Blog Entry

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

Posted on: March 7, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 11:46 am
Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a week-long extension of the CBA on Friday. That week is actually five days, however, because of the weekend. Which means Monday (aka today) is one of five days left on the calendar -- barring an additional extension -- to save football.

And it nearly never happened. According to Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated, an anonymous member of the NFLPA Executive Committee walked into the mediation workroom and informed union president Kevin Mawae -- in the presence of Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash and DeMaurice Smith -- that the union was decertifying.

"We're done! We're decertifying," the anonymous player said, according to Trotter.

Oh yes, and that player added a throat slash while doing so, which is a pretty aggressive negotiation tactic, to say the least.

Matt Jones and I covered this extensively in the labor podcast that dropped earlier today -- decertification would have some serious implications in terms of how it could harm the owners' pockets if things ended in the NFL's worst-case scenario. (As Matt put it, it would basically become like European soccer.)

NFL Labor

Whether or not the throat slash/declaration combo actually caused the owners to blink and sign off on the 7-day extension would be fun to find out, but it won't guarantee a labor deal getting done this week. The only thing that will guarantee it is if the two parties get down to business Monday and crank through every issue. 

So, naturally, the CBA mediation between the two sides will begin at ... 3 PM EST?

Apparently so -- Albert Breer of the NFL Network said the because "folks [are] traveling in the AM to get" to Washington, D.C., things aren't getting kicked off as promptly as they could.

This is rather odd -- both sides took a weekend break from these very negotiations knowing they'd need to be back at the bargaining table for a hard week's worth of figuring out the future of America's most popular sport.

Everyone involved knew they'd need to be in the nation's capital today for the talks. Which means that everyone involved could have likely figured out a way to align their travel plans in such a manner as to make sure that mediation was able to start at least by noon.

That being said, a 3 PM start time can always equate to an all-night mediation session. But given how much is at stake over the next week (again, barring an additional extension), everyone who cares about the NFL would probably prefer seeing the two sides maximizing their ability and time to negotiate.

UPDATE 11:45 a.m. EST: Judy Batista of the New York Times says negotiations will go into the evening hours Monday night. Both sides will take a dinner break and then resume talking. Batista also says that it was NFLPA lawyer Jeffrey Kessler who delivered the decertification threat.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:30 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:48 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:18 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:51 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

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Since: Oct 4, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2011 6:49 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

The owners in my poinion have fallen way out of touch with reality. Just because you have been progressing at a 3% growth rate instead of the 8% growth rate of the prior cba does not mean you are operating at a 5% loss.

Actually...yes it does mean that. It's a plan for growth that we all have to come to grips with as far as projected income to inflation goes. All businesses do it and even the unions use this meathod in their negotiations for annual raises and benefits. Which means that you have never negotiated nor ran a business and yet have such a good idea how all this should work out. These guys are billionaires for a reason...they know how it all works and use these meathods to an advantage in negotiations. The players have to hire lawyers to think for them since their everlovin' brains have been knocked silly. Believe me, the lawyers (who could care less about the NFL - fans, players or owners) are the ones hateing and trying their best to shut this down - get paid, and then get paid even more to start it all over again. They want to let the union die so they can represent 1600 players to individually sue owners. Think how much mone $ they will make to let that happen. You can trust a be a lawyer.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:01 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

The owners in my poinion have fallen way out of touch with reality. Just because you have been progressing at a 3% growth rate instead of the 8% growth rate of the prior cba does not mean you are operating at a 5% loss. I would love to see the owners response if the NFLPA said we will give you the other 1 billion off the top that you say you need for stadiums but you cannot ask for tax payer money to fund your stadium builds and renovations.

Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2011 3:44 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?


I could sense quite of bit of hostility towards NFL players while reading your response. I cant help but wonder if maybe the hostility comes from the fact that you seem to be comparing the employment situation of the typical person on the typical job with that of elite athletes who work for an association with an exemption to the federal antitrust laws. Go ahead and advocate for the owners. I wonder of they will return the favor when they set ticket prices.

By the way, if the owners could find the players to risk limb and future for a few hundred thousand dollars, they would have years ago. They understand that the billions of dollars generated from the athletes who perform teh real work.


Since: Jul 9, 2008
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:37 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

I can see your point. However, neither Walmart nor UPS has a federal antitrust exemptiion. Therefore, a collective bargining process is just part of the exemption. 

A more realistic response to this mess should be, "If the owners don't like guaranteed profits, they can void the antitrust exemption and accept compitition like every other business owner.  

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:31 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

If any of this "throat slash" bravado bs is true then I am even more on the owners side than I already was.  When's the last time an employee went into his boss' office, demanded more money and then executed a throat slash to indicate his sincerity?!? Show me that and I'll show you a guy standing in line at the unemployment office.  I don't care how much money in being made by the NFL.  All those profits go to the dudes with the words "owner" after their names. All the dudes that run around on the field and stroll the sidelines and work in the stadium and scout players and so on all work for those OWNERS.  If the owners think they can put out a good product and cut labor costs, then they have the right to do it.  If these prissy millionaire ratards don't want to play for what is offered, they can polish up those resumes and see what kind of money they'll get out here in the real world.  The last person who interviewed me did not ask me for my 40 time nor how many reps of 225lbs I could squeeze out.  Interviews that focus on those numbers usually end with an offer of tens of dollars and hours (if you get an offer), not six to eight digit salaries.  For the owners, I'm sure they can find a bunch of strong, fast players who are willing to work for $100k to $250k a year and all of us fans will love to watch them on Sunday.
I'm not saying the players can't get in on the big $$$.  Those that are really talented will have the option of leveraging their playing time into big money in the form of product endorsements.  Put up big numbers, make the Sportcenter highlight reels and go get you a deal with Nike. Cool, drive on.  But that doesn't mean your boss has to pay you more than he/she wants to.  On a final note, any idiot that did this throat slash move SHOULD be rewarded by handing him a pink slip and escorting his dumb arse out of the building.  These guys may all think this a game of pimps-n-hos (just check out the picture on the article) and that brawn will win over brains as it does on the gridiron, but make no mistakes, the suit wearing sharks with big old wallets on the other side of the table will win this fight 10 out of 10 times, and these union reps better take whatever deal the owners are offering before half these players wind up sacking groceries at the piggly wiggly talking about "back when they played in the pros..."

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2011 12:59 pm

Union was within '5 minutes' of decertifying?

First off the players can choose not to play in the NFL if they don't like the conditions - no one is holding a gun to them.   Second if any normal person in the real world under performs then they get fired - thats freaking life.  Players need to stop whining and if they don't like it quit and go apply to UPS or Walmart for a job like everyother citizen. 

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