Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:57 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 1:09 pm

Tom Brady understands his place in labor history

Posted by Will Brinson

NEW YORK -- Tom Brady hasn't said much, if anything, about his signing on to be the lead plaintiff in Brady v. NFL, but during an appearance at an Under Armour event at Chelsea Piers in New York City, he made it clear that his decision to put his name at the forefront of wasn't really that difficult.

"Was it difficult?" Brady asked. "I'm always trying to figure out what the right thing is.

"Look, I've been very fortunate as a player to sign the contracts that I've signed and to be in the position I've been in as a leader and to lead."

Brady clearly understands his place in history too; being the lead plaintiff in such a case not only means he'll go down in legal history, but also in terms of someone who represents the interests of the players at large. In fact, he directly cited the man who introduced him at the Under Armour event, Boomer Esiason, and Boomer's role as lead plaintiff in the 1987 labor case, and how previous players helped pave the way for the current players to achieve what they have.

"[I'm in my position] because of Boomer Esiason, who was the lead plaintiff in 1987, and all the work he fought for current players," Brady said. "So it's really a lasting legacy that Boomer's had. So when the opportunity was presented to me and someone like Peyton [Manning] and Drew Brees who are also very notable players in the league -- you know, we represent the entire group."
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The Pats' quarterback didn't take a contentious stance, though, with respect to the differences that the two sides have in reaching an agreement. Rather, he seemed to apply the "Patriot Way" to the discussion of what is absolutely a heated legal disagreement.

"I think that's the important thing to realize is that we're trying to bring reason and compromise to a very challenging agreement," Brady said. "This is not something that's easy. There's a lot that goes into it. I know a lot of people are hard at work. DeMaurice Smith has had a lot of meetings at Roger Goodell. Mr. Kraft is heavily involved, and everyone's trying to accomplish the same thing.

"Hopefully there's an agreement at some point soon."

More than anything else, Brady truly seemed to embrace and understand what his role as lead plaintiff entails. That's great news for the players he's representing, from his teammates to Brees/Manning and down all the way to relatively-unknown quarterbacks who might be drafted in the sixth round.

But considering his high profile in this issue, the calm rhetoric and optimism he exhibited -- while not out of the ordinary -- is great news for the same people for whom he was putting on event: the fans.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:30 am

Some teams 'not refusing' to talk to free agents

Posted by Will Brinson and Mike Freeman

On Thursday morning, the NFL said it would continue with the status quo , despite Judge Nelson ruling against their request for a stay. Unsurprisingly, the players disagree with their stance, and Jim Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler, attorneys for the players, sent out an email to all players and agents declaring they believe the league year to be open.

CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of that email correspondence, in which the NFLPA also states they believe the NFL will be in contempt of court if they don't open the league year immediately.

"Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin. The NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players. It is our view that the NFL &the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the 8th Circuit."

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Now, this doesn't change a whole lot, really, because the NFL is probably just going to ignore the NFLPA's request to begin the year.

They're also probably just going to ignore any calls from agents and players,

However, sources tell CBSSports.com that "some team phones are ringing off the hook" with agents flooding teams with requests for free agent business. Additionally, those sources said that some teams are "not refusing" to talk about free agency at the moment.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 1:50 pm

Report: NFL gave 'revised' proposal on Friday

Posted by Will Brinson

The clock is, obviously, ticking on the NFL's labor situation. Friday afternoon an update is expected from the NFL and NFLPA, who are meeting in a theoretically final day of mediation in Washington, D.C. today.

Multiple reports -- from both Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network and Gary Myers of the New York Daily News -- indicate that the owners are about to give one more proposal to the union. Myers calls it a "revised proposal" and LaCanfora echoes that sentiment but also adds that it is "likely a final one."

In other words, if the NFLPA feels that whatever is offered by the league doesn't adequately indicate their willingness to concede certain issues, it could mean that the union will proceed with decertification.

Alternately, the owners' proposal could, potentially, be seen by the union as an indication that they're willing to find some common ground. That would mean the likelihood of a CBA extension past Friday would increase substantially.

The best guess is a coin flip, though, because reports from Friday's labor talk indicate a less negative tone at the bargaining table, but Thursday evening, as we noted earlier, was enough of a PR mess that it drained most of the optimism out of any possibility for a successful conclusion to the talks.
NFL Labor

Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal also reports that the owners made "revised offers on core issues this morning" -- that means that they likely changed their stance on some combination of the rookie wage scale, revenue sharing and an 18-game schedule.

Time will tell, however, if it's enough of a change to warrant the two sides considering an extension past Friday.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 12:06 pm

Subways 'fresh take' on the NFL labor talks

Posted by Will Brinson

I'm not always a fan of Subway marketing, particularly when they have a guy dress up like a breakfast sandwich and stand on a corner by the shopping center near my house. (I mean, really, nothing's more appetizing than thinking about eating a giant plastic sandwich for breakfast, especially when he's across the street from a Chik-Fil-A, right?)

But the sly move the Subway in Washington, D.C. near the Federal Mediation and Counseling Services pulled (see: above) is pretty freaking awesome.

Apparently, this Subway's picked up plenty of business over the past few weeks thanks to the slew of reporters sitting outside the labor negotiations. And now, they're willing to capitalize on it.

Well played, handlers of sandwich meat.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 11:49 am

Labor 'resolution' coming in an 'hour or two'?

Posted by Will Brinson

It's the final day of mediation on the current CBA deadline and things don't look good for the immediate future of the NFL.

There was reasonable cause for optimism up to Thursday afternoon that a deal could get done, but then yesterday evening, things took a turn for the worst and various peers from the two sides began sniping at each other in the media.

Now it appears as if there could be a resolution by lunchtime, provided the words from Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner, can be taken at face value.

"Hopefully we'll have something for you in an hour or two," Jones said Friday morning while entering the Federal Mediation and Counseling Services building.

Resolution, there, doesn't necessarily mean anything good. Just that mediation might be over without an extension and without a new collective bargaining agreement, which means we're headed for the nuclear option.

That is to say, the players are going to demand some additional financial transparency from the owners in order to agree to an additional mediation, the owners will refuse, and the players will go about decertifying and filing an antitrust lawsuit.

Proof of this likelihood came via some strong tweet-language from Drew Brees, Saints quarterback and one of the big players in the negotiations.

"To our fans - I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal," Brees tweeted. "The NFL brought this fight to us - they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request.

"They refuse to give that information to us. They think we should just trust them. Would you? We have a responsibility to our players - past, present, and future, to advance this league forward, not take 3 steps back."

Whether or not Brees' words are a precursor to a legal nightmare we won't know for a few hours. But regardless, it's the worst possible solution for everyone involved. However, if the owners are indeed unwilling to share their financial documents, there's nothing to do but brace and see how this legal nightmare pans out.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 7:07 pm

Podcast: Maury Brown talks NFL, NFLPA mediation

Posted by Will Brinson
NFL Labor

Another day of labor negotiations, another podcast, and this time Maury Brown of BizofFootball.com (and the Business of Sports Networks) joins me to chat about the current state of labor negotiations.

We discuss how much the reported rookie wage scale will actually help the talks between the NFL and NFLPA, whether or not the owners should open up their books, the (very important) difference between "decline in cash flow" and "losing money," and his thoughts on how the rest of the negotiations will unfold.

Just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: March 9, 2011 12:31 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 12:34 pm

Some details about opening the books come out

Posted by Andy Benoit

Albert Breer of NFL Network has uncovered some more details regarding the financial transparency issues that came to the forefront of the labor negotiations on Tuesday. With more info and clarity likely to trickle out soon, we’ll relay Breer’s series of tweets for now:

Details on offer from NFL to NFLPA: League offered aggregated top-line financials -- not team-by-team -- over 5-year period (2005-09).

NFL Labor
NFL also offered to disclose number of teams experiencing shift in profitability from 05-09, and 3rd-party auditor to assess.

NFLPA wanted team-by-team financials, containing stadium and overhead information that pertains to cost credits proposed.

NFL made concession on profitability information, what Pash alluded to in saying info available now is more than ever before.

NFLPA declined to look at that info, b/c they don't want to look at any of it until their folks deem what's offered is enough to do a deal.
And so you have your stalemate.

What the players are saying, in short, is that they want to see each team’s financial books. What the owners are saying is, they'll give the players a snapshot look at their books as a whole, but not broken down by team.

The likely reason the owners don’t want to go team by team is because they don’t want to show each other their books. (Bob Kraft doesn’t want Dan Snyder knowing his financial details, Dan Snyder doesn’t want Jerry Jones knowing his financial details, etc.)

The question the NFLPA must figure out is, can aggregated financial information be sufficient for their negotiating purposes?

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 4:23 pm

Trotter talks NFLPA opening books, decertifying

Posted by Will Brinson

NFL Labor
Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated has been all over the labor scene in recent weeks -- he dropped the news about the union being "within minutes" of decertifying last Friday in this week's MMQB.

And he also broke the news that the NFLPA was bringing in an international investment bank to audit the NFL's books (if they open them). Best of all, he was kind enough to hope on the phone with me and talk about those issues, plus how much the NFL has to lose by not opening the books, whether he thinks the owners will actually show their financials, whether there was actually a "throat slash" involved last week, and his take on how the rest of the week in labor negotiations will play out.

Just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com