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The NFL Lockout is Still On (And Here's DeMaurice Smith's Email to the Players)

Despite plenty of anticipation that the NFL lockout would end tonight, it’s still on. The owners voted 31-0 (Oakland abstained) to approve the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement. Then they shoved the agreement over the to the players, who took one look at it and said, “hold up.”

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports says the players will not vote tonight. Why is that? Mike Freeman of CBS Sports says that the owners ratified an agreement the players had not yet seen. So why would they vote? And what’s the rush? According to Darren Rovell, the players have plenty of time to work out a deal before any preseason games are lost.

Here’s what DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, sent to the players tonight (via Jason Lisk):

“All:

As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us.

As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal.  Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.

As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved.

There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time.  I look forward to our call tonight.”

Perhaps the sides will come closer to an agreement tomorrow.

I’m trying not to get too excited about any of these reports and frankly, when I go back and read James Surowiecki’s take on the business side of the NFL (from March), I side so strongly with the players, I’m cool with missing some of the preseason if it means they’ll defeat the owners:

The owners argue that cutting the players’ share will let teams put more money into things like stadiums and new media, and that these investments will, in the long run, make everyone richer. The problem is that owners and players don’t benefit equally when football becomes more profitable. Sure, everyone’s income increases, but the owners also see the value of their teams rise … This increase in value benefits the owners alone, and explains why so many of them are now billionaires. If you work for Google or Apple, stock options give you a chance to share in the increasing value of the company. In the N.F.L., nothing like this happens; the players, though rich, are just working stiffs like the rest of us.

You really, really need to read that. As Surowiecki writes, the players “essentially accept a guaranteed share of over-all revenue in exchange for tolerating a status quo that in most other businesses would run afoul of antitrust law.” [New Yorker]

 

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