Word has come out that the NFL owners collectively walked out of a meeting Wednesday afternoon with the NFLPA over a key piece of negotiation posturing. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the NFL Players Association proposed to take an average of 50 percent of all revenue generated by the league, according to player sources.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith briefed club player representatives in a conference call Wednesday night, detailing his version of the abbreviated session that ended far earlier than the seven hours that were scheduled between the two sides in an effort to reach a new collective bargaining agreement before it expires at midnight March 4.
Consequently, a five-hour second negotiating session scheduled for Thursday was canceled, and no further meetings have been proposed.
The news gains weight as the article also states that the owner's meeting scheduled for next Thursday has been canceled. You might say, wait a minute... I thought the players were already getting 60%? How come the owners balked at them offering 50%? Well, that's because they were using two different definitions of revenue, and it looks like the owners were confused early in Wednesday's meeting as well.
From Michael Silver of yahoo.com: The players currently get approximately 60% of what is terrned total revenue, an amount that is decreased through credits the owners receive from operating and investment expenses. This is taken away from their net gains. The owners are pushing to increase that number from $1 billion to $2.4 billion, essentially asking the players to take approximately an 18% pay cut.
I can only imagine the conversation that happened in that Washington conference room.
DeMaurice Smith: Per article 9, section 22 paragraph four the players will require a change in the percentage of revenue allocated, down to 50%.
Owners snicker to themselves.
Jerry Jones: OK DeMaurice, that was bout as painless as a window hole in an Arkansas swamp hut. I think we can work with that son.
Smith: I wasn't finished. 50% of all revenue, no credits. What the hell you need credits for? Planning on playing some arcade games? Financing a new car? We ain't giving you credit for a damn thing. We want half Eddddiieeeee!
Owners walk out.
They may not have quoted Eddie Murphy's 1984 stand up routine, but as is always the case in these negotiations, things along those lines happen. One side is disgusted with the other side, the other side calls the first side unappreciative. Then someone talks about someone else's baby momma and you have a rich people version of the Jerry Springer Show.
On thing that I've always found interesting about this potential stoppage, is that the world is in a much different place than the last interruption in 1987. There have always been competing professional football leagues, however, there has never been one during a time of social media like the UFL currently employs. Broadcast deals aren't limited to NBC, CBS and ABC anymore and an upstart league like the UFL is built to accept the NFL players should they get locked out this spring.
Also from Michael Silver:
Could the UFL provide players with a safe haven?
Absolutely. Some believe the United Football League, which debuted in ’09 and is about to begin its second season, was launched with a potential lockout in mind. As one NFL source speculates, “It was the equivalent of betting the Don’t Pass Line in craps – it was banking on a lockout, so it could be there to fill the void.” In theory, the upstart league could rapidly expand beyond its current vision of six teams for the 2011 season and provide jobs for many of the NFL’s high-profile players during a work stoppage.
The league already has an agreement with YouTube to broadcast their championship game, don't you think some saavy business type mind is going to see the possibilities of a $100 season package for UFL games? You think the Versus Network or Spike TV couldn't work something out? I'd assume players could easily take out insurance policies against their suspended NFL contracts. GB Bongiovanni brings some light to how the upstart league could benefit from an NFL lockout.
If a lockout does happen, NFL teams can do nothing that involves players. There will be no offseason workouts, no team meetings, no player trades, no free agent signings, no contact with players, no training camp and—most importantly—no games.
While many continue to say they will not allow such a catastrophe, if such a thing happened, the UFL would reap the benefits.
So are any of you prepared to watch your favorite stars distributed to cities across the US? In pastel and neon uniforms teaming up with players from the hated Eagles or Redskins?