ?

At this juncture should there be a lockout imposed by the hierarchy of the NBA I for one won’t be in slightest have any empathy for either side ! The way I look at it much like the NFL if you simply can’t find a way of dividing the spoils of war , which in this case happens to be billions of dollars , then the impending fate should it be a long term labor disruption is one of your own making . No one else can be blamed but the parties involved !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the statement made by Phil Jackson and his belief that there could very well be an NBA lockout ? Do you feel also that David Stern overstepped his mark in imposing the fine upon the coach ? And should the union decertify itself and then challenge the league’s antitrust status within the Federal Court System should they be able to avoid mediation how do you see things playing out within the courtroom ? Simply proffer up any thoughts that you might have on this topic and anything else as it relates the NBA . Once again thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

NBA News

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference shakes hands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after Bryant was named MVP for the fourth time in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images/ Kevork Djansezian …….

(2) Head coach Phil Jackson (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers receives his championship ring from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America …….

(3) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter seen here with the convened press . Hunter and his union are trying to avert a labor stoppage this off-season . But all signs appear to be that the deliberations between the two sides could become contentious . AP Photo / Richard Musgrave …….

(4) In this picture from May 2009 the big four of American sports commissioners discussed the economics of their respective sports in New York City on Wednesday. They are, left to right, the NBA’s David Stern, baseball’s Bud Selig, the NFL’s Roger Goodell and the NHL’s Gary Bettman. AP Photo / Richard Drew ……..

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 14: Former NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith (L) and linebacker Ben Leber of the Minnesota Vikings leave a court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 14, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners when labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …………

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Mase …… feat’g …… Total ………”Tell Me What You Want From Me”

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