WASHINGTON (KDKA/AP) – An NFL lockout is looming, both sides have not had a meeting since November and there are no meetings planned for the future.
The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in seven weeks. In an interview with The Associated Press, Bob Batterman, an outside lawyer for the league said, “The negotiations are not proceeding very vigorously.”
Batterman was a lawyer for the NHL when the league experienced a lockout in 2004-05.
He doesn’t think the players union is serious about trying to workout a new CBA saying the response from the NFLPA is “not conducive to making a deal.”
Batterman thinks the union wants a lockout so they can file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
But Richard Berthelsen, general counsel for the union, said, “Any suggestion that we want a lockout is coming from outer space.
“I can tell you one thing, being involved as long as I have been: The word ‘lockout’ was never even in the NFL’s vocabulary until Mr. Batterman came aboard, and after he came aboard, the continuing theme has been ‘lockout’ from the owners’ side of the table,” Berthelsen added. “The continuing theme from our side of the table is that the players want to play.”
Player representative Jeff Saturday said, the players are “waiting on the owners.”
The owners opted out of the current CBA in 2008, two years after it went into effect because they believe the owners are not receiving their fair share.
The players would like to extend the current CBA and have said the league is healthy thanks to billions of dollars in television deals, solid attendance and profitable marketing partnerships.
Under the current CBA, the players received about 60 percent of the teams revenue.
The owners are looking to make some major changes to the CBA.
They would like to get the revenue sharing down to around 50 percent, increase the regular season schedule to 18 games while removing two preseason games. The owners also want to set a rookie salary ceiling after negotiating $1.2 billion in contracts to 256 rookies in 2009 with $585 million guaranteed.
Both lawyers said even though there are no formal meetings, both DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell continue to have communications every week.
So even with the CBA expiring in March, it’s possible an agreement could be reached.