So I haven't seen this anywhere here on AP officially, even though many of us have read it. It is the league's statement regarding the now-famous "last gasp" offer the owners made to the NFLPA before the fit hit the shan yesterday.
I figured I'd post it up here since I haven't seen it, and I wanted to make sure everyone got the chance to see it. Also, I'm working on a fairly extensive email to both sides and intend on using whatever I learn here to give some weight to what I say. In other words, I'm attempting to be the proverbial "voice in the wilderness" that speaks for fans here on AP.
So here's the statement, and I'd like to know 2 things. I'll attach a poll and would like to hear your comments as well.
1) Do you believe this statement is true or that the owners are making it up in order to win public support?
2) If it is true, do you believe the players should have agreed to this deal?
The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had “decertified” and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.
The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.
The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.
At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham “decertification” and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement.
The NFL clubs remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached. The NFL calls on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.