Sundays without Football…

Katie Vondrak | Sports Co-Editor

The NFL and the NFL Players’ Association have been in negotiations for the past month in attempt to complete a new bargaining agreement for the 2011 season. As a result of the negotiations the NFLPA has been decertified as a union and there has been an established lockout.

The lockout has brought the NFL center stage in the sporting world. The players are led by Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and others as they have become the plaintiffs in an antitrust lawsuit against the league.

The NFL is proposing a salary decrease for players due to a decrease in ticket sales and merchandise which is making salaries an unreasonable expense. In the previous contract players were receiving about 60% of the NFL’s $9 billion made in revenue.

Another aspect of negotiations is the possibility of extending the regular season to eighteen games rather than sixteen. Players are showing concern that a longer season will put their health and safety at a greater risk. In an ESPN interview, Baltimore Raven’s defensive back, Domonique Foxworth and Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Mike Vrable spoke on the players concerns for an eighteen game season.

“Eighteen games does nothing for our health and safety.  We’re not looking to make any financial gains, we’re looking to protect former players and make protections and safety improvements for current players,” Foxworth said.

“No. We’ll negotiate on the economics of football.  We’re not negotiating on health and safety. And as far as we’re concerned 18 games lies right in the way of our players’ health and safety,” Vrabel said.

The players are willing to negotiate a fair agreement with the NFL and had no intention of being locked out or negotiations lasting as long as they have. Players along with coaches and owners are confident that there will be an NFL season this fall but are anxious to return to post-season workouts.

“It’s going to be a few months here, but we’ll be playing this year. I guarantee we’ll be playing.” Titan’s owner, Bud Adams said.

Financially the lockout is hurting players, fans, sponsors and all outside contributors of the NFL. Players are receiving no payments and because they are not allowed any association with their teams all post-season training has to be done on their own. The only communication allowed is certain team-physician visits. Another concern they have is insurance and paying for COBRA. Hundreds of millions in sponsorships and season-ticket sales could be lost if the fall season is not played. Fans are not able to buy tickets nor are sponsors able to secure deals with teams, facilities, and stadiums.

Wednesday April 6th Judge Susan Nelson will heard a request from 10 current NFL players who are seeking a temporary injunction to the lockout imposed by owners. The owners want the players identified as union not a trade association.  Court precedings consisted of five hours of arguing with Judge Nelson concluding the precedings by saying the two sides should negotiate a settlement while she takes a few weeks to decide if she should end the lockout herself.

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