Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Can’t we all get along?

Somehow, the NFL and the NFL Players Association were not able to decide after 16 days of work with a federal mediator how to divide up the league’s $9 billion revenue pie.

Now we’re left to wonder what’s next and when (if?) we will see the Browns and the rest of the league on the field again.

The players association has filed papers to decertify, effectively disbanding the union and giving it the chance to sue under antitrust laws if there is a lockout.

“They have chosen to choose another strategy, and that is their choice,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in published reports.

According to a statement from the NFL, the players’ union left a good deal on the table, including:

  • An offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference;
  • A guarantee to reallocate savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7;
  • Ensure no compensation reduction for veterans;
  • Implement new year-round health and safety rules;
  • Retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union;
  • Establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
  • A reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10;
  • Significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices.

Sounds pretty good to us.

The union responded:

The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League.

The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players.

So, for now, there is no free agency and no trades, and while there will still be a draft in April, drafted players can have no further contact with their new teams after draft day beyond the traditional congratulatory phone call.

Just great.

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Oh, Stan? You won’t see him no more.

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Some cool old program covers from the Indians.

We especially like the one of Chief Wahoo using his baseball bat as an arrow to aim at opposing American League teams. (h/t to UniWatch)

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Finally, Phillip Morris at The Plain Dealer weighs in on the hypocrisy of the gumbo of lies Jim Tressel has been cooking at Ohio State:

In recent years, Ohio State has gone out of its way to project itself as a bastion of good sportsmanship. It has educated and encouraged players to demonstrate a respect for opponents, the law, the university and NCAA rules. It has made quite a show of doing this.

When the school hosted the U.S. Naval Academy to open the 2009 season, for instance, the teams lined up in the south end zone together. Tressel shook the hand of each midshipman, looked him in the eye and thanked him for his service to country. Then both teams ran onto the field together.

But it’s all been a farce. Two prominent players were then or subsequently breaking NCAA rules. They were consciously profiting from the sales of memorabilia that compliance officers had warned them against. They were consorting with at least one character who exposed the entire program to a high degree of risk.

What that means is the players were only pretending to be good sports. The same with the coach.

Tressel was only pretending to be a good sportsman. He knew what was happening. But he sat for months last year on information that he knew could cause serious harm to his 2010-2011 season. He sat on information that could harm his win-loss record and ultimately his financial future.

And Christopher Cicero, the Columbus lawyer who sent the e-mails to Tressel in April, revealed he’s received death threats since the story broke earlier this week.

Way to stay classy Buckeye fans.

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