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.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Mar 6, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:35 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

I dont get it. He states that the nfl would change dramatically if no change was made. Then i look at the record for most people to watch a television program the superbowl. The team with the smallest market wins the superbowl. And the owners are worried that the game is going down hill and a change is needed. He makes no Sense and i am a giant fan. I also dont understand why you locked them out if you are really worried about all these lawsuits and events happening because of the lockout. That letter is bogus i am smarter than that.

Since: May 7, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 3:42 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

kudos! All I know is..Giants players cannot wait to get back into the Meadowlands and play for a franchise that actually does care about their players. These guys have no clue ...

Since: May 7, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 3:39 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

speak your mind katzowits...go ahead make yourself sound like a horses ass...just because your taking sides with the players does not mean fans are gonna love your dumb article. The Maras have done more for this sport than any player ever has or ever will..enough said.!!

Since: Apr 13, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:25 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

yep its just pure racism...that is ignorant are you?

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:07 am

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

A bunch of white billionaires fighting with a bunch of african american millionaires about money.......who wins?

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2011 11:42 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

My beef with all this BS, is why do they keep saying it is hurting the fans or our way is better for the fans. They don't give a Rats A__ about the fans. They know that no matter how this turns out we the fans are going to pay for what ever they do. Both sides have valid points, and we the fans do not know who is telling the biggest lie, the owners or the players. All I know is, if I had a contract with someone that was going to give me a $100 a month for what ever and they decided that I didn't deserve that money, I would like to have proof as to why I don't deserve that $100 when we have a contract that say's I do. The Owners will get their Extra Billion. Now will it be from the Players or will it be from us the Fans in raised prices on everything from Tickets to Hot Dogs. They are going to do what ever they think si best for the Owners/Players, and they don't give a #$%& on how it effects the fans. So to both sides Quit say'ing you feel sorry for the fans. We know your lieing

Since: Jan 14, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2011 11:13 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

The Mara family has always been about making the NFL better. Do some homework all of you Giants/Mara haters. Talk all you want, but the reason small market teams can survive is because of the Maras. They did great things for professional football, and on top of that they are successful businessmen. Get the facts before you start bashing them, or just shut-up because you look really stupid.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:41 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

Freeman is a shill for the players.Nothing more and nothing less.There is no right in this fight.

Since: Mar 1, 2011
Posted on: May 19, 2011 9:36 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

I am not sure how this constitutes journalism.  If one of my high school students cut and pasted 80% of an assignment, the paper would be returned to the student to be re-written.  I thought the idea of journalism was to put things in context and investigate the claims of those who send out the press releases.

Since: Apr 28, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2011 9:02 pm

John Mara pens essay, says game is at risk

I have no idea who is right or wrong on this one but Players and Owers please remember "the world survived without football for thousands of years".  Would we miss it, sure, but we could probably learn to live without it again.  Few of us are making the money in the minimum salary range in the NFL and even fewer are making what the owners are making.  Us regular joes are at the bottom of the food chain but without us, there is no chain at all.  Remember baseball goes until the end of October, College Football is going on, College and Pro Basketball plus Hockey starts in November, NASCAR is going until late November.  And my personal favorite the Pro Bowlers Tour!  We could survive without Football, do you really want us to prove it!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or