When you receive an email titled "THE TRUTH" from one party locked in bitter litigation with another party and disputing the other party's alleged proposals, you know that the content of the email will likely have little to do with the title.
Notice that the title of the mail is in all caps. That's exactly the way it was written in an email that (now former) NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith sent out yesterday.
Dave posted details of the owner's proposal earlier today, and I think it's only fair to present the player's side as well, not that I believe either side is anywhere close to 'The Truth'. Keep in mind though that apart from the legal battle that has just begun, both sides are now engaged in an all out PR war for the public's favor. The public, that's mostly you, the loyal NFL fan. So read this for what it is, one salvo in an escalating PR war.
"If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease."
— Sent-ts'an(ca. 606 AD)
From Executive Director DeMaurice Smith:
This has been a long and arduous process. Many of our players are tired. I am tired. We have worked hard as a player leadership for two years to prevent this moment.
To the fans, we are sorry it came to this today. You deserve better. I am truly sorry. The players are sorry. Our players – YOUR players – left everything they had at the table. I have asked them for two years to commit themselves to this process. I have asked them as businessmen in the business of football to commit to leading their teammates through this process. I have asked them to leave their families, be at every meeting, review every document and engage in every part of negotiations. They exceeded every expectation. They should be proud and hold their heads high for their leadership.
I want to thank all of you that have supported our players from the beginning, who took the time to understand the issues related to the business of our game and will remain a part of our family. These teams are your teams, from Steeler nation to the 12th man in Seattle.
As businessmen, we asked the owners two years ago to consider two basic tenets to getting a fair deal: financial transparency and the health and safety of our players. Financial transparency would help us reach a compromise. Even until the last moment, we were rebutted. And as for health and safety, that’s a non-negotiable issue. To our players, I will not ever yield on this point. There is no price tag for your arms, legs, backs, necks, shoulders and brains.
To our forefathers: Radovich, White, Mackey, McNeil, Duerson and Powell; I want you to know that the torch has been passed to Brady, Brees, Manning, Vrabel, Umenyiora, Leber, Mankins, Robison, Jackson, and a brave young Aggie prospect named Von Miller. The measure of our Association is the men and their families who fight for the only thing they can bestow to each other: a better game, a safer game and a recognition from those who own for common respect.
This is the only inheritance we can provide to the men who play, their families and those who have served before and after us.
Issues which prevented a new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement from being reached (per http://www.nfllockout.com):
- The NFL demanded a multi-billion dollar giveback and refused to provide any legitimate financial information to justify it.
- The NFL’s offer on March 7 to give the NFLPA a single sheet of numbers was NOT financial disclosure. The players’ accountants and bankers advised that the "offered" information was meaningless: only two numbers for each year.
- The NFL wanted to turn the clock back on player compensation by four years, moving them back to where they were in 2007.
- The NFL offered no proposal at all for long-term share of revenues.
- NFL demanded 100% of all revenues which went above unrealistically low projections for the first four years.
- The NFL refused to meet the players on significant changes to in-season, off-season or pre-season health and safety rules.
- The NFL kept on the table its hypocritical demand for an 18-game season, despite its public claims to be working toward improving the heath and safety of players.
- The NFL wanted cutbacks in payer workers’ compensation benefits for injured players.
- The NFL sought to limit rookie compensation long after they become veterans — into players’ fourth and fifth years
- THE PLAYERS WANT TO KEEP PLAYING
- The players offered repeatedly to continue working under the existing CBA, but were rejected by the NFL five times.
- Despite publicly admitting no club was losing money, that TV ratings, sponsorship money, etc. were at an all time high, the NFL continued to insist on an 18-percent rollback in the players’ share of revenues and continue to deny the NFLPA’s request for justification.