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Players send response to Goodell

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  March 19, 2011 12:29 PM

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  • We believe these massive givebacks were not justified at all by the owners, especially given recent projections by Moody’s that NFL media revenues are expected to double to about 8 BILLION per year during the next TV deal.
  • Given that you have repeatedly admitted that your clubs are not losing money, the billions of dollars in givebacks you proposed would have gone directly into the owners’ pockets. We understand why the owners would want to keep 100% of this additional money, but trying to sell it as a fair deal to the players is not truthful.
  • You proposed a CBA term of ten years. But you did not include any proposal on the players’ share of revenues after the first four years, which left open entirely how much more the owners would have taken from the players.
  • The owners continued to refuse any financial justification for these massive givebacks. Our auditors and bankers told us the extremely limited information you offered just a few days before the mediation ended would be meaningless.
  • Your rookie compensation proposal went far beyond addressing any problem of rookie “busts” and amounted to severely restricting veteran salaries for all or most of their careers, since most players play less than 4 years. What your letter doesn’t say is that you proposed to limit compensation long after rookies become veterans – into players’ fourth and fifth years. As our player leadership told you and the owners time and time again during the negotiations, the current players would not sell out their future teammates who will be veterans in a few short years.
  • Your proposal did not offer to return the 320M taken from players by the elimination of certain benefits in 2010. It also did not offer to compensate over 200 players who were adversely affected in 2010 by a change in the free agency rules. Your letter did not even address a finding by a federal judge that you orchestrated new television contracts to benefit the NFL during the lockout that you imposed.
  • You continue to ask for an 18 game season, offering to delay it for only one more year (you earlier said it could not be implemented in 2011 no matter what doe to logistical issues). This was so even though the players and our medical experts warned you many times that increasing the season would increase the risk of player injury and shorten their careers.
  • All of the other elements you offered in the mediation, which you claim the players should have been eager to accept, were conditioned on the players agreeing to a rollback of their traditional share of 50/50 of all revenues to what it was in the 1980’s, which would have given up the successes the players fought for and won by asserting their rights in court, including the financial benefits of free agency the players won in the Freeman McNeil and Reggie White litigations more than 20 years ago.
  • The cap system for the past twenty years has always been one in which the players were guaranteed to share in revenue growth as partners. Your proposal would have shifted to a system in which players are told how much they will get, instead of knowing their share will grow with revenues, and end the partnership.
You had ample time over the last two years to make a proposal that would be fair to both sides, but you failed to do so. During the last week of the mediation, we waited the entire week for the NFL to make a new economic proposal. That proposal did not come until 12:30 on Friday, and, when we examined it, we found it was worse than the proposal the NFL had made the prior week when we agreed to extend the mediation. At that point it became clear to everyone that the NFL had no intention to make a good faith effort to resolve these issues in collective bargaining and the owners were determined to carry out the lockout strategy they decided on in 2007.

We thus had no choice except to conclude that it was in the best interests of all NFL players to renounce collective bargaining so the players could pursue their antitrust rights to stop the lockout. We no longer have the authority to collectively bargain on behalf of NFL players, and are supporting the players who are asserting their antitrust rights with the Brady litigation. We have heard that you have offered to have discussions with representatives of the players. As you know, the players are represented by class counsel in the Brady litigation, with the NFLPA and its Executive Committee serving as an advisor to any such settlement discussions. If you have any desire to discuss a settlement of the issues in that case, you should contact Class Counsel.

Sincerely,

Kevin Mawae
Charlie Batch
Drew Brees
Brian Dawkins
Dominique Foxworth
Scott Fujita
Sean Morey
Tony Richardson
Jeff Saturday
Mike Vrabel
Brian Waters

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