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NFL, players talk about stopping the clock

By Mark Maske

Negotiators for the NFL and the players' union are discussing the possibility of postponing Thursday night's deadline for a new labor deal, sources said. The league's collective bargaining agreement runs until 11:59 p.m.

Representatives of both sides are meeting with mediator George H. Cohen at the downtown Washington offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Players are poised to decertify their union Thursday if there is no postponement, which would be the first step toward filinig an antitrust lawsuit against team owners, sources have said. The players then could seek an injunction in court to block a lockout by franchise owners.

The two sides are deeply divided over how to share the $9 billion in annual revenue that the NFL receives, with team owners, who currently collect $1.3 billion towards their expenses before the players' share is calculated, asking for an additional $1 billion off the top.

They 32 team owners also want to extend the regular season to 18 games, install a wage scale for rookies and test players for use of human growth hormone.

In addition to putting off union decertification by the players and a lockout by the owners, at least temporarily, a postponement of the deadline would keep the sport's free agent market from opening Friday as scheduled.

The owners and players agreed to multiple extensions of the bargaining deadline before completing their last labor settlement in 2006.

By Leonard Bernstein  |  March 3, 2011; 2:11 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: NFL players will seek to block lockout in court, sources say | Next: NFL negotiators agree to 7-day extension of talks

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MICKNAMVET, I happen to agree with you. But unfortunately, we decide what is important to us with our wallets. And being entertained is much more important to us than personal safety, education, or cultural development in our society.

Posted by: J2B_CPTR | March 4, 2011 11:03 AM

Meanwhile, Albert Pujols will likely sign a $30mil/yr contract this next season somewhere and owners are complaining about NFL player salaries...

Posted by: ozpunk | March 3, 2011 5:42 PM

Always encouraging to read the tea potter's views on anything. MICKNAM VET obviously envies what NFL players earn. So, tell you what, buddy, from a players' standpoint, the game is pretty much a meritocracy; you don't like what players make therefore why don't you try to beat one of them out. I assure you that owners would only be glad to see some dude willing to make the minimum salary come in and beat out any current player. What's the probability of that happening you ask? Out of all high school seniors playing football any year, the chances one of them will be on an NFL roster for four seasons or higher are less than .01%. Or, put another way, as the competition narrows the level of athletic skills rises exponentially so that by the training camp opens, every player there is an exceptional athlete.
And yet, before the union was recognized by owners, players had to provide their own clean jocks and shorts for practice, there was no pension, no health care/injury coverage (i.e., when a player was hurt, he was cut the next day and did not receive any more pay), no preseason pay, no meal money during preseason--and once his contract expired, a player could not sign with another team and if he attempted to play out an option year, he could only earn 90% of previous year salary.
What's the current standoff about? NFL revenues for 2011 are projected to be around $9-BILLION. How should they be divided? Players, who take all the risks, don't want to give back anything to owners who claim--but refuse to prove--they are losing money.
Okay then, think about what "Owners" really are. They are promoters more than anything else. What do they "own"? Does your boss "own" you? No, these promoters have a franchise to play in an area, hire performers, do some publicity, print tickets, etc, etc.
Do you tea pots want to see Jerry Jones or Danny Boy running around a field? Think about it before running off at the mouth.

Posted by: iliwai34 | March 3, 2011 4:55 PM

It's interesting that the money the owners make from games - tickets, naming rights, etc., is not shared with players. Not a penny of it.

Posted by: PerfectTiming | March 3, 2011 4:42 PM

Phooey. Unions can only over-reach (whatever that means) if the politicians let them. You're blaming the wrong party, Blasmaic.

Posted by: LarryMason1 | March 3, 2011 4:38 PM

I could not possibly care less.

Posted by: summerandwinter | March 3, 2011 4:14 PM

Who's more greedy, the owners, the players, or both. I say both as neither cares about the fans for other than fueling their greed. Maybe the fans should say how much both side gets paid as well as setting ticket and other game costs.

Posted by: gmclain | March 3, 2011 3:55 PM

Not a word from the GOP yet about going after this union's salaries, is there? Teachers, police, firemen can all be targets for pension elimination, right? But uneducated ex-cons who commit violence on a weekly basis, and get paid millions for doing so, get a total pass from our neocon moneymakers, how about that!

Posted by: MickNamVet | March 3, 2011 3:11 PM

I support the rights of players to unionize and collectively bargain. If they over-reach, then the league go bankrupt and shut down.

A state or local government isn't like a football league. When the unions over-reach, then the government just taxes its citizens more.

Labor relations can become an ugly power game. Private-sector unions must be careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Public employee unions just subvert the only protection that the least powerful taxpayers have-- their Democratic representatives.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 3, 2011 3:07 PM

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