Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: July 25, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Labor peace won by strength of resolve

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

How about this sight for those who were desperate for football to be over? NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the podium outside the NFLPA headquarters on Monday.

Smith said some nice things about Goodell, and Goodell was about to say some nice things about Smith. And after Smith introduced Goodell to the assembled media, the two shook hands and smiled. It was a beautiful sight.

Four months earlier, Goodell and Smith stood near each other in Washington and gave separate pressers, and we didn’t know when we’d have football again. But all that’s forgiven now (though not necessarily forgotten). We have football -- 10 years of labor peace -- and after a summer of misery, we finally have a payoff.

“Football is back, and that’s great news,” Goodell said. “Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinary. Everybody worked hard, everybody had a passion. This agreement is going to make our game better.”

And if you’ve paid attention at all in the past few months, you know those are sweet words. But it wasn’t an easy process. We got to watch how the sausage is made, and it was not a pleasant experience.

NFL Labor

All along, we heard people talk about how the relationship between former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the late union leader Gene Upshaw made the game strong and, for the most part, kept the labor peace while they were in charge of their respective sides. We wondered about the relationship between Smith and Goodell and whether it was strong enough to hold. We wondered if Smith was in over his head. We wondered how unified the players really were. We wondered if the NFL owners were content to blow up the game just to show the players that they were the bosses.

Goodell and Smith wouldn’t let that happen, though. Their relationship apparently is strong enough to keep the two sides from spinning away from each other into lockout infinity.

“If we don’t have a good relationship, it hurts the game and the business of football,” Smith said. “I’m proud to say our relationship has grown. Even up until the last minute, it required us to come together and get the job done. That will be our relationship going forward.
J. Saturday embraced New England owner Robet Kraft (AP).
Said Goodell: “We have trust that we’re both in there to do the best we can for football. You can’t reach a 10-year deal without that. He’s a great leader for his players. He never lost his passion. We listen to one another, which is important. We have respect for our various consituents. The players, under his leadership, have done an extraordinary job.”

But the one who was embraced the most Monday was the man who’s suffering the terrible loss of his wife, Myra, to cancer. Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- one of the most well-respected owners in the game -- was engulfed by love. Not just from his owner colleagues and his commissioner, but by the other side as well.

“We couldn’t have done it without you,” Smith told him. “We took a day off on Friday to remember a great woman and a great family. I’m thankful for what she meant to the city of Boston and especially thankful for what you mean to the game of football.”

Colts C Jeff Saturday took it a step further. After paying a nice tribute to Myra Kraft, who allowed her husband to help save football even when she was dying, Saturday stepped away from mic and embraced Kraft in a big hug.

Smith and Goodell had shook hands and smiled for the cameras. But Saturday and Kraft showed their love for each other.

It was, simply put, a touching moment on an exciting day for a man who’s lost so much in the past week. And while fans and players can be excited that they’ve got back their game -- and while Smith and Goodell provided their own beautiful moment -- Kraft’s resiliency in finishing the bargain while he was experiencing so much pain provided the true inspiration of the day.

Even during one of the most trying times of his life, he was helping to restore the game you love. And everybody should be thankful for that.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:08 am
 

NFLPA votes to unanimously approve CBA

Posted by Will Brinson



The 32 NFLPA reps voted unanimously to approve the CBA on Monday afternoon, according to NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

NFL Labor

That's right. The NFL is back.

"It's been a long time coming, and football is back -- that's the great news for everybody," Roger Goodell said at a press conference in front of the NFLPA offices. "I want to thank [DeMaurice Smith] and all of the players for their leadership and securing the long-term future of the game. Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinarily great for our game and most importantly our fans."

There are still a few steps before the deal is "officially" official, of course. This includes recertification as well as the approvement of the settlement. But for all intents and purposes were are ready to roll with the 2011 NFL season.

"This is a long time coming," Jerry Richardson said. "I would like to say what a pleasure it's been to work with the players in this negotiation."

Patriots owner Bob Kraft offered perhaps the best perspective on the entire situation, however.

"On behalf of both sides, I'd like to apologize to the fans," Kraft said, before complimenting the deal and the two sides for their work.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:36 am
 

NFLPA conference call underway, vote coming soon

Posted by Will Brinson

NFL Labor

The NFLPA announced on Monday morning a conference call with its executive committee and 32 player representatives that will take place at 11 a.m. ET on Monday.

The NFLPA player representatives will then vote on approving the deal that the two sides negotiated, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

This fits with the timeline previously reported by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, and means that we should expect to -- barring a last-minute change of heart by the executive committee -- be prepared for the beginning of the NFL offseason as shortly as the end of today.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the players are on the conference call right now "reviewing [the] summary of the deal" -- remember that, just as with last week, there are still a LOT of players that aren't completely in-tune with every single detail of the CBA. (This is simply what happens when you have 1,900 players who need to be informed; kudos to the NFLPA for getting more players to the point of understanding what's going on.)

So it's likely that issues are being explained in detail to the players rep so they can then explain said issues to their constituents.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 9:09 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 4:20 pm
 

NFL Lockout: Live updates throughout Monday

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

The lockout, kids. The 32 NFLPA reps voted unanimously to approve the CBA on Monday afternoon. That gives us a decade (!) of labor peace in the NFL. Life is good.



Now the chaos begins. Fortunately, we're here to provide you with live updates throughout the day/night/week (?!?!). So bookmark our NFL Lockout: Live Updates page and come back early and often.



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Posted on: July 24, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:38 am
 

NFL Lockout almost over, CBA finished

Smith, GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The labor deal -- and the path to NFL football in 2011 -- is finally, truly done. Well, almost.

That’s the report from CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman, who writes that the owners and players have agreed to a new CBA.

"It's done," one player source told Freeman. "We have an agreement. Now we just have to vote."

[More from Mike Freeman: Lockout updates]

Now, the majority of the players (50 percent, plus one) have to agree to the deal in order to end the lockout for good. Players will fly into Washington on Sunday in order to go over last-minute details. They’re then expected to vote Monday, and a news conference should occur shortly thereafter.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, once the deal is ratified, free agency and training camp likely will begin on the same day.

Saturday was a huge day in moving along negotiations, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly worked hard together to make sure there wasn’t any additional trouble between the two sides.

On Monday, the NFLPA executive committee will meet in Washington, and it’ll pass along its recommendations to the players -- to ratify the new CBA AND to reform the NFLPA as a union -- who will have to sign off on both deals in order to begin the new league year.

The plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case (including Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, who reportedly dropped his demand to be paid $10 million or be exempt from the franchise tag) would then have to consent to the deal, and the lawsuit -- and any other judicial matters between the two sides -- would be kaput.

And most importantly, we’d have football again.

UPDATED (11:46 a.m. ET): Freeman is reporting that the new league year can't start until the fifth day after the CBA is ratified and signed, and training camps couldn't start until two days after that. So, we still have a little time before the players officially get back to work.

UPDATED (12:29 p.m. ET): If you wanted a small dash of cold water on your red-hot "LOCKOUT IS ALMOST OVER" news, the Associated Press provides it for you. In its small story about the NFLPA executive committee meeting Monday, the AP cites sources that it's not certain whether a vote will be held to recommend the deal. So, keep that in mind before you start partying too hard tonight.

UPDATED (1:15 p.m. ET): While CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reports that the NFLPA is still trying to tweak the opt-out clause in the new CBA (or the fact there is no opt-out clause), he also writes that it's not a deal-breaker. Probably because it'll be a hard sell to the owners -- who, you'll recall, opted out of the last CBA. The players would like to get an opt-out clause after the eighth year of the 10-year CBA.

UPDATED (1:19 p.m. ET): Freeman writes that team facilities will be open to players from when the new CBA is signed until training camp begins. Which is not unexpected, but probably necessary.

UPDATED (9:22 p.m. ET): Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com writes that Saints QB Drew Brees has sent an e-mail to teammates saying it's "expected" that the new CBA deal will be signed Monday. But Brees also, not surprisingly, hedged his bets, writing that the final ratification could come Tuesday or Wednesday as well.

Brees also writes that free agency could start as early as Friday. Saints training camp, says Brees, would open July 31 with a 2 p.m. meeting.

UPDATED (9:37 a.m. ET, Monday): NFL owners and players agreed early Monday to the terms of a deal to end the lockout, and players were expected to begin the voting process later in the day, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The NFLPA executive committee is expected to meet Monday and vote on the final agreement around 11:00 a.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Signs pointing to Monday presser for new CBA?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

One source told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman on Saturday that so much progress was made in negotiations between owners and players that a deal was near. The source also thought a vote on a new collective bargaining agreement might come in the next 24-48 hours.

"So close that the executive committee might vote as soon as Sunday," Freeman writes, "though the player source felt Monday was more likely."

Either way, we'll take it. We've gone more than four months without football and at this point anything short of "SEASON CANCELED" is encouraging news.

Perhaps more evidence that the end is near: ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported via Twitter that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "have worked directly to assure that nothing goes off path. Exec committee called this a.m. Expect presser Monday."

Mortensen added that Smith and Goodell are "working directly on couple finishing details but [the] trust is there. … In fact, Goodell may be invited to [the Monday] presser."

Given all the false starts in recent days, we'd understand your skepticism. NFL Network's Albert Breer isn't yet willing to commit to a Monday press conference, instead opting for "standby mode."

"NFLPA currently has its executive committee and player reps on standby for Monday," he tweeted Saturday afternoon. "If things keep going well, likely exec comm comes to DC."

PFT's Greg Rosenthal also is trying to keep things in perspective. "We’ve learned to that a deal isn’t done until it’s done, so we’re tempering our optimism slightly."

Meanwhile, we can only imagine that ESPN's Adam Schefter is taking perverse pleasure in stirring the pot. Here is the entirety of his tweet from Saturday afternoon.



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Posted on: July 23, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Bengals TE says 'people have started to cool off'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When Roger Goodell announced during a Thursday press conference that the owners had voted 31-0 on a proposed settlement to end the lockout, the jubilation -- and the sense of relief that accompanied it -- was palpable. It was also fleeting.

In the hours after Goodell's announcement, many players said they felt blindsided. Some called the owners "arrogant" and their proposal a "power play." Still, there was optimism that the lockout wouldn't drag on much longer.

"We are going to get a deal done," Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison said late Thursday night.

Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly, an alternate player representative, sounded equally upbeat, though he recognized that players were initially concerned.

"I think guys at first were angry [Thursday] because the first time we heard about the proposal was on TV when they voted on it," said Kelly, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy. "You need to negotiate and do it the right way.

"People have started to cool off. It's not about egos and personal feelings. It's a business. All in all it's going to work out and we're going to be ready to play."

In related Bengals-lockout news, the organization emailed season-ticket holders Thursday announcing that the lockout was over. We applaud the the team's confidence, although its credibility takes a hit when you read sentences like this: "This year — like others before it — we will focus our energies on returning to the Super Bowl again."

Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar sums it up nicely. "The fact that the Bengals' organization (long known as one of the league's most parsimonious and least competent, though we certainly don't include Marvin Lewis in that equation) is out there with this one will just provide a bit of comic relief in what has been a very arduous and unnecessarily dramatic process."

So, yes, thanks again for the laughs, Cincinnati.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 9:57 am
 

What needs to happen before we get football


Posted by Will Brinson


Earlier today, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported that the NFLPA plans to work throughout the weekend despite a report that the players were going to take off until Monday.

A source of Freeman's notes, too, that "the players seem to be in no hurry to ratify the CBA."

Of course, the reality is that the CBA won't just be ratified by a majority vote from the players.

There's actually a couple of things that have to happen first, where a settlement of the lawsuits is reached, the union is reformed and then the remaining issues are collectively bargained.

So let's take a look at what, precisely, will need to happen for us to get on the path to kicking off the football (off)season.

For starters, there are still a number of issues that need to be resolved, including grievances between the NFLPA and NFL, $320 million in back benefits that the NFLPA believes it's due from 2010, how to handle substance-abuse and drug testing (HGH testing isn't going to be a clear-cut answer, despite what Jeff Pash says).

No, this doesn't include handling allegedly disgruntled plaintiff Vincent Jackson, who seems intent on being freed from the franchise tag and/or recouping money from the time he lost during his previous seasons as a restricted free agent.



But Jackson is involved in the first step of the process, which is wrapping up the settlement.

For that to happen, the two sides need to agree on the settlement's final deal points and language. (Ever dealt with a lawyer and/or lawsuit before? This sort of thing can get heated, minute and complicated.) To reach a settlement, the two sides will also need to figure out what to do with the lockout insurance case.

Once the NFLPA's executive board votes to send this to the named plaintiffs (they've done so in a conditional fashion already), Tom Brady and the rest of the named plaintiffs have to sign off on the settlement.

Latest on Lockout

As soon as that happens and the court approves the settlement, the players can begin reforming the union. That requires some serious paperwork, though it's likely the trade association known as the NFLPA will have such items squared away. Most important, it also requires 51 percent of the players turning in their union cards and re-forming.

Yes, it's possible this could happen electronically, but it's more than likely that we end up seeing team facilities opened so players can come in and sign the cards and re-form.

It's also possible that incorporating such a process could be a conditional part of the settlement, though it can't be demanded by either side necessarily and shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Once the players are re-unionized, the two sides can collectively bargain the remaining issues mentioned above.

What this means, more than anything, is that we're not just a simple vote away from getting football back. Though the owners ratified a proposal that might not have been seen by the players, and though we might feel "halfway done," there's still work ahead before we get a new CBA.

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