NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiations to prevent an NFL lockout took a grim turn Thursday with the cancellation of the second day of a planned two-day bargaining session.
With just three weeks to go before the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3, talks between the owners and union came to a halt after just one session.
“We wish we were negotiating today,” NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah said. “That’s all I can say.”
The NFL said it would not comment on CBA meetings at this point, but that Commissioner Roger Goodell canceled an owners meeting schedule for next Tuesday in Philadelphia.
The collapse of talks came as a surprise. The two sides got together Wednesday for the second time in five days, the previous negotiations taking place in Dallas on Saturday before the Super Bowl.
Neither Atallah nor NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith would comment on why Thursday’s session was called off.
Team owners opted out of the current CBA in 2008 and are seeking a bigger cut of the league’s revenues, which are roughly $9 billion, as well as a rookie wage scale. They also want to increase the regular season by two games to 18, while dropping two preseason games.
The players are happy with the status quo.
The NFL has had labor peace since a 1987 players strike that led to three games with replacement players, but some sort of labor stoppage appears a genuine possibility because of the slow pace of negotiations. The talks at the Super Bowl were the first formal discussions since November.
Can the NFL avoid a lockout? Let us know what you think in the comments below…
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.