Daily Archives: February 23, 2008

NFL Noise: What’s a Little Collusion to You? and some MLB paychecking

Something I stumbled upon while browsing SportingNews.com.

NFL, union on course for work stoppage in 2011

Posted: February 21, 2008

For the first time in 15 years, NFL Players Association officials have uttered the “C” word — collusion. It asserts league owners are trying to frustrate free-agency rights granted by the landmark collective bargaining agreement of 1993 and threatens to disrupt a decade and a half of labor peace in the NFL.

Here’s the broader question: Is this a fundamental change in the league’s labor-management relationship?

For years, media members and fans suspected things were a bit too cozy between the NFL’s top officials and leaders of the players’ union. In 2006, broadcaster Bryant Gumbel gave the following advice to Roger Goodell, who was about to become commissioner:

“By making the docile head of the players’ union his personal pet, (former commissioner Paul Tagliabue) has kept the peace without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted. Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch.”

The comment, made during HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, spelled trouble for Gumbel, who was about to become lead announcer on NFL Network games.

In hindsight, it can be concluded that union president Gene Upshaw fleeced Tagliabue during the 2006 negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement. Upshaw secured for the players nearly 60 percent of the league’s “total football revenue.” He also won a long list of player-friendly changes to the non-economic portion of the rules as part of a take-it-or-leave-it proposal.

“Total football revenue” includes the NFL’s primary cash sources — television money and ticket sales, plus local radio and television income, stadium revenue and lesser revenue streams. The union got that cash pool in place of one called designated gross revenue, which was based on TV and ticket money.

The accord won big; owners ratified the CBA 30-2.


Read the rest of Mike Florio’s article here.

To read about Major League Baseball players’ salaries, click here.