Last month, you might recall that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell visited Colts training camp. At the time, Goodell was touring various training camps in the Madden Cruiser along with Hall of Fame coach and former TV broadcaster John Madden.
Part of Goodell's trip to Anderson involved a meeting between Colts players and the commish. This was a closed door meeting. When it was done, there was no hint of fireworks despite an uncertain labor situation looming on the horizon in 2011. Players Union representative Jeff Saturday and Goodell gave statements after the meeting, and Goodell jumped back in the Madden cruiser bound for Canton and the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
However, as Anthony Schoettle of the IBJ reports, the meeting between Goodell and the Colts players was anything but uneventful:
Sources close to the team said when Colts players met last month with Goodell, and demanded to know what owners want concerning the labor negotiations, Goodell stonewalled them, saying he couldn’t answer that.
Goodell might have been expecting a friendly exchange when he swooped into Indianapolis for the last of several training camp visits in August. But several players swore at Goodell angrily. Peyton Manning, sources said, became upset with the treatment toward the commissioner and Colts center Jeff Saturday, an executive member of the players’ negotiating team, abruptly concluded the meeting as emotions—and tempers—flared.
If an agreement doesn’t get done, owners, who are asking players to take a pay cut, are promising to lock out the players.
Arguments like these between players and people like Goodell (who is a representative of the owners) underscore a very deep, bitter divide between both sides. As Schoettle also points out, the owners seem to be fighting amongst themselves as well over revenue sharing, a key component to maintaining competitive balance in the NFL.
Not surprisingly, leading the anti-revenue sharing charge is the Red Skull himself, Jerry Jones.
Any kind of new collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players (if we even see one) will need to include a salary cap and revenue sharing. If not, the NFL will go the way of the MLB and the NBA (aka, become irrelevant).