Tuesday's NFL labor developments
The lockout's impact on the draft started to take shape Tuesday as FOXSports.com keeps you up to date on the NFL's labor situation. (All times are Eastern.) | Monday's updates | Sunday's updates | Saturday's updates | Friday's updates | March 10 updates | March 9 updates | March 8 updates | March 7 updates | March 4 updates | March 3 updates
Rams share thoughts on labor situation — 8:07 p.m.
The St. Louis Rams were the latest team to chime in with their thoughts on the collective bargaining agreement situation.
Executive vice president of football operations/CEO Kevin Demoff released a statement to the fans on Tuesday. He took the stance of every other team; the path to getting a new deal done is through mediation and not litigation:
Dear Rams fans,
Fresh off of a 2010 season that re-energized our fan base and reminded St. Louis of the collective joy that NFL football can bring to this region, it is disappointing to be writing you today regarding the NFL Players Association decision to decertify and the expiration of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. While we are frustrated that an agreement is not in place, we remain committed to the collective bargaining process and to federal mediation, which is the fastest and most fair path to reach a negotiated agreement with our players that will benefit our fans, players and clubs for the 2011 season and beyond.
As this process unfolds, our coaches, scouts and employees are hard at work to improve our team and deliver the experience you deserve as a valued fan. General manager Billy Devaney and his scouts are on the road scouting this year’s draft class to find the best possible fits for our team.
Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and the coaching staff are game-planning for our 2011 opponents with an eye on capturing the NFC West title.
Off the field, our staff continues to focus on improving the fan experience and serving the St. Louis community. Once again we are partnering with Buffalo Wild Wings to host Draft Day parties throughout the metro area. We are also developing other unique opportunities, including our “Draft Talk” event with Billy Devaney that will provide fans insight into our draft process.
After a 2010 that saw our staff and coaches contribute more than 2,200 hours of community service, our dedication to the region has never been stronger. In addition to our monthly “Rams Days of Service,” we are currently accepting applications for our annual playground build that will happen in June, followed by the return of Team Georgia for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on June 11 and the March of Dimes golf tournament on June 13.
Above all, we understand and appreciate that our business is predicated on your passion for the Rams, and we will not forget that as we go through this process. We know this affects you and you deserve to hear from us on a consistent basis. We are committed to keeping you informed through a variety of communication methods including letters, fan forum teleconferences, in-person town hall meetings and internet chats. In addition to these updates, please remember to visit stlouisrams.com for general information and stlouisrams.com/cba for ticket-related questions pertaining to the CBA. You can also stay up-to-date by following us on Twitter at twitter.com/oneramsway and on Facebook at facebook.com/rams.
On behalf of the entire St. Louis Rams’ organization, I want to thank you for your continued support. We promise not to waver from our vision of becoming the most fan-friendly, community-oriented and accessible organization in the NFL.
We will be in touch.
— Adam Caplan
Report: Jerry Jones gave players hint — 7:46 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hinted that a lockout was coming before the original deadline for the expiration of the CBA on March 2, according to Sports Illustrated.
Jones’ comments during the morning of March 2 during a mediation meeting were recounted by several players.
"I don't think we've got your attention," Jones said, based on the recollection of several players. "You clearly don't understand what we're saying, and we're not hearing what you're saying. So I guess we're going to have to show you to get your attention."
Based on what the players told <em>SI</em>, Jones tapped his fists together for emphasis, which the players interpreted as a sign that a lockout was coming.
According to the players’ version of the events, Jones then stood and walked toward the door. As he reached the end of the table, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson began to rise, but New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft of the Patriots, who was sitting next to him, put a hand on Richardson's forearm and kept him from going.
While the NFL has said the players are their partners during the CBA negotiations, you can certainly see why they aren’t buying that. — Adam Caplan
Peterson compares NFL labor to slavery — 5:02 p.m.
The running back's explosive comments were quoted in a Yahoo! Sports story last Friday, the same day the NFL Players Association decertified and the NFL owners subsequently locked out the players. Full story
Redskins exec: Lockout was 'necessary' — 4:57 p.m.
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, a regular participant in the NFL labor talks that broke down last week, says the owners' decision to lock out the players was ''difficult but necessary.''
Allen made his first comments on the lockout in a letter to Redskins fans posted Tuesday on the team's website. Full story
NFL rookie symposium could be canceled — 3:15 p.m.
A program designed to help incoming draft picks adjust to life in the NFL will be canceled if the league's work stoppage continues.
NFL Alumni unhappy with NFLPA — 2:11 p.m.
An NFL spokesman told FOXSports.com that the annual rookie symposium won't be held unless a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the league and NFL Players Association. Full story
Through all of the labor strife of recent weeks between the NFL and its players, the lost group in all of this has been the NFL alumni.
Former New York Giants defensive end George Martin, who is the director of the NFL Alumni Association, has not heard from NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
"It's disconcerting because, yet again NFL alumni, although we appear to be in the discussion, we're still treated as if we're second-class citizens or an afterthought," Martin told the New York Daily News. "We definitely feel there's a moral imperative for those of us who have paid such an extraordinarily high price to help build this industry to be in the discussion."
Martin, according to the paper, said he’s been trying to arrange a meeting with Smith, in behalf of the NFLAA, for nearly a year and a half. Martin has been invited to the NFLPA’s meeting in Marco Island, Fla., but wasn’t promised a meeting with Smith. Martin was asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing his relationship and dealings with the NFL.
"To me it was a bit insulting," he said. "Here's a guy who played 14 years in the NFL, a 10-year veteran as a player representative, and was the president of the NFLPA for two years. Now my loyalty and allegiance is being called into question before I can come and address the very organization I spent 14 years officially supporting?" — Adam Caplan
NFLPA boss to address college grads — 1:55 p.m.
Amid the labor struggle that threatens the 2011 NFL season, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith was announced Tuesday as the commencement speaker for the University of Maryland's graduation ceremony. Full story
Jaguars owners address labor situation — 1:47 p.m.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner and CEO Wayne Weaver, like several NFL owners, has made his feelings known in statement in regard to the NFL’s labor situation.
An open letter from Wayne Weaver to Jaguars fans:
We all share the disappointment that the players union turned down an excellent deal on Friday and has instead decided to litigate. I am in full agreement with the NFL and the other clubs that the NFL had no practical choice after these actions except to lock out the players.
... It is my belief that an agreement on a new CBA will be reached and that we will play football this fall. However, it seems clear that a new agreement will not be found in court, but rather at the negotiating table. I know that our fans, the players and the Clubs all want to get on with football.
We can expect some confusion and frustration over the next few weeks. However, as the courts deal with these issues, I am encouraged that Mr. (George) Cohen and his colleagues at the Mediation Service are willing to facilitate further negotiations, and hope that those negotiations will start again sooner rather than later.
As to our football business, we continue to prepare for this important college draft and the 2011 season. (General manager, senior vice President, player Personnel) Gene Smith and his staff are working night and day to improve our football team. (Head coach) Jack Del Rio and our coaches are assisting in these evaluations at the same time that they are doing intense study of our strategies and developing plans and improvements that they will incorporate when preparations for the season begin in earnest.
As I said, I firmly expect that we will play football this fall. Therefore, our ticket and sponsorship efforts will continue with business as usual. We will also continue hosting offseason events for our fans, as we have done before.
We made great progress last year by eliminating “blackouts” and our Team Teal goal this year is to “sell out” all games at EverBank Field in 2011. Our promise continues to be that fans will not pay for games that are not played, so there is no risk in buying your season tickets.
We need your support more than ever in continuing to build a great NFL tradition in Jacksonville. Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you at EverBank Field this season. — Adam Caplan
Highly touted CB won't skip draft — 1:40 p.m.
A top-ranked prospect said he plans to attend the 2011 NFL draft in New York despite reports saying the NFL Players Association has asked top prospects to boycott the annual event, National Football Post reported Tuesday.
LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is currently projected by Scout.com as the third overall pick in its mock draft, told the website no one has contacted him in reference to the potential walkout. Full story