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NFLPA presses owners for more financial data

Mark Maske

The NFL Players Association is pressing the league's owners to provide more financial data this week as part of contract negotiations, according to sources on both sides of the dispute.

The union regards the financial disclosures as crucial to reaching an agreement before Friday's new bargaining deadline, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are at a sensitive stage.

It is not clear whether the league is willing to provide additional information and, even if it is, whether the amount of data would satisfy the union.

The union's demand for additional financial disclosures is not new, but could become a major issue in the talks this week. Players and union officials have said throughout the negotiations that the league should open its books if it wants the players to agree to concessions as part of a new labor deal.

League officials regularly replied that the union has sufficient information about teams' financial situations to complete a deal.

Negotiators for the league and union were meeting Tuesday for a 13th day with federal mediator George H. Cohen at the downtown Washington offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The league and union agreed last week to extend their talks through 11:59 p.m. Friday in the hope of reaching a deal. They could approve another postponement of the bargaining deadline. But if the talks fail, players are prepared to decertify their union Friday, file antitrust litigation against team owners and seek an injunction in court to try to block a lockout by owners that could begin as early as Saturday.

Talks resumed Monday with the league and union still $750 million to $800 million apart on the division of $9 billion in annual revenue the NFL takes in, sources have said.

Under the existing labor deal, the owners are credited with about $1.3 billion per year for expenses before the players receive about 60 percent of the remaining revenue. The league was seeking an additional $1 billion annually for expenses before the players cut is calculated though the two sides have moved a little.

The league also has proposed lengthening the regular season from 16 to 18 games, imposing a wage scale on rookies and blood-testing players for use of human growth hormone. The two sides also disagree whether the sport's labor situation should continue to be overseen by Minneapolis-based U.S. District Judge David S. Doty.

Sources have said that if there is a settlement this week, it likely would include an 18-game season with reduced offseason workouts and other concessions to the players; a rookie wage scale less restrictive than the version originally proposed by the league; and possibly significant concessions on the division of revenue by the league in exchange for the union agreeing to allow Doty's oversight of the labor deal to expire. But the same sources cautioned that prospects of a settlement remained in doubt.

By Leonard Bernstein  |  March 8, 2011; 2:49 PM ET  | Category:  Union Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Sources: NFL, players $800 million apart on revenue split | Next: NFL talks stalling on economic issues

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Here's a quick fix for the labor problem. Go to 18 games...only play them over 23 weeks. Before you say, "You're crazy!", look at what we have now. 16 games over 17 weeks. What's wrong with 18 games over 23 weeks. Plus, you put in a few rules, like no team plays more than 4 weeks in a row without a week off. Any team that has a game on any day other than Sat, Sun, or Mon must have the previous week off. You start a couple of weeks earlier and you end with the Super Bowl in the first week of March...just in time to enjoy college b-ball.
"What about the money?", you ask. Let's say for argument's sake the players right now get 60% of $1B, which would be $600M. Let the s.o.b. owners win a little and reduce the percent to 50%. The TV contract has to be bigger since you're offering 30% more product, 23 weeks vs. 17. So, instead of 60% of $1B, the players get 50% of $1.3B or $650M, which would be more than last year. You then add cost of living increases of 2% each year. At the end of 5 years, you're back at 60% mean while you've increased your salary every year, too.

Posted by: spelegan | March 9, 2011 9:19 AM

It's no business of the players since these are privately held companies and not publicly held. The Packers are the one exception and they release a financial statement every year as a non-profit is required.
They can ask all they want, but they will never get that concession!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | March 8, 2011 5:37 PM

What are the owners hiding? Money laundering for organized crime I bet...

Posted by: ozpunk | March 8, 2011 5:25 PM

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