Blog Entry

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

Posted on: March 19, 2011 4:22 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit was kind enough to do what the NFLPA needed to do in the first place: transcribe the players’ response letter to Roger Goodell into actual text. In case you’re interested, here’s the letter in its entirety.

Dear Roger:

This responds to the letter you sent to all NFL players on March 17.

We start by reminding you that we were there at the negotiations and know the truth about what happened, which ultimately led the players to renounce the NFLPA's status as the collective bargaining representative of NFL players. The players took this step only as a last resort, and only after two years of trying to reach a reasonable collective bargaining agreement and three weeks of mediation with George Cohen of FMCS. At all times during the mediation session we had representatives at the table with the authority to make a deal. The NFL representatives at the mediation did not, and the owners were mostly absent.

The mediation was at the end of a two-year process started on May 18, 2009, when our Executive Director sent you a letter requesting audited financial statements to justify your opting out of the CBA (letter attached).

The NFLPA did all it could to reach a fair collective bargaining agreement and made numerous proposals to address the concerns raised by the owners. In response, the owners never justified their demands for a massive giveback which would have resulted in the worst economic deal for players in major league pro sports.

That is why we were very troubled to see your letter, and repeated press reports by yourself, Jeff Pash, and the owners, which claim that the owners met the players halfway in negotiations, and that the owners offered a fair deal to the players.

Your statements are false.

We will let the facts speak for themselves.

—The proposal by the NFL was not an "a la carte" proposal. The changes in offseason workouts and other benefits to players were conditioned upon the players accepting an economic framework that was unjustified and unfair.

—Your proposal called for a pegged amount for the salary cap plus benefits starting at 141M in 2011 and increasing to 161M in 2014, regardless of NFL revenues. These amounts by themselves would have set the players back years, and were based on unrealistically low revenue projections. Your proposal also would have given the owners 100 percent of all revenues above the low projections, including the first year of new TV contracts in 2014. Your offer did NOT meet the players halfway when it would have given 100 percent of the additional revenues to the owners.

—As a result, the players' share of NFL revenues would have suffered a massive decrease. This is clear by comparing your proposal to what the players would receive under the 50 percent share of all revenues they have had for the past twenty years.

—If NFL revenues grow at 8 percent over the next four years (consistent with Moody's projections), which is the same growth rate it has been for the past decade, then the cap plus benefits with our historical share would be 159M in 2011 (18M more per team than your 141M proposal) and grow to 201M per team in 2014 (40M more per team than your 161M proposal).

—Your proposal would have resulted in a league-wide giveback by the players of 576M in 2011 increasing to 1.2 BILLION in 2014, for a total of more than 3.6 BILLION for just the first four years. Even if revenues increased at a slower rate of only 5 percent, the players would still have lost over 2 BILLION over the next four years. These amounts would be even higher if your stadium deductions apply to the first four years (your proposal did not note any such limits on these deductions).

—We believe these massive givebacks were not justified at all by the owners, especially given recent projections by Moody's that NFL media revenues are expected to double to about 8 BILLION per year during the next TV deal.

—Given that you have repeatedly admitted that your clubs are not losing money, the billions of dollars in givebacks you proposed would have gone directly into the owners' pockets. We understand why the owners would want to keep 100 percent of this additional money, but trying to sell it as a fair deal to the players is not truthful.

—You proposed a CBA term of ten years. But you did not include any proposal on the players' share of revenues after the first four years, which left open entirely how much more the owners would have taken from the players.

—The owners continued to refuse any financial justification for these massive givebacks. Our auditors and bankers told us the extremely limited information you offered just a few days before the mediation ended would be meaningless.

—Your rookie compensation proposal went far beyond addressing any problem of rookie "busts," and amounted to severely restricting veteran salaries for all or most of their careers, since most players play less than 4 years. What your letter doesn't say is that you proposed to limit compensation long after rookies become veterans — into players' fourth and fifth years. As our player leadership told you and the owners time and again during the negotiations, the current players would not sell out their future teammates who will be veterans in a few short years.

—Your proposal did not offer to return the 320M taken from players by the elimination of certain benefits in 2010. It also did not offer to compensate over 200 players who were adversely affected in 2010 by a change in the free agency rules. Your letter did not even address a finding by a federal judge that you orchestrated new television contracts to benefit the NFL during the lockout that you imposed.
—You continued to ask for an 18 game season, offering to delay it for only one more year (you earlier said it could not be implemented in 2011 no matter what due to logistical issues). This was so even though the players and our medical experts warned you many times that increasing the season would increase the risk of player injury and shorten careers.

—All of the other elements you offered in the mediation, which you claim the players should have been eager to accept, were conditioned on the players agreeing to a rollback of their traditional share of 50/50 of all revenues to what it was in the 1980s, which would have given up the successes the players fought for and won by asserting their rights in court, including the financial benefits of free agency the players won in the Freeman McNeil and Reggie White litigations more than 20 years ago.

—The cap system for the past twenty years has always been one in which the players were guaranteed to share in revenue growth as partners. Your proposal would have shifted to a system in which players are told how much they will get, instead of knowing their share will grow with revenues, and end the partnership.

You had ample time over the last two years to make a proposal that would be fair to both sides, but you failed to do so. During the last week of the mediation, we waited the entire week for the NFL to make a new economic proposal. That proposal did not come until 12:30 on Friday, and, when we examined it, we found it was worse than the proposal the NFL had made the prior week when we agreed to extend the mediation. At that point it became clear to everyone that the NFL had no intention to make a good faith effort to resolve these issues in collective bargaining and the owners were determined to carry out the lockout strategy they decided on in 2007.

We thus had no choice except to conclude that it was in the best interests of all NFL players to renounce collective bargaining so the players could pursue their antitrust rights to stop the lockout. We no longer have the authority to collectively bargain on behalf of the NFL players, and are supporting the players who are asserting their antitrust rights in the Brady litigation. We have heard that you have offered to have discussions with representatives of the players. As you know, the players are represented by class counsel in the Brady litigation, with the NFLPA and its Executive Committee serving as an advisor to any such settlement discussions. If you have any desire to discuss a settlement of the issues in that case, you should contact Class Counsel.


Kevin Mawae
Charlie Batch
Drew Brees
Brian Dawkins
Domonique Foxworth
Scott Fujita
Sean Morey
Tony Richardson
Jeff Saturday
Mike Vrabel
Brian Waters
CC: All NFL Players

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Category: NFL

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:07 pm

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

Simply unusual and moreover really quite simple and straightforward to hold. Trying to learn of alot more such writeups!! Have you got a flickr?

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:34 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:08 am

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

I just subscribed on the RSS feed, undecided if I did it precisely even if? Incredible submit from the way.

Since: Mar 21, 2011
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:14 pm

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

I am so upset at both sides.  Do they think that we the fans don't understand that both sides are greedy idiots?  I mean come on.  They have already done irreputable damage to the NFL image and what are we talking this has been going on for a month?  I am a Colts fan.  I have 3 sons who love football.  We listen to Jeff Saturday on the local radio station give his opinion.  Jeff, I am sorry but in the end, get your butt on the field and Irsay, get the other owners off their perch and settle this crap ASAP.  Both sides make way too much money.  I mean just about every player in the NFL has had their education paid for while they were in college, and I know where Irsay lives, its not the low rent district of Indy.  We are supposedly a SMALL market team.  We the fans paid for your new stadium and you do this.  get a life

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: March 19, 2011 9:38 pm

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

this letter is slightly ridiculous in a few ways. first of all I disagree that this is a system that can't work for both the players and owners if they were to switch the current revenue base rules of compensation split 50/50. I point out the fact that businesses that are based off of a model like the NFL's that splits revenue evenly is a system that is few and far between in the real world yet the players expect it because they have always seen the NFL this way. Had they never shifted to this sort of CBA, they would be paying players less than millions of dollars a year to play football and garunteed there would still be an NFL, with plenty of big name competition simply because that is what people were used to from day one on. However the owners actually screwed themselves over because they shifted to this split. It's their own fault that the players expect this sort of system, they let it happen. <br /><br />my second complaint about the letter is the attack on the 18 game schedule. Granted players would lose just 2 preseason games the owners would almost have no choice but to increase roster sizes, and the pay would then be split up more evenly amongst the players on the rosters. It would also allow for more teams to compete with bigger teams because the increased fatigue, and injuries their bodies would endure all season. Meaning that guys on the bench become a lot more valuable and likely won't be looking at their salaries wondering why teams aren't paying them more to play more. Granted this would add another 2 game checks those checks aren't actual raises it's basically just the real world's version of working underpaid overtime. I'm the first to admit that the injuries these guys play through are what makes their salaries worth it for the owners because ironmen like Brett Favre playing through injuries brings in more and more fans because it makes people view those guys as heroes for their city, and their team, but the fact that players are looking at the 18 game schedule and wondering why they won't be paid more is almost absurd with how much they really are paid. What the owners don't seem to realize is before long the players will force the owners' hand and make them pay more. The best players will demand more money and the owners will either hand it over or lose their big name guys to teams that will pay the player and find cheaper players for the bench meaning either way the pay scale will need to be tilted upward for the players in order to make this a happy cba agreement that won't be opted out of. I love the idea of an 18 game schedule but both sides need to budge on demands before it'll ever happen.

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: March 19, 2011 9:25 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 19, 2011
Posted on: March 19, 2011 5:39 pm

Full version of players' letter to Goodell

I hope this means Scam Newton won't get any more money for playing football (in addition to the $200,000 he, errrrr 'his father', got for transferring to Auburn). I can't believe he admitted to cheating while at Florida (or was it FSU? Who cares, same thing), and was ever allowed to play in the NCAA again. Anyone who watched the 2011 BCS Championship game (anyone outside the state of Alabama, anyway) knows Oregon won, 19-12. If you think Auburn won you must also believe OJ was innocent. Ironically, Akili Smith played for Oregon so, like Scam Newton, he finished his collegiate career without winning a championship. Now let's see if Oregon can repeat as champs next year. GO DUCKS!!

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