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DeMaurice Smith Talks About Labor Situation

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, gave an interview to Michael Kay today talking about the current labor situation.

"Well the owners have asked the players to give them back a billion dollars a year for the next seven years. So for you, for the fans out there, they’ve [Owners] have asked the players to write them what amounts to basically a $7 billion check. The one thing that I think everybody out there would agree is before you wrote a $7 billion dollar check you’d ask yourself a couple of questions. One, why the $7 billion dollars? Two, what’s the economic justification for players giving owners a $7 billion dollar payback over the next 7 years in the absence of anything that would suggest that football or the National Football League is on an economic decline, that viewers are on a decline. That there is anything that would seriously jeopardize the NFL’s business model, but for those of you who enjoyed a great Super Bowl like I did, all the predictions about it shattering records for viewership came true. Revenue is up in the National Football League during the most extensive and debilitating recession of our time and every other independent news network or analytical branch that has looked at this including Forbes Magazine or Bloomberg, each and every one of those organizations points to record profits by the NFL teams…Record revenues by the National Football League. The sticking point right now is we haven’t seen any economic justification for a billion dollar per year swing in the relationship between the people who own the teams and the players who only play for about 3-4 years."

This is very important to keep in mind. I think a lot of people have it in their heads that there is no way there could be a long stoppage because too much money would be lost. Even more, however, would be lost over the long term for either side if a deal is unfavorable to one side.

There certainly is a lot of posturing right now so one should take everything with a grain of salt. These negotiations do lack the sense of inevitability past ones between Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw had, though.