The NFL and NFL Players Association have called the whole thing off, deciding not to bother with any more meetings this week or in the near future. Roger Goodell floated the idea that it was about drug tests, highlighting that over the large variety of other issues facing both sides in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations. It was, of course, patently false.
It’s about the money, stupid, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Chris Mortensen, speaking on SportsCenter this morning, confirmed my own suspicions, saying the two sides couldn’t come together on a revenue sharing proposal. The players want 50 percent of everything, split across the board, which the owners are, obviously, completely against. It’s confusing, but here’s the explanation of it all.
At the current revenue levels, “total revenue” has been defined as an estimated $9 billion gross, minus a $1 billion credit in the owners’ favor. In the current CBA deal about to expire, the union’s share has been estimated at about 60 percent of $8 billion, once the $1 billion credit was subtracted.
Make sense? The owners want another $1 billion in credit — totaling $2 billion — chopped off the top before the “total revenue” is split up. The players want a 50-50 split of total revenue, without the credit ever taken off the top.
And this is where the problem lies. The owners want that bigger cut, mostly as a symbolic message, while the players want to keep their edge in revenue. If the players budge, they’ll never see that cut of money again. It sets up for a stalemate that looks lengthy, to say the least.
With no end in sight, a lockout and canceled games are a very real possibility. Neither side wants to budge, the owners are prepared for a lockout and the players are powerless to do anything about it. With so much money at stake, neither side is prepared to move, as well, compounding all the problems.
For more on the CBA negotations, check out our NFL lockout StoryStream.