NFLPA holds meeting with New York Giants players

The executive director of the NFL Players Association has met

with New York Giants players to discuss upcoming labor talks with

owners.

DeMaurice Smith spoke with the club on Monday for about at hour

at the team’s headquarters, offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie

said.

McKenzie, the Giants assistant player representative, said the

players didn’t vote on decertification, but discussed it.

”It’s one of the many options or one of the tools that we could

use to go ahead and to force the issue, but of course that’s

something that we would not like to go ahead and enter into,”

McKenzie said. ”We would like to go ahead and for all intents and

purposes have a CBA on the table by hopefully November.”

Players from Indianapolis, Dallas, New Orleans and Philadelphia

all have voted unanimously to decertify the union, union spokesman

Carl Francis said last week.

The step is necessary if owners lock out the players next

season. Antitrust laws exempt NFL owners from being sued by unions

that are negotiating CBAs, so decertification would in essence

eliminate the union and allow players to sue the NFL in the event

of a lockout – giving them potential leverage in their dispute with

the owners.

Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes said he signed a card to decertify

the union.

”I am assuming the rest of the guys did,” said Tynes, who

added that the vote really would not mean anything until some time

next spring.

Quarterback Eli Manning also indicated a vote was taken and he

felt everyone voted for it.

McKenzie insisted the meeting was just to get the players on the

same page.

”That’s one of the great things that DeMaurice has done is to

go ahead and make sure that everyone has all the information they

need to make an informed decision,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie refused to say when the Giants would vote on

decertification.

”We’ll have to go ahead and wait and see what develops,” he

said.

Giants player representative Shaun O’Hara and Smith weren’t in

the locker room during the media access.

The NFLPA was decertified in 1989, two years after a failed

players’ strike. It returned as a union in 1993, when a contract

was reached with the NFL that provided for free agency. That

landmark CBA was renewed or restructured several times since 1993,

including in 2006. The owners opted out of that deal two years

ago.

The players currently get 59.6 percent of designated NFL

revenues, a number agreed to in the 2006 CBA. The owners say that

is too much, arguing that they have huge debts for building

stadiums and starting up the NFL Network and other ventures, making

it impossible to be profitable.

The NFL generates nearly $8 billion in revenues annually, with

about $1 billion going to operating expenses. The owners get about

40 percent of the rest, but they want about $1.3 billion more

before the players get their cut, and they’d like two more

regular-season games to get more money out of the networks for

everyone.

Players have said they won’t take anything that amounts to a pay

cut. Smith has been warning players since he took office in early

2009 to put aside money in case of a work stoppage.