Despite a late offer from the NFL owners, apparently the players' union rejected the deal and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has informed the players the plan to decertify the union. By doing that, it will likely take the case to the courts, where the players are hoping the owners won't be allowed to induce a lockout.
After last week's seven-day extension, the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at 10:59 p.m. (CDT). After that, the owners can then decide whether or not to announce a lock out. However, with the union's decision to decertify, it could be until next week before judges decide the ruling.
Apparently, the big sticking point on Friday was the union's desire for the NFL owners to open their books for the last 10 years. After a meeting and a offer by the owners, the union, led by Smith, turned it down, leading to the next step of decertification.
The NFL issued a statement late Friday afternoon:
"The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players' union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had "decertified" and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players' financial demands in the latter years.
The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs."
For the full statement by the league, plus details and up-to-date information go to : www.nfllabor.com