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GastonGazette: COLUMN: NFL owners, players on brink of disaster


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http://www.gastongazette.com/sports/players_20749___article.html/nfl_year.html

May 20, 2008 - 3:23PM

By Steve Reed

CHARLOTTE - On Tuesday, NFL owners voted unanimously to end their agreement with the players' union in 2011 - two years before the original deal was to expire - opening up the possibility of an uncapped salary year in 2010 and a work stoppage the year after that.

The sky isn't falling, NFL fans - but it's getting gray.

The league emphasized that it will keep negotiating with the players union and games will be played "without threat of interruption for at least the next three seasons."

"We have guaranteed three more years of NFL football," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "We are not in dire straits. We've never said that. But the agreement isn't working, and we're looking to get a more fair and equitable deal."

For diehard football fans, it's hard to imagine life without the NFL. It's sickening to folks that look forward to following their team throughout the late summer, fall and early winter months, as well as those who spend countless hours playing Fantasy Football.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

The NFL owners and the players union need to sit down now and get serious about hammering out a new agreement.

Lock them in a room until they get it done. No vacation. No days off. Just get it done.

Don't wait until next February to begin talking. Do it now. Right now.

It would be stupid not to.

The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States. It is the golden goose, seemingly providing an endless revenue stream.

A strike, like the one in the mid-80s, would risk alienating a very loyal fan base.

That said, my bet is this negotiation will come down to the last minute of the last hour of the last day, like most things do between the owners and players union. And then there will be an extension. And then another. And another, until finally they rush to get a deal done while we all wonder, "Why did this take so long? You had months to figure this out!"

And before a new deal is reached there will be plenty of bickering and name-calling from both sides. Greed will be a word tossed about like a football on a fall afternoon.

Like any negotiation, this needs to be about compromise.

The deadline for a new CBA to be in place is March 2009. That's 10 months.

If that doesn't happen, it triggers an "uncapped year" in 2010, meaning the NFL suddenly becomes like baseball and teams can spend as much (or as little) as they want on players. That may be good for the Dallas Cowboys, but it doesn't bode well for smaller market teams like the Carolina Panthers.

In football terms, the owners and players union are now on the clock.

Tick, Tock. Tick, Tock.

The main disagreement is over revenue sharing.

The owners are paying $4.5 billion to players this year, or just under 60 percent of their total revenues as specified in the 2006 agreement which Panthers owner Jerry Richardson spearheaded for the owner's side. Richardson was unavailable for comment on Tuesday, but the owners have admitted in the past that prior to 1996, they got the best of the revenue sharing. But now, with the economy in the you-know-whatter, they think the players are pocketing too much cash.

The other point of contention is the contracts given to unproven draft picks. NFL owners would like to decrease the money paid to rookies and give more to proven veterans.

Negotiations already have started and, according to the league, will continue. But just how serious they are isn't known.

"When we negotiated this deal we had two stop points that you could decide to terminate, either side," NFL Players Association president Gene Upshaw told nfl.com. "Obviously, the owners have decided to take this termination early. We expected it. But it means that there is football through 2010, not through 2012."

The only way that changes is if both sides get busy now hammering out a new deal.

The golden goose is bleeding, fellas. You have 10 months to get it fixed. Don't let it die. You'll live to regret it.

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I always start a tr1 thread looking for what is highlighted. This one had me disappointed.

I wouldn't say brink of disaster, but if it's true that the low-revenue and high-revenue teams are at odds, then we could see some trouble on the horizon.

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my bet is this negotiation will come down to the last minute of the last hour of the last day, like most things do between the owners and players union. And then there will be an extension. And then another. And another, until finally they rush to get a deal done
Why is this always the freaking case. There is no reason why they can't come to an agreement by preseaon yet that will never happen.
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