Here are five notable quotes from statements, releases and formal and informal press conferences conducted by NFL players and their representatives, along with the official GLS stance on what was said.
1. “It was our way of telling the fans that we did everything we could – and it was a message to the league that we’d had enough. It was a message that we had had enough of the deception and the disrespect – and the control.” — George Atallah, the NFLPA’s assistant executive director of external affairs, in a telephone interview with Yahoo’s Michael Silver.
Our take: Silver’s piece established that the players got emotional and defended them for the way in which they made business personal. And that’s a shame. Essentially, the fans have to pay because the DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA are suffering from Little Man’s Syndrome. Too bad they couldn’t get over their inferiority complex in time to get something done.
2. “I dare any one of you to show an economic indicator the NFL has fallen on hard times.” — De Smith Friday evening.
Our take: Smith won’t give up on the whole open books thing. In fact, that might be the only reason the two sides are where they are now. I have to admit, I’m curious as to why the league is so stubborn on this. What have they got to hide? Still, they have the legal right to keep the books closed, and if the Packers (who are publicly owned) are any indication, the NFL’s profit margins do seem to be dropping.
3. “They said ‘Trust us.’ But when it came time for the verification, they told us it was none of our business.”– Smith.
Our take: Yeah, because it isn’t. They’re a private company and you’re their employees.
4. “Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us. … Past players sacrificed a great deal to give us what we have now in the NFL, and we will not lay down for a second to give that up. … We have a responsibility and at some point you just have to stand up for what is right.” — Drew Brees on Twitter.
Our take: Brees is spewing rhetoric. It’s garbage. His 420,000 Twitter followers, many of whom probably are not following this situation closely, will look at those statements and side with the players. But the players were never expected to ask for more money and it was always implied that the owners needed more. By the time the two sides were through negotiating, the league was only asking the players for an extra $325 million. In the big picture, that’s nothing.
5. “Jeff Pash lied. Jeff Pash lied to the players, he lied to the fans.” — NFLPA outside counsel Jim Quinn in response to the comments made moments prior by a furious Pash.
Our take: Pash made actual points. Quinn came back with nothing more than that. What does that say?
What the NFL offered the NFLPA, according to the players (verbatim):
The NFL demanded a multi-billion dollar giveback and refused to provide any legitimate financial information to justify it.
The NFL’s offer on March 7 to give the NFLPA a single sheet of numbers was NOT financial disclosure. The players’ accountants and bankers advised that the “offered” information was meaningless: only two numbers for each year.
The NFL wanted to turn the clock back on player compensation by four years, moving them back to where they were in 2007.
The NFL offered no proposal at all for long-term share of revenues.
NFL demanded 100% of all revenues which went above unrealistically low projections for the first four years.
The NFL refused to meet the players on significant changes to in-season, off-season or pre-season health and safety rules.
The NFL kept on the table its hypocritical demand for an 18-game season, despite its public claims to be working toward improving the heath and safety of players.
The NFL wanted cutbacks in payer workers’ compensation benefits for injured players.
The NFL sought to limit rookie compensation long after they become veterans — into players’ fourth and fifth years
THE PLAYERS WANT TO KEEP PLAYING
The players offered repeatedly to continue working under the existing CBA, but were rejected by the NFL five times.
Despite publicly admitting no club was losing money, that TV ratings, sponsorship money, etc. were at an all time high, the NFL continued to insist on an 18-percent rollback in the players’ share of revenues and continue to deny the NFLPA’s request for justification.