Labor fight: Carolina owner rattles Manning's cage

February 15, 2011
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The National Football League filed an unfair labor practice charge against its players’ union with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, another bad sign for the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium.

ESPN’s John Clayton, one of the few who have been optimistic that a deal could be worked out by mid March, said this morning that even he is losing hope.

The NFL’s filing says the union “consistently has failed to confer in good faith” during negotiations. NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah said the NFL’s claim “has absolutely no merit.”

Recent maneuvering makes it appear both sides are positioning for a court battle, rather than trying to find common ground for a resolution. A court battle, if it comes to that, is likely to be lengthy.

Remember that in 1995 it took a court ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor, now a Supreme Court justice, to end a dispute between Major League Baseball and its players. That 232-day labor fight caused the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.

MLB owners were intent on trying to break the union during the 1994-95 strike. The current NFL labor fight has the same appearance.

NFL and union officials were set to meet today and tomorrow, but sources close to the league said those talks are not happening.

Maybe it’s just as well. Recent meetings haven’t gone well, including one the day before this year’s Super Bowl that involved Peyton Manning.

Sources at the meeting told Yahoo! Sports and the Associated Press that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson scoffed at Manning after the Colts quarterback questioned the owners’ desire to take $2 billion—as opposed to the current $1 billion—off the top before sharing revenue with players.

“[Richardson] was condescending to Peyton,” a player who was at the meeting told Yahoo! Sports. “He tried to talk about P&L [profit and loss] statements and all these other risks that the owners assume, as if Peyton didn’t know anything. Drew [Brees] interrupted and said, ‘All we’re doing is just asking you to show us your books. We want to negotiate in good faith.’”

Players at the meeting said Manning was visibly shaken by Richardson’s behavior.

“We were so pissed,” another player who was present told Yahoo! Sports. “Peyton was breathing heavily, and some of us were about ready to jump across the table.”

After a short break, several owners reportedly apologized to Manning and other players present.

One year ago, the two sides were $1 billion apart. Today, the same gap separates the two sides.

Yes, we’re in for a long fight. And it might take a court order to save Indianapolis’ Super Bowl.


    Professional Sports = Greed + More Greed - Ethics. The fans are always the losers. I hope they can come to their senses - too much is at stake for Indianapolis. How much is enough? I'd just like to be able to go to a game at Lucas Oil Stadium someday, but at the prices they charge to keep the owners and players happy, I don't see it happening anytime soon.
  • Open the Books?
    Since when do employees have any right to see an employer's books (unless they're a publicly-owned entity)? Employers compete for talent; employees compete for compensation. That's the equation (or the short version of it). Players can play in Canada or for the UFL, or they can put their college degrees to work as entry level professionals in some other line of work. There is no "right to play football" just because you happen to be capable of doing so. The NFL and its teams are employers who compete for the services of players. Players who consider themselves good businesspeople can take the John Elway route after retirement if they want access to close personal financial information. Compensation is way out of whack already - especially for unproven rookies. I would favor that more be done for retired players if anything; there is probably enough gross payroll to accommodate them in a way that wouldn't seriously imperil active players and that might benefit them a few years down the road. I love football but when is enough enough? (Are the owners trying to get a cut of endorsement income?)
  • NFL
    NFL Players Union - one of several unions for the wealthy. This is the class of people that the dems like to demonize. Let's look at this objectively. The owners are the ones with the liability and the potential to lose on their franchise investments. In reality, they don't because of the popularity of the sport.

    But, if the players keep up with their tapdance down the jackass alley of greed, then the NFL will lose fans just as Major League Baseball and the NBA did. The result will be a smaller pie of income to dish out.

    So, guys, go ahead and keep up your demands, let the season and the Super Bowl be cancelled, costing thousands their jobs. What will you have to show for it? Smaller revenues in the future and fewer fans.

    Greed rules - shameful......
    • union bashing
      How can you say that the players are the ones dems demonize when the bosses are keeping their numbers under the hat? Union busting is one thing, but in a biz where the average career length is about 5 years and ownership is claimed til death I would be in support of the guys on the field, not the guys in the booth.
    • 4 tha playaz
      C'mon now, sure the dems demonize them; they are part of the "richest 1% of American" that they like to talk about with more taxes. I recognize the point about their playing career. At the same time, playing football is their choice.

      Next, when does ANY employee or representative group of employees have the right to "see the books". The teams are private companies and they have rights to keep their financial affairs private. That's the way it works.

      Yes and there is greed on both sides. Collectively, they all will find a way to mess up a good thing. But, I still believe the lions share of the blame is cast upon the imcompetence of the union and the players demands.

      It's hard for the average Joe to feel sorry for people making that kind of money to play ball. Dontcha think???
    • seeing the books
      The only time that I know of when the union can request to see the books of private business is when they claim they have no money to give or are requesting cut backs. This I know because I have negotiated labor agreements before.

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