Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is returning to Washington DC to take part in Session 15 of the NFL-NFLPA labor negotiations. He is scheduled to be in town today according to this DMN.com report. It appears that the revenue sharing is the final hurdle to climb, as Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports tweeted early Wednesday that the sides had agreed to a rookie wage scale. Now personally, I think Jerry's return to DC is a big deal, as I often say he sits at one head of the table when all the owners gather. Hopefully this is a sign that his presence is necessary to bring a deal home. There are less than 48 hours remaining in this CBA overtime.
After today's session, both sides took to the podiums to present completely different views of the progress. NFL Lead Negotiator Jeff Pash claimed that the league had offered mountains of financial data to the NFLPA. Union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith responded by calling the data useless- "utterly meaningless". From Smith's comments Wednesday night, it's being reported that the NFL's latest offerings centered around three key points.
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An 18 game schedule that will increase revenue, a reduction of the credit the league takes before sharing revenue from $1 billion to $800 million, and financial data the league feels justifies the connection between the two, seem to be the key points. The union doesn't think the financial data presented comes close to proving the need for the increase of games or the credit, even with the reduction. So we continue on the merry go round with Jerry Jones being the latest owner to join in on the fun in person.
This piece from mysanantonio.com also states that the union has asked Judge David Doty to unseal the records from the decision he recently made that froze the money negotiated by the league with it's TV partners. The NFLPA obviously wants to be able to use the ruling's points in the negotiations and in front of the cameras.
While these jokers haggle back and forth over big pieces of a humongous pie, and some of us fans selfishly lament losing our Football Sundays, there are other people very concerned with the progress of the negotiations. The potential lockout affects more than just the billionaires and millionaires. USA Today's Michael McCarthy outlines how thousand's of workers and small businesses are going to be affected if there are no training camps or football games.
Sports bar owners, stadium workers and other professions have a part or all of their income closely tied to football being America's favorite obsession.
It's also the No. 1 draw at Ricky's, which generates 65% of his business during the NFL season from August to February. Ricardo says he would try to fall back on college football, the Oakland Athletics and the Golden State Warriors. But it wouldn't be enough to prevent him from laying off half his 25 employees who normally work NFL game days.
"College football does OK. But the major thing for us is NFL football," he says. "That's the big draw. You can't replace it"...
The NFL Players Association estimates 115,000 workers nationwide could be laid off, receive reduced wages or see their work hours cut, says spokesman Carl Francis. A lockout would cost the 31 team cities $160 million apiece, he adds.
Those estimates are "fairy tales," counters McCarthy. "Even if those numbers were accurate, take into consideration the NFLPA's own hired expert said 30 to 50% of that would come from lost wages by the players."
There's little disagreement about this: A lockout could spark a chain reaction of lost jobs and business cutbacks that reaches well beyond the league office, the 32 clubs and the 1,900 players.
I'd be failing in my link-posting duties if I didn't bring you two great reads on the potential lockout. One was brought to my attention in the comments section by our esteemed member Fan In Thick and Thin. This SB Nation piece by Andrew Sharp expands on Nate Jackson's Wall Street Journal piece where he thinks a lockout could do the players and league some good. Very interesting take.
The other is from ESPN's Bill Simmons. Simmons takes the reader on a hypothetical journey through a website created by him that is the toast of the interweb and his business strategy during it's ascension. He takes some slight liberties in the comparison, but it's a great read with his usual perspective.