Latest on NFL labor situation, CBA
Titans fans question Goodell — 4:21 p.m.
Some unhappy Tennessee Titans fans have warned NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the lockout will cost the league if it doesn’t end soon.
Goodell held his latest conference call with season ticket holders Thursday, this time spending about 36 minutes on the telephone with Titans fans.
One man wanted to know why NFL owners won’t open their books up to the players, another asked how far apart owners and players really are and another warned the commissioner upset fans will take their anger out on the NFL. He told Goodell to take the initiative and get a deal done ”before the NFL loses all credibility."
Goodell defended the lockout, saying the NFL has ”serious economic issues” to resolve and that there is no ”drop dead date” for a resolution. Full story
Bucs to close offices for week — 1:12 p.m.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become the latest NFL team to take money out of the pockets of employees as a result of the league’s current lockout.
According to a statement on the Bucs’ website, the team’s offices will be closed for all of next week, with employees being forced to stay home without pay.
The team’s offices will also be closed for the entire week of Labor Day (Sept. 5-9) if the work stoppage continues into the fall. Should the lockout drag out even longer, at least one conditional office closure has been planned for sometime during the winter months.
However, if the situation is resolved before the season opens and no games are missed, team employees will be reimbursed for their losses during the unpaid time off. Full story
Bleak outlook if NFL can’t get CBA deal — 7:08 p.m.
NFL bigwigs tried to quickly leave town Wednesday afternoon before thunderstorms canceled their flights home.
There’s no guarantee the group will return as scheduled for Super Bowl XLVI.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell delivered his most sobering public message to date about the league’s labor impasse after a two-day owners meeting in Indianapolis. Goodell alluded to the decline in the league’s popularity — particularly drops in internet traffic and television ratings for April’s college draft — as well as slumping ticket sales since the player lockout began in mid-March. Full story
Coaches Association backs NFL players — 6:45 p.m.
NFL coaches are teaming up with the players in their legal fight to end the owner-imposed lockout.
The NFL Coaches Association filed a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday expressing support for the players and saying that the lockout is putting their jobs in jeopardy.
”Owners and fans increasingly demand immediate success, and coaches whose teams cannot fulfill such severe expectations face likely dismissal, which means the uprooting of families, economic dislocation, and a significantly less promising career path,” lawyers for the NFLCA wrote.
No individual coaches were identified in the brief, which said that the eight new coaches hired this year face particularly daunting odds of success if the lockout is not lifted soon. The NFL grants new coaches two extra summer minicamps to get players familiar with the new staff, and the elimination of those camps puts them at a competitive disadvantage heading into the season. Full story
Bills suspend workers’ pension payments — 6:35 p.m.
The Buffalo Bills have suspended pension plan payments to all employees — including coaches — during the NFL lockout and potentially the rest of the year, in addition to across-the-board paycuts that had been previously announced.
Chief executive officer Russ Brandon confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Bills had stopped paying into the 401(k) plan for the duration of the lockout and ”will decide at a later date whether to reinstate them for 2011 based on our financial performance.” Brandon said all employees had been notified early on that the plan was being amended so that all team contributions would be discretionary for this year.
USA Today first reported Tuesday that payments have been stopped for the Bills coaching staff.
Brandon, however, said the payments had been suspended for all employees. The Bills had already announced in March that while no layoffs were planned, all employees would take a paycut during a work stoppage as part of a series of cuts that focused on what the team called "shared sacrifice." Full story
NFL cancels rookie symposium — 1:29 p.m.
The NFL has canceled next month’s rookie symposium, the first league event called off because of the lockout.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday the decision was made because of "the uncertainty of the labor issues we are facing and the logistical challenges of conducting the symposium."
"The symposium is a large, complex event involving many professionals and others," he added. "In fairness, we could not continue to keep their commitment on hold."
The symposium, which was to begin in Canton, Ohio, on June 26, instructs rookies in money management and life skills and allows them to meet current and former players. Full story
No new deadline in NFL antitrust case — 6:24 p.m.
A federal judge has rejected the NFL’s request for more time to file a response in a pending lawsuit filed by its locked-out players.
The NFL had asked for a July 6 deadline to answer a lawsuit filed by current players who claim the league is violating antitrust laws through monopolistic labor practices. The lawsuit has since been amended to included complaints from retirees led by former Hall of Famer Carl Eller.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeanne Graham ruled Monday that the NFL must answer by June 6. Full story
Pash: Court fights impede talks — 3:15 p.m.
If you take the NFL’s lead labor negotiator at his word, Jeff Pash is as discouraged as any affected party about the ongoing impasse between the league and its players.
Speaking after a Monday afternoon meeting with all 10 owners and team representatives on the NFL’s executive committee, Pash again pled for a resumption in talks with NFL Players Association leaders, focused solely toward a new collective bargaining agreement. Pash also said the ongoing legal battles between the two sides have impeded progress toward making a deal and solving a 73-day work stoppage that shows no immediate signs of ending.
“Litigation has frozen people,” Pash said after the first day of an NFL owners meeting in Indianapolis. “It’s made it harder to have meaningful discussion, not easier. That’s why we need to get out of court and get back together and work this out.” Full story