Archive for 'Labor News'

Commissioner Goodell and DeMaurice Smith speak to rookies

Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith spoke with and answered questions from rookies this morning at the NFLPA’s rookie orientation in Sarasota. Smith invited the Commissioner to speak at the event.

Both will return to Minneapolis today to continue meetings which began earlier this week.

Following are comments Commissioner Goodell and DeMaurice Smith made to media following their talk with rookies:

Commissioner Goodell and DeMaurice Smith

After Speaking at NFLPA Rookie Orientation

June 29, 2011

DeMaurice Smith: “We obviously spoke to the rookie class here at the Business of Football Symposium. We are not going to take questions but both of us wanted to come out and tell you that.  We’re continuing to work hard. Both of us felt that it was important to come down for this event. Obviously, what we are doing on the business of football on a macro scale is about getting a fair deal done and trying to get back to the game and business of football as quickly as possible. This event was important to ensure that our young men appreciated how important we think these few days are. I’m thrilled that Roger could come down with us and talk to the rookies in a very good, direct way.”

Commissioner Goodell: “It was a great opportunity for us to be able to sit with the rookies. They obviously have lots of questions. We answered the questions as best we could. But you all know that we’re under certain restrictions. We’re taking a break because we felt it was important to be down here with the players. We both have great respect, obviously, for the players. This is an important few days. We’re going to get back to work.”

DeMaurice Smith: “So we’re going to go back in, to get back to work on other issues. Thank you all.”

Post-meeting comments from Commissioner Goodell and DeMaurice Smith

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith appeared together today and made the following comments to members of the news media that found the location of this week’s talks between players and owners in suburban Boston. 

Commissioner Goodell: “You obviously know we met over the last couple of days. We are under court order as far as what we can discuss so our comments will be brief. But obviously we’re all working hard. The players and owners were here over the last two days. De and I were here for the entire meetings also. And it’s complicated and it’s complex, but we’re working hard and we understand the fans’ frustration. But I think both of us feel strongly that we’re going to continue to work hard at it.”

DeMaurice Smith: “Someone asked me whether I was optimistic. I think we’re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we’re talking about the right issues and that we’re working hard to get it done. It is extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but we’re committed to getting something done and we’re going to keep working at it.  Just to wrap up: we’re working hard, we understand the fans’ frustration, I know our players’ frustration. We’re going to keep working hard and try to make sure we get a deal done.”

Following these comments, Goodell and Smith shook hands and departed along with the other attendees at the meeting.  They included players Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson, and Jeff Saturday plus owners Jerry Richardson, Clark Hunt, Robert Kraft, John Mara, and Dean Spanos. The talks will continue.

Commissioner Goodell Briefs Media Following League Meeting

Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media today following a meeting of NFL owners and club executives at the Westin O’Hare hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

Following is a transcript of the Commissioner’s press conference:


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Joint NFL-NFLPA statement:

“Discussions between NFL owners and players under the auspices of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan took place again this week and will continue. At the request of Judge Boylan, both sides have agreed to maintain the confidentiality of the substance of the talks.” 

NFL attendees at this week’s meetings included: Commissioner Roger Goodell and labor committee members Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (New England), John Mara (New York Giants) and Dean Spanos (San Diego). 

Leading the representation of the players were: DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Domonique Foxworth, Tony Richardson, Jeff Saturday, and Brian Waters.

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Joint NFL-NFLPA statement on this week’s meetings:

“NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week. Those discussions will continue.”

NFL attendees at this week’s meetings: Commissioner Roger Goodell and labor committee members Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (New England), John Mara (New York Giants) and Dean Spanos (San Diego). Representing the players: DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth.

Coaches caught by surprise by NFL Coaches Association’s amicus brief

Legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi memorably said in a piece of video captured by NFL Films, “What the h— is going on out here?”  The coach might say the same about the recent amicus brief filed by the NFL Coaches Association at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

In response to the brief, news reports have coaches from at least 14 NFL clubs indicating that they were unaware of this filing on their behalf.

Following is a sampling of those reports:

ARIZONA

According to the Arizona Republic: “Add the Cardinals to the growing list of coaching staffs who knew nothing of a brief filed last week by the NFL Coaches Association in support of the players’ efforts to end the lockout.”

BUFFALO

Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (right): “Our entire staff had no prior knowledge, nor were we consulted that the amicus brief was being filed on behalf of the coaches.”

CHICAGO

Statement from Bears coaches: “The Chicago Bears coaching staff was not made aware of the brief filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Football League Coaches Association. We were not contacted and had no knowledge that any such brief would be filed. The Chicago Bears have not authorized the NFLCA to speak on their behalf on issues related to the litigation involving the players and the NFL.”

DALLAS

Letter from Cowboys coaches: “The Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff did not approve of the brief filed with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by the National Football League Coaches Association. We did not provide Larry Kennan with the authority to file such brief on our behalf and do not agree with the brief’s position. Like everyone involved in the NFL, we are looking forward to a new CBA and the start of the 2011 NFL season.”

HOUSTON

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (left): “Our coaching staff didn’t approve the contents of the brief filed by the Coaches Association. The brief didn’t reflect the views of our coaching staff. We support our organization.”

JACKSONVILLE

Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio: “I checked with our guys and not one member of our coaching staff had knowledge of last week’s brief filed by the Coaches Association prior to the news breaking. None were consulted or involved in any way. This action was taken without approval. Heck, it wasn’t even mentioned to any of us.”

KANSAS CITY

Chiefs head coach Todd Haley: “In talking to all of our guys, there was a great deal of surprise this was filed on their behalf. Nobody was aware that it was going to happen. This was not on behalf of the coaches.”

MINNESOTA

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (right): “Surprised. Just wondering how that came about and wondering why our team wasn’t contacted. I wondered that and just how many teams were contacted. But just really, in a lot of ways, it doesn’t pertain to us because we had no say in it as a staff.”

NEW ORLEANS

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt said the coaches were ‘appalled’ by the NFLCA’s decision to file a brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to express their support for the players and claim that the lockout is putting the NFL coaches’ jobs in jeopardy: ‘It was awful presumptuous on their part that they would represent all the coaches on our staff.’”

NEW YORK JETS

Jets head coach Rex Ryan (left): “None of our guys knew anything about it…It kind of came out of left field on us. Nobody knew it was filed and nobody approved it being filed, so that’s where it is.”

PHILADELPHIA

Eagles head coach Andy Reid: “We were surprised by the filing and do not support it in any way.”

ST. LOUIS

Rams general manager Billy Devaney: “They were surprised by this being filed. They assured me that they weren’t informed or consulted about it.”

SEATTLE

Tweet from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (right): “Don’t know anything about this coaches brief everyone’s asking about…”

WASHINGTON

Letter from Redskins coaches: “The Washington Redskins’ coaching staff has not given its backing to the brief filed with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the National Football League Coaches Association…no member of our coaching staff was consulted prior to this action being taken.”

NFL counsel Paul Clement: “The way to get labor peace is to allow both sides to use tools of labor law”

NFL outside legal counsel Paul Clement today stressed the importance of allowing both sides in a labor dispute to use the tools of labor law to reach labor peace.

“The way you get labor peace is you allow both sides to use the tools that the labor law gives them,” Clement said after this morning’s hearing at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis. “That means the employees get a right to strike in certain situations; employers get to lock people out.  There are other tools available to both sides. 

“The idea is using those labor law tools will accomplish labor peace,” Clement continued. “That is not our view; that is the view that Congress took in a couple of statutes; that is the view that the Supreme Court has taken in dozens of its opinions.”

Following are post-hearing comments from Clement:
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NFL-NFLPA statement

“The parties met pursuant to court mediation. Owners and players were engaged in confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan. The court has ordered continued confidentiality of the mediation sessions.”

Commissioner Goodell: “Let’s find solutions”

Commissioner Roger Goodell today discussed with Titans season ticket-holders his focus in the current labor dispute. “Let’s find solutions,” the Commissioner said in his 19th conference call with NFL team season-ticket holders.

“The best and fastest solution to the differences is to negotiate,” Commissioner Goodell added. “Let’s get together and let’s solve those problems in negotiations and with a collective bargaining agreement.  We are taking the initiative to make sure that we do everything possible to create that environment and to have those meetings but frankly, litigation creates delays and creates, unfortunately, an environment where a discussion can only happen in certain forums.  I think that is a shame.  We need to sit down and figure it out.”

 Following is a transcript of the Commissioner’s conference call with Titans fans:
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Commissioner Goodell: Communication and compromise necessary to reach fair labor agreement

Commissioner Roger Goodell today stressed the need for communication and compromise with the players to reach a fair labor agreement.

“It is imperative on all of us to get back to negotiating, to figure out ways in which we can compromise our positions so that we can reach an agreement that’s fair to everybody,” Commissioner Goodell said following the NFL Spring Meeting in Indianapolis.

Commissioner Goodell was asked whether he would consider less formal meetings with DeMaurice Smith, similar to their lunch during mediation in Minneapolis last week.

“I would welcome any communication,” the Commissioner said. “The more we can be doing that face-to-face, the more productive we can be.  Anytime you are sitting down talking about issues that is a positive”.

The Commissioner also noted that the current uncertainty presents an opportunity to work towards an agreement.

“When there is uncertainty that may be a good opportunity to get a resolution because there is risk to everybody,” he said. “That is what we should be doing, taking this window of opportunity to resolve our differences.  The longer it goes, the more damage that’s done to the game, the more revenue is down, the less money to be divided amongst the parties.”

Following is a transcript of the Commissioner’s press conference:
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