NFL and Union Enter 14th Day of Mediations

March 9, 2011

Representatives of the National Football League (NFL) and its players union are set for a 14th day of debate with a federal mediator regarding how to divide almost US$9 billion in revenue.

The NFL Players Association rejected an offer from the league to reveal audited profitability data for all 32 teams for the past several years, the New York Times reported last night. Union leaders want each club’s audited full financial statements, the newspaper said.

Such disagreements don’t make it impossible to reach an accord and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told ComCast SportsNet New England on Tuesday, March 8: “We’re doing everything we can to get a deal consummated. I personally believe it’s possible.”

The sides are in a week-long extension of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with players, which was set to expire after March 3. Had the agreement lapsed, owners could have locked out players, shutting down the most popular U.S. sport for the first time since 1987.

George H. Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, brokered a deal between Major League Soccer (MLS) and its players last year, and said the extension ends the evening of March 11.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and executive director of the players’ union DeMaurice Smith have both declined to discuss the specifics of talks, at the request of Cohen.