NFL Player's Association president Kevin Mawae sent a pair of letters on Monday to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Kansas City mayor Mark Funkhouser urging them to communicate with NFL owners -- particularly to the Kansas City Chiefs' Clark Hunt and St. Louis Rams' Stan Kroenke -- the "importance of developing a meaningful dialogue" with the NFLPA as it pertains to negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The current CBA expires in 100 days (from Nov. 22), the letters state, and NFL owners including Hunt and Kroenke have "chosen to prepare for and threaten to lock out players and fans in the 2011-2012 season." NFLLockout.com, the NFLPA's version of NFLLabor.com, has a posting titled, "NFL's Lockout Checklist" detailing all the reasons the union believes the league is preparing to lock the Players out.
The letter points out the NFL's various TV deals that will pay them -- money that must later be repaid -- whether there's football in 2011 or not. "Owners will continue to thrive financially at the expense of serious job losses among your constituents and major lost tax revenue," the letter states.
Per the letters, a lockout would cost every NFL city in America $160 million in lost jobs and revenue.
The crux of the NFLPA's message is that they want the league to negotiate in good faith and that things on their version of the "NFL's Lockout Checklist" are preventing that from happening. The letters point out that the folks that the lockout will hurt are the same ones that helped the team benefit via state and local funds.
The NFL's response comes via NFLLabor.com and states there's no need to get political leaders involved.
"The union’s request for state and local political leaders to intercede in the negotiations ignores and denigrates the serious and far more substantial problems that those leaders," the league's statement says, "and that state and local workers across the country face. We can resolve our own issues as we have done many times in the past but the NFLPA has to want to participate in resolving them."
"Nobody—least of all NFL owners – wants to shut down our business. The best way to ensure uninterrupted NFL football in 2011 is for the union to stop asking everyone else to solve its problems and to sit down and engage in serious, constructive bargaining. If the union does so, we can and will reach an agreement."
I'm not so much worried about the details as I am the result -- football in 2011 or not? If getting Gov. Nixon and Mayor Funkhouser involved helps get a deal done, then I'm all for it. If locking the two sides into the same room for 24 hours at a time gets a deal done, then I'm for that, too. Like most fans, I don't want my summer (or any other season) dominated by the threat of no football.