Players Cry Foul, Accuse Owners of Adding To CBA


UPDATE: The NFLPA conference call with player representatives ended with no vote.  While on the surface that seems like bad news, given the events that have unfolded tonight, it’s better than a vote being taken with a negative outcome.

The NFL owners voted on the CBA “proposal” and not on an actual CBA agreement according to the NFLPA.  Now, it’s becoming apparent that some players believe and are saying that the owners are trying to “slip” things into the CBA that they players didn’t agree upon.  What exactly those “things” are, at this point are unknown.

One of the items that has been brought to light is the “supplemental revenue sharing” agreement that the owners ratified.  This agreement is an agreement on how to share revenues between teams, the league, and the owners, and not the same revenue sharing plan that the league shares with the players.  For over 5 years the NFL owners have been at odds regarding the internal revenue sharing between high profit clubs like the Dallas Cowboys and low tiered clubs like the Buffalo Bills.

This agreement was made to put an end to those differences.

According to DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA is taking some exception to the supplemental revenue sharing.  Although it’s not out of the question that Smith may have read too much into the statement of that agreement and thought that it was referring to what the players and owners had previously agreed to during negotiations for the CBA.  Perhaps in all fairness that too may be what some of the players are referring to when they say that the owners are trying to “slip” things into the CBA.

I have been a very blunt supporter of the NFL owners, it’s no surprise if you have read this site even a little.  In fact, I gave my other writers the summer off so they wouldn’t take up the opposite side just to ruffle my feathers…I kid.  I say this only because on that rare occasion that I don’t agree with the owners, it’s necessary to understand that it takes a lot.

Tonight, I really don’t agree with what the owners did today.  It is looking more and more like a power play that could seriously jeopardize the start of the NFL season if not the season itself.  The owners should have held off on the press conference and should have simply said that they would await a vote by the players.  Instead they simply opened their mouths and pissed the players off who now may simply say no to the agreement out of spite.

If in fact there are still items on the table that need to be agreed to then the owners surely have made a misstep and if Roger Goodell was aware that a deal was truly not ready to be voted on with issues still on the table, then he should seriously have his job in jeopardy.  That being said, it’s now playing out as a he said she said kind of deal.

The players are in a bit of a corner here.  Painted into it by the owners decision to publicly announce an end to the lockout…something that they also informed their staffs of.  By saying that the players have a deadline of Tuesday to ratify simply puts their backs against the proverbial wall more now then ever.

In fairness to the owners, o.k. in defense of my own personal opinion of support for the owners, the NFLPA slapped the NFL with a power play when they announced publicly that they had secured a 200 million dollar lockout insurance policy and in doing so forced the owners to accept some of their demands in the negotiations.  Today, the timing was horribly wrong but it very well may have been the same power play style that the players have used all along.

Let us also not forget this important fact.  The owners were scheduled to meet today to vote on the labor agreement.  Three days ago it was made public that up to four members of each teams executive staff should be in Atlanta for “education” on the new agreement.  At no time in the last three days has the NFLPA denounced this attempt by the league to vote on a deal.  In fact, they themselves were supposed to vote on the same deal yesterday.  When that failed it was supposed to be today.

The owners planned to vote on this agreement today and did exactly that.  The players decision not to vote is their own.  If there were still hurdles to jump over in order to get this deal completed then the NFLPA reps should have been working diligently face to face with the league to get this resolved instead of allowing the owners to go into a meeting to vote on what they intended to vote on and apparently thought the players were voting on.

What’s left is an awful lot of finger pointing.  A lot of blame and a lot trust issues that were almost put to bed.  This is a serious cauldron of hot oil that could very easily boil over.  Either DeMaurice Smith or Roger Goodell need to step in and work together to resolve this impasse or it’s very likely that the 2011 season may be missed entirely.

Once these negotiations leave the table and return to litigation, it’s likely to not go back.  Tonight, both sides are wrong and both sides need to grow up.