NFL players say Goodell tried to ‘divide’


Associated Press

MARCO ISLAND, Fla.

NFL players and their leadership tried to make a few things perfectly clear Friday:

They consider the letter commissioner Roger Goodell sent them a day earlier an attempt to create “dissension.”

They refute the league’s contention that the union walked away from negotiations.

They dispute the owners’ depiction of their last-minute offer made last Friday. They say it wasn’t close to acceptable because it would have made salaries a fixed cost and eliminated the players’ chance to share in higher-than-projected revenue growth. They say the proposal would cut players’ take of more than $9 billion in annual revenues from 50 percent to 45 percent in the first year of a new contract.

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark, his team’s main representative, called it “probably the worst deal in sports history,” echoing words used by NFLPA chief executive DeMaurice Smith in a radio appearance.

“If the union had a problem, the best course of action would have been to make a counterproposal, continue to discuss the issue, or explain the problem,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “They were in such a hurry to get out of the room last Friday and file their lawsuit that they never mentioned this ... issue.”

A hearing on the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the lockout is scheduled for April 6 in Minneapolis, and there appears to be little chance of a return to bargaining before then.

Smith said he does not consider Goodell’s letter — e-mailed to all active players Thursday — an attempt to engage in good-faith negotiations. The league, he said, could attempt to restart talks by writing, instead, to lawyers representing the players now that the union has dissolved.

More like this from vindy.com

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.

AP News