NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expressed frustration Thursday in the lack of negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement.
During a conference call, Goodell reiterated the league’s desire to resume negotiations with the locked-out players. The venue is an important distinction and the commissioner and owners have repeatedly accused the players of walking away from negotiations in March, kicking off the federal court fight that has included four days of judge-ordered mediation.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re making much progress in negotiations because they really aren’t happening,” Goodell said on the call. “Right now, it’s in a litigation phase and the union is pursuing that while we are defending that. Unfortunately, there are not enough negotiations, which ultimately it’s going to have to come back to and is where this will get resolved and end in a new collective bargaining agreement.”
The next date for court-ordered talks in front of a federal magistrate is May 16.
The 30-minute teleconference produced no fireworks, bombshells or breaking news on the labor dispute which has brought the NFL to a standstill. Goodell has conducted similar question-and-answer sessions with other clubs since the lockout began.
Nevertheless, several fans, identified only by first name, were able to make some points. Joan, a Chiefs season ticket holder since 1963, was concerned about players’ conditioning during the lockout.
“I don’t understand how you expect — my husband was a professional football player. But he played back in the days when you didn’t get a million dollars and you really aren’t worth a million dollars. Sorry,” she said to Goodell. “He played both ways and they don’t have any players like that any more. But I don’t understand how you expect these players to perform when they can’t practice. I mean, you have to be in shape to be able to play.”
Goodell was sympathetic.
Well, Joan, you’re absolutely right,” he said. “What we have been focusing on is strength and conditioning vs. the contact drills and we’re trying to find the right balance to make sure the players are in the best possible physical condition.”
Jack, a season ticket holder from southeast Missouri, told the owner and the commissioner the league could be damaged if the dispute is not resolved soon.
“I’m afraid if this drags into the season, it could have a long-term affect on the league. There’s going to be people that aren’t going to come back if we lose games,” he said. “My question is, what assurances can we have from you guys that we’re not going to cook the golden goose?”
When will the lockout end? Make your prediction below…
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