The tug-of-war continues between the NFL and its players, who extended a deadline for seven days to for a collective bargaining agreement. Time had been running out as late as Friday on whether there would be a lockout, which still may cause the first NFL work stoppage since 1987.
The main sticking point in the negotiations is the extra $1 billion franchise owners want up front in addition to the $1 billion they already get under the current agreement to pay costs like building stadiums and promoting games. Too much of that money, they say, goes to players. Mind you, the league makes a total of $9 billion from marketing, television rights and ticket sales.
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But the players’ union had prepared on Friday to decertify, meaning the union would cease to exist, and an opening would be created for anti-trust lawsuits on behalf of individual players. With a decertification, they give up collective bargaining rights, the owners can lock them out and football activity, even during the off-season, comes to a halt.
But instead both sides agrees to continue talks until March 11 If an agreement is not reached by then, the union will put forth decertification documents before U.S. District Court Judge David Doty in Minneapolis.
However, since people are talking, there is some optimism. “If both sides give a little, everyone can gain a lot. And that’s what we have to try to do next week,” said NFL lawyer Jeff Pash, who is leading negotiations.
In a Friday afternoon live chat on the NFLPA website, Carolina Panthers wide receiver said: “This CBA agreement, whenever it is decided, will have a generational impact on our league for a long time.”
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