Did the NFL and its teams secretly impose a salary cap of $123 million in the uncapped 2010 NFL season? Were teams threatened by the league with "serious consequences" if they exceeded the secret cap? The NFLPA asserts yes to both questions, and earlier today filed Reggie White, et al. v. NFL, a collusion lawsuit against the league in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The players contend they lost $1 billion because of the secret salary cap; as stipulated by collectively-bargained language, such damages, if proved, would be automatically trebled to $3 billion.
The NFLPA has accepted the league's invitation to meet next week in New York to review additional confidential findings in the bounty scandal involving Saints coaches, management and players. However a source familiar with the situation said the union still might not recommend specific discipline for players allegedly involved in the illegal pay-to-injure program, even if there's concrete evidence they were involved.
The NFL Player's Association has confounded the NFL and science experts in recent weeks by debating the validity of an HGH test that has been widely stamped for a approval by independent scientists, leaving some of those involved in the meetings to suggest that union politics are obstructing the process of drug testing. On Friday, owners of all 32 NFL teams received notice from the league that the HGH test would not be in place for the start of the regular season, though that was the previously agreed upon goal of the NFL and the NFLPA.
WASHINGTON -- The executive committee for the NFL Players Association broke Tuesday night without making a decision on whether to accept the proposed antitrust settlement negotiated by attorneys for the plaintiffs and owners.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Finally it was time for fun and games. After two days of serious closed-door discussions about what it takes to succeed on and off the field, the 155 first-year players participating in the NFLPA-organized "The Business of Football: Rookie Edition" got a chance to let loose.
WASHINGTON -- Now that the players have decertified as a sports union, setting into place the real possibility that games will be lost in the 2011 season, the biggest question fans across America must have is this: How in the world did it come to this? It's complicated, of course, but then again, it's not. The die was cast in the dispute that led to the NFL's version of nuclear winter here Friday on March 1, when the judge overseeing the league's labor scene slapped the league down harshly. And the players' union never felt a need to come off its core negotiating tenet for the past two years: full and unfettered access to the league's audited financial statements.
I've got a bit of a different column for you this week. Because of the ever-shifting sands of this labor story, Sports Illustrated thought it foolish for our man on the scene in Washington, D.C., at week's end, senior writer Jim Trotter, to write a story for the magazine this week. Such a story could well have been overtaken by events of the week before the magazine hit mailboxes Wednesday and Thursday. I suggested that Jim write his story at the top of Monday Morning Quarterback, and the mag bosses and Jim agreed. So in a few paragraphs, you'll see how close these negotiations were to blowing up last Thursday.
Editor's note: Friday afternoon, the NFLPA and owners agreed to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement for another week; it now expires at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 11th. This has encouraged some optimism, though the song remains the same: if no new terms are reached, the NFLPA could decertify and a lockout remains possible. Read on to learn the ripple effect a lockout would have.
The NFL and the Players Association agreed Thursday to extend the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement by 24 hours, until 11:59 p.m. Friday, as they try to hammer out a new agreement. Here are some issues to keep in mind as the situation unfolds.
Imagine you are an investigator in the NCAA's Agent, Gambling and Amateurism division and you stumble upon O-D Life, a company based in Myrtle Beach, S.C., that claims on its Web site to offer "exclusive client management" to athletes.
Florida coach Urban Meyer called agent malfeasance an "epidemic" on Wednesday. Alabama coach Nick Saban compared agents -- presumably not his own -- to the men who supervise prostitutes. SEC commissioner Mike Slive spoke of a need to change the NCAA's rules regarding agents from an enforcement model to an assistance model.
The NFL Players Association and owners are beginning to cast warning shots in what could become a bitter labor feud by next March. Commissioner Roger Goodell said at the league's recent rookie symposium that he'd like to see more tangible progress in the labor negotiations. Translation: The NFLPA is dragging its feet.
So far, public reaction to the tragic collapse of the Dallas Cowboys' indoor practice facility has understandably reflected sadness, shock and genuine empathy for the 12 injured persons, particularly scout Rich Behm, who was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
Consider the following two lists of quarterbacks' names for a second: On one hand, you have Jeff Garcia, Byron Leftwich, Rex Grossman, Kyle Boller and J.P. Losman. On the other, you have J.T. O'Sullivan, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Dan Orlovsky. If I walked down the street and asked any casual fan which list of signal callers were on NFL rosters and which weren't, I bet they would get it wrong nine out of 10 times.
This weekend, the National Football League Players Association team reps will meet in Hawaii to hear each of four candidates explain why he's the right man to head the NFLPA going forward. But few NFL fans, serious or casual, have a clue about what could be the biggest union leader election in professional sports history.
As the contentious process of electing a new executive director of the NFL Players Association nears its conclusion in less than two weeks, Terri Upshaw, the widow of longtime NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, told SI.com on Thursday that she questions whether former union president Troy Vincent would be "the right candidate'' to fill the powerful job her husband held for 25 years before his death in August 2008.
With the NFL Players Association having outside legal counsel investigate whether former union president Troy Vincent improperly released confidential information about agents to a longtime friend and business partner, Mark Mangum, sources tell SI.com that one revelation expected to come to light is that former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw had collected numerous internal e-mails from Vincent allegedly proving that he disclosed the privileged information.
Even though Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said the rookie pay system would remain status quo until at least 2011, an unprecedented number of underclassmen are still expected to enter the 2009 draft. Blame it on their fear of a possible work stoppage and the fear of longer terms of service to reach free agency on the horizon.
Should an NFL player be suspended for consuming a dietary supplement which contains a diuretic (a substance which can help to mask the presence of anabolic steroids in one's body) prohibited by the NFL's collectively-bargained steroid policy, even when the product's label omits mention of the diuretic?