Sitting in front of my son’s school a short time ago I realized that in normal years, I would be pissed because I wasn’t at my computer tapping out words that were about the newest free agent the Dolphins just signed or the best of what would be left of tier 2 a week into free agency. Instead, I found myself wondering aloud about contract talks and broken mediation, CBA garbage, and rookies not attending the draft in April.
5 years ago as the 2006 NFL off-season was delayed as the owners and players worked out a contract extension, I covered it the entire time. Often spending far too many countless hours researching and reading and phone calling to confirm any bit of news. I find myself doing the same thing again.
So while I was sitting in that line of cars, a few questions came into my head that maybe some of our smart readers can answer or perhaps a passing through player can answer, or maybe even DeMaurice Smith…o.k. even if he did read this site he wouldn’t answer anything.
The players want the owners to open their books. Completely. Why? So they can see exactly where the teams are losing money. The real reason they want the owners to open the books is so that they can micromanage the spending of each team. See if the books are open and the owners are asking for 1 billion in return, the players can ask why team X is paying their son-in-law a 1.2 million dollar salary to play golf or why owner Z is paying someone named “Cherry” 20K with every visit to LA. What they won’t look at is the cost of doing business compared to what it cost to do the same business last year. But if the NFL owners really are not hiding “Cherry’s” donations then why not open the books?
But if that is to happen, maybe the players should answer some questions as well, before any owners agree to that.
Here are the questions that I would like to see answered before one single NFL team “opens their books”.
1: Why, after announcing that the Players got the better end of the deal in the last CBA are you not willing to accept the fact that the owners would like a more unilaterally fair deal while you continue to stump for fairness? It was the players own admission that they got the better deal.
2: Why after 4 days since the last offer was presented by the owners, who have announced what was being offered, has no one from the now defunct NFLPA publicly denied the main points that the owners contended where made in that proposal? In other words, if the owners say they promised what’s listed here in this article, then why if it was “BS” have you not called it BS specifically instead of simply decrying that they are lying? To date the players have not denied one single item that the owners have listed as part of their proposal but have only said that the owners are lying. About what exactly?
3: Why is it that you made one final offer to the owners with a demand that it be met within 15 minutes of the deadline even though you had already filed the paperwork to decertify an hour before without telling the owners you had done so?
4: Why is it that you publicly stated that you are doing all of this for the fans but not once have you provided any evidence to such? Such as the fact that most Americans make a pittance compared to the league minimum of a rookie who makes over 285K? It’s funny that the argument is that the players have to pay taxes on that so it’s really not over 285 yet every American pays taxes on their salary…so in our case, it’s really not 7.50 at minimum wage. Nor do most of us get free health care. I read somewhere that a young NFL’er is having trouble making ends meet with a 600k salary for he and his young wife. How exactly are you having trouble? Is it the 15,000 dollars a year that has to go the NFLPA for union dues? Well, that’s your own fault. Is it the 10% that comes off the top of you salary to pay an agent to represent you? Again, that’s your spending money your tossing their way. So as a fan, we really don’t care that you shell out close to 50,000 or a 100,000 for union and agent dues.
5: Why is it that you still over inflate your value to the sports fan base? See, fans understand why you make as much money as you do but you fail to realize that most fans would be perfectly fine with watching replacements on the field week in and week out. It’s like watching college football. The truth is that you wouldn’t miss Drew Brees if Drew Brees wasn’t in the NFL. In 1987 I watched as my favorite NFL players stood in picket lines as they fought for something called free agency and better benefits for both active and retired players. But guess what? I still watched football on Sundays with replacements. I would again. Especially considering that NFL players didn’t decertify so that they could better free agency options, better benefits, or better food in training camp. Instead, they are doing this just to keep the better end of an unfair deal that was struck in 2006. Yet they say this new CBA must be fair. But fair for who?
6: Where exactly are the players losing 1 billion dollars? Or even 500 million? See this is what I don’t get. The players claim that the owners want between 500 million and 1 billion off the top of the 9 billion revenue. The players say they want to see the books before negotiating a number. But where is that money coming out of the pockets of players? If the salary cap 130 million last year and will be 130 million this year where is the money being pocketed by the owners? The owners say they are willing to up the minimum from 80 – 90% so the players get a 10 % increase and they are raising the benefits for retired players as well. Are the owners asking for a reduction of minimum salaries for 2nd year veterans or something? Did I miss where the owners are going to make up 500 million from the reduction of the rookie cap? I honestly don’t get this so someone please fill me in here. WHERE IS THE MONEY BEING LOST BY THE PLAYERS?
7: My last question would be this. Why is that NFL owners are openly and publicly stating that they are willing and want to go back to the negotiating table and continue to agree to allow more access to their books but the NFLPA or whatever you are called now refuses to do so?
8: Ok, I lied. One more. What exactly are you, the players trying to get here? You say it’s not about money but it is, you say it’s for better benefits but it’s not, you say it’s about an 18 game schedule that will subsequently expose you to more injuries but you openly decry the NFL’s attempts to institute rules to protect the players, and you say that it’s about being fair when you already say the last one wasn’t.
Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?