Reporting Mark Viviano
WASHINGTON (WJZ)—No deal between NFL owners and the players, and the players union took major legal action. Now the 2011 football season is in serious jeopardy.
Sports director Mark Viviano has more on these developments.
The players have played their strongest legal hand. They dissolved their status as a union. That move was announced last Friday evening, after another day of failed negotiations with the owners.
No more players union means no more collective bargaining, and individual football players can now file suit against the NFL’s owners to prevent a planned lockout.
The talks broke down after nearly three weeks of mediated negotiations. The players say the owners failed to present enough financial evidence to justify the players having to give up nearly a billion dollars in salary. The owners say the players walked away from a good offer.
“The players walked away from a good offer to them today to basically split the difference between the two sides. We made that approximately at 12 o’clock, and at 4 o’clock they came back and said it was insufficient,” said John Mara, Giants owner.
“It was a commitment to litigate as we’ve said all along, and that’s unfortunate because all it means is that the eventual resolution of this business dispute is going to be delayed. We will have an agreement, and we will have a system that is good for fans, good for players, and allows this game to grow,” said Jeff Pash, NFL General Counsel.
“Ultimately, this is going to be negotiated at the negotiating table. They have chosen to pursue another strategy. That is their choice. But we will be prepared to negotiate an agreement and get something done that is fair to the players and fair to the club,” said Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner.
Following those statements from the owners and the league, a lawyer representing the players responded that the league has lied, misrepresenting what offers were on the table. The lawyer also says that the owners are unreasonable and driven by greed.
The war of the words is on. But through it all, you’ll hear both sides continue to hint that a deal can still be done.