NFLPA wants to see owner’s financials
WASHINGTON (AP) – The NFL Players Association retained an international investment bank to help it decide whether the league’s offer to reveal more financial information during negotiations will be enough to satisfy the union’s call for full disclosure.
Zeroing in on the crux of the labor dispute – how to split $9 billion in revenues – one NFLPA executive committee member, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, said in a telephone interview Tuesday with The Associated Press and NFL Network that what the NFL has turned over to the union so far “hasn’t been sufficient.
Another executive committee member, Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, said as he left Tuesday’s 9 1/2-hour mediation session that the bank would “help judge how helpful the material they were offering to give us” would be.
The current collective bargaining agreement was set to expire last week, but two extensions now have pushed the cutoff to the end of Friday.
While progress has been made, both sides have stuck to their stances when it comes to two central issues: The NFLPA has not agreed to any major economic concessions; the NFL has not agreed to the union’s long-held demand that the league completely open its books, repeatedly saying the players have enough data.
One key question is what cut team owners should get up front to help cover costs such as stadium construction and improvement. Under the old deal, owners received more than $1 billion off the top. They entered these negotiations seeking to add another $1 billion to that amount, before other revenues are divided with players.
Although there might have been some movement in that area, the union says it is not enough.
“We’re being asked to give back almost a billion dollars, so it’s important for us to adequately analyze and interpret the little bit of information that’s been provided,” said Fujita, who attended negotiations last month but not this week. “And ultimately, if they’re unwilling to provide full audited statements, then we need to know what other information we need to make a sound decision.”