Owners renege on revenue sharing

I’m sure Mr. Stalter will go into more detail later on today, but I wanted to throw out this tidbit from CBS’ Mike Freeman about the regression in the NFL’s labor negotiations:

Based on interviews with several people familiar with the discussions this is what happened. The players thought they had an agreement on the important split of overall revenue. In fact, despite the protestations to players in a conference call, the NFLPA believed a deal was indeed near. Then, the sources stated, owners suddenly reversed course, and offered models that had been previously rejected by the players.

Come on, owners. Now’s not the time to be moving backwards on comprimises to which you’ve already agreed.

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Judge ruling on lockout coming on Monday?

Federal mediator George Cohen reads an announcement that the talks between the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners will continue to reach a deal and avoid a lockout in Washington, March 4, 2011. The NFL and the players’ union agreed to extend talks on a new collective agreement for another week, the League-owned NFL Network reported Friday. The chief sticking point in the talks is how to distribute the league’s $9 billion in annual revenues. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL BUSINESS)

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News hears that Judge Susan Nelson will rule on the validity of the owners’ lockout on Monday.

I’m hearing Nelson will issue the ruling on Monday. The players are the heavy favorites to win this round.

That doesn’t mean the lockout ends right away and free agency starts. Nelson will either issue a stay on her ruling pending appeal to the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis or the loser will get a stay pending appeal directly from the Eighth Circuit. The winner of the appeal gains the leverage.

Either way, the stubbornness of the players and owners will eventually burn one of them with litigation taking over for negotiation. After two years of negotiating on their own, 16 days in federal mediation with George Cohen in Washington and four days in court-ordered mediation, which ended yesterday, with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan in Minneapolis, it’s all about the lawsuits.

As Myers points out, mediation between the two sides has been put off until May 16 because Boylan has scheduling conflicts. It’s nice to know that Judge Nelson picked someone to mediate this dispute that would eventually need a nearly month-long break in between. No wonder the NFL wanted to continue mediation under George Cohen (pictured above).

A lockout injunction is likely, but don’t assume that the NFL’s doors will be open for business following Judge Nelson’s ruling. The owners are expected to appeal the decision, which means free agency, trades and fun will once again be put on hold for more lawsuits, bickering and nausea.

NFL player arrests continue, as the Falcons’ Moore the latest to be booked

Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore (25) runs upfield after intercepting a pass from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Seattle, Washington, December 19, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Sorbo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

This math equation should be taught at the grade school level because it’s as basic as it gets:

NFL Players + Too Much Money + Too Much Time on their Hands = Bad News.

Falcons’ safety William Moore became the 11th player arrested since the lockout began on March 11th when he was booked on Tuesday in Gwinnett County, Georgia. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Moore was charged with speeding, driving with a suspended license and failure to appear. But hey, at least he didn’t enter into a car chase and get arrested for eluding a police officer.

The 2009 second round pick became the Falcons’ starting strong safety last year, registering 72 tackles, five interceptions and one forced fumble. He is viewed as one of the bright young stars on an improving Atlanta defense and seeing as how this was his first offense, he’ll probably escape punishment from the league. Of course, that really isn’t the crux of the issue, now is it?

On Tuesday I wrote a piece about how it was in the best interest of the owners to stall during the lockout. The longer this dispute goes on, the more leverage they can create. Some of these young players are reckless when it comes to their spending habits and clearly can’t stay out of trouble. In the span of 40 days, 11 players have already been arrested. What will that arrest number look like after 80 or 100 days?

The longer the owners wait, the more likely these players who are currently running amok will continue to make fools of themselves. That’s not to say that I advocate the owners stalling or that I’m on their side. No, I think both sides should want to get a deal done immediately to avoid further embarrassment. But if I were an owner I wouldn’t be in a rush to see the lockout end.

Saints to take on Packers to kick off 2011 NFL Season, Lions to host MNF game

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (R) celebrates with teammate Greg Jennings after they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during the NFL’s Super Bowl XLV football game in Arlington, Texas February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Assuming there even is a 2011 NFL season, the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers will host the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, September 8 to kick off the new year according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The full NFL schedule won’t be released until 7:00PM ET tonight, but word has leaked about some of the matchups. Along with the Saints-Packers tilt on opening night, the Giants are expected to play the Redskins in Week 1 and the Cowboys and Jets will kick off the Sunday Night Football schedule.

And get this: the Detroit Free Press is also reporting that the Lions will host a Monday Night Football game this year against their NFC North rivals, the Bears. The game is slated for October 10 and will be the Lions’ first appearance on MNF since 2001 and their first prime-time game of any kind since 2005.

That’s great news for long-suffering Lions fans, although does anyone else find it ironic that they get to celebrate their team being on MNF next year in the middle of a lockout? Congratulations, Lions fans – your team will be on Monday Night Football next season! Well, if there even is a season, that is.

I’ll update this post with the full schedule once it’s released tonight.

View the full 2011 NFL Schedule.

Players and owners viewing second round of mediation as a ruse?

The home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers is shown in San Diego, California at Qualcomm Stadium March 15, 2011. The antitrust suit filed by NFL players against the league will be heard on April 6 in a federal court in Minnesota, according to court documents released on Monday. The hearing is to be heard by Judge Susan Nelson with the players asking for an injunction against the lockout declared by the NFL on Saturday. REUTERS/Mike Blake(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Remember the report about how a new CBA could be in place by the time of the NFL draft? Well apparently fans can forget about that.

Just days after NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the CBA discusses were getting “serious,” CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman refutes Breer’s claims and labeled the current talks a “ruse.” After speaking with sources on both sides, Freeman believes this second round of mediation is just a “song and dance, ritualistic, done to satisfy Judge Susan Nelson.”

Great. Happy Monday, NFL Fans! There’s still no hope that there will be a season next year!

One thing that I found perplexing about Breer’s report is that he said the two sides were serious about this round of mediation, yet they weren’t going to meet over the weekend. If the players and owners were taking mediation seriously, wouldn’t they want to exhaust their time together by trying to iron out their issues over the weekend? After all, there’s no season next year. It’s not like the owners and players had something more important to take care of last weekend that they couldn’t continue mediation. I get that these people also have lives but if they were taking it seriously and if they were getting somewhere in talks, why halt the discussion?

If you want to remain optimistic about the situation, then sink your hope into Breer’s report. But if you want to be realistic, then Freeman’s story makes more sense. The players are still confident that Judge Nelson will rule in their favor, while the owners believe that they can reverse her decision on appeal. Freeman is probably right in that we’re right back to where we started when the owners locked the players out in March: Nowhere.

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