Blog Entry

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Posted on: May 19, 2011 7:12 pm
MaraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Giants CEO John Mara has written an essay for describing for fans why a player victory in this labor dispute would be bad for the game of football – and most importantly, for its fans.

The headline of the story is “Time to get back to football,” which strikes me as an odd title for a story penned by the NFL's side (since, um, the owners are the ones locking out the players, preventing football from, you know, being practiced right now).

Anyway, here are a couple portions of his essay, without commentary by me (the owners have their side of the story, I figure, and they should be allowed to tell it).

There was no reason for the situation to come to this. The NFL's business model needs to be fixed. Of that, there is no doubt. The 2006 collective bargaining agreement was not balanced. Players have readily acknowledged they "got a great deal." Then the economy went south, adding to the problem.  A fair adjustment must be negotiated in a new CBA.

I participated in two of three weeks of federal mediation in Washington. We made progress. We closed the gap on economics, offering to commit almost $20 billion to player costs over the next four years with a 14 percent increase from 2011 to 2014. We addressed other important player concerns in our March 11 offer. It was made in an effort to continue negotiations and reach agreement.

Instead, the NFL Players Association walked away from mediation. It put a litigation strategy in play and filed a lawsuit declaring virtually all league rules relating to player employment as being violations of antitrust law. The union said many times it had no plans to dismantle the core elements of the collectively bargained system that has been in place since 1993.

And this:

The NFLPA lawyers want to wipe away fundamental elements of the NFL's appeal to fans, including the draft, "the Salary Cap, ‘franchise player' designation, ‘transition player' designation, and/or other player restrictions," according to their lawsuit. 

This strategy is no doubt designed to gain economic leverage in negotiations. But it has delayed the process of reaching an agreement and, more importantly, it threatens players, teams, and fans with very negative consequences. Without a CBA, we could be forced, as Mr. Kessler says, to come up with our own system that we think complies with antitrust law, knowing that each and every aspect of it is potentially the subject of years of litigation and uncertainty.

The likely changes would be great for NFLPA lawyers, but not for players, teams, or, most importantly, fans. For example, there could be no league-wide minimum player salaries, with many players making less than they do today, or no minimum team player costs, with many clubs cutting payrolls the way some teams do in other sports. Other bedrock components of the NFL's competitiveness, such as the draft, would be called into question and assailed as antitrust violations. A steroid testing program is a must, so we would have to consider an independent administrator such as WADA. There could be varying player benefit plans from team to team, and limits on the ability to enforce other league-wide rules that benefit players, especially rank-and-file players that do not go to the Pro Bowl.

 Even a settlement of the Brady lawsuit, in which the plaintiffs agree to certain rules, could be challenged by other players – now or in the future. The league and individual clubs would likely be hit with a barrage of lawsuits. We could end up with an unregulated system in which a disproportionate amount of money goes to "stars" and where teams in small markets struggle for survival. The very concept of a league with 32 competitive teams would be rendered virtually inoperable.

Mara goes on to write the owners’ standard line about how the only solution is at the negotiating table, and to be fair, Mara used to work for a law firm that represented unions in labor disputes. And he seemingly is one of the more moderate guys representing the NFL right now.

But’s own Mike Freeman took issue with the essay (I said I wouldn’t make commentary on the letter; I didn’t say I wouldn’t allow my colleagues to do so).

On his Twitter page, through numerous status updates, he wrote the following

“John Mara is a good dude, but his letter to fans is highly disingenuous … One of the highlights of it is how the economy hurt revenue. Problem is, NFL has made record profits. … The NFL has been immune to the economy... This fight is about revenue sharing. Not the economy. Not any of this other stuff owners are claiming. IT's...ABOUT...REVENUE SHARING! … The owners want the players to give back more money to fix the owners' revenue sharing problems... That's it. You can believe the players are greedy. Or whatever you want to believe. The truth, the truth, is revenue sharing. … The owners want the players to fix their revenue sharing problems. The players don't want to do it. So here we are... I don't blame the players for not wanting to fix the owners' problems. … Again, John Mara...honorable man. Good man. Just flat out misrepresenting what this is about.”

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Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:18 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Joe football fan is correct.
I stopped goign to NFL games when the prices got out of control and the fans became more interested in beer then the game.
However, I do not miss a game on TV. The TV contracts are HUGE because every network wants the NFL.
With the innovation of 3D tv the games will get even better on TV in the future.
really we have no choice but to wait this out. Both sides know that when the games are on the fans will be back no matter what.

Because of that they will fight like little girls in court until a judge somewhere declairs someone a loser.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:45 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Dear NFL Owners and Players:

Best of luck this fall.

While you are defaulting on your loans or scouring the job market for a position that pays you hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for your specialized skill set - I will not be shelling out thousands of dollars for season tickets, PSLís, $40 parking spots or $8 beers even though there may be a number of you Iíll be supporting with my tax dollars as you apply for public assistance or are incarcerated.

You have taken our game to the breaking point and have chosen, with your mismanaged greed, to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

Your Forgotten Partner,

The Fan

Since: May 26, 2010
Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:32 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

The Players brought the lawsuit not the owners, I will be stunned if there is games this year. Once this garbage went to court it will drag on for minimum another 3 months. Time for some college games, at least I can take my kids without going broke.

Since: Jun 16, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 11:05 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

All this money, the owners money, the players money, where does it come from? endorsements?, sponsors? but where does that money come from? FANS. We are the ones who buy the tickets, the NFL packages from Directv, the jerseys, t-shirts, jackets, etc... We are enablers for these high paid executives, owners and players. Without us there would be no money to argue about. Yet we are tolerant of this, we pay for this, we complain about this, and yet when it is all said and done....we will pay higher prices for all of this while cheering, drinking and partying for our boys of fall, anxiously awaiting the next time.

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:55 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

 Mara , the players and the general public, is missing the point here. Debating whether or not players deserve more or owners deserve MORE! Millionaire's fighting with Billionaire's. The cost/price of the game is way out of hand. A family can no longer go to a game. Unless of course they forego their mortgage payment that month. Now is not the time to be fighting over what fans/Americans can't pay to support. There wouldn't be a game without fans , Owners and players forget this is a privilege to play this GAME not a right. Both sides should suck it up make it affordable again for the fans while they still make their millions and billions and soon before they are fighting over nothing. The Fans will turn on the NFL just as they did on MLB. Basketball CBA next year could be the death of it.............

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:54 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Sounds a lot like the oil company lackeys who serve in our US Senate making a case for why they need to keep their tax credits in place.  People are stupid enough to fall for the propaganda of billionaires, while the middle class working people of this country just keep getting hosed further and further.  I stopped buying this garbage long ago.  I pay to go to college sporting events.  i don't pay to attend any professional sporting event.  I have much better ways to spend my money.

Since: Apr 25, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:35 am

owners looking worse

Media kept/keeps pointing out as the lockout drew on the fans would blame the players, not the owners. Guess I'm just different. Seems more news hits the worse the owners look (even with an idiot and his play list at a graduation speech). I'm actually to the point of wanting the books ($$$) opened up & made public so the deal can get done right & people will shut up & play ball & not have this same fight every few years.

Since: May 20, 2011
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:35 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:25 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Once again its back to he said she said bullshit! The truth is there all greedy and neither side gives a crap about the fans. This situation was and will continue to be about money and the fact these millionares dont want to split billions of dollars equally. If either side was thinking about fans they would have kept there buisness in house behind closed doors and not gotten the world involved by making it a public spectacle with lockouts and court litigations. Stop writing essays, doing interviews, and crying to any media outlet that will listnen to your sob stories about how u can make a deal to split more money than any of us will ever see because it just pisses us off!. Get in a room together and dont come out until this mess is solved. Heres an Idea from a fan, make an even deal and get back and play football before u drive the fans away for good.

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:18 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

My Letter to Football Fans:

Dear Football Fans,

We are to blame for all of this.  We pay too much money for tickets and concessions.  When too much money is available, people get greedy.  Look at the McCourts in LA.  Anyway, the problem is that the owners and players know that we love to watch football and there is no way we will boycott games.  So we now have to suck it up, wait for the bickering to stop, because eventually it will, and then return to the game we love.  It is a fact of life.  Footbal is our release!  It doesn't matter who wins or loses in this fight, because the real losers in this case are the fans.  Thank you for your time.

Joe Football Fan

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