NFL: Goodell reiterates his want of labor deal
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to see more progress in labor talks between the league and players’ union.
Speaking Friday at his annual state-of-the-league address during Super Bowl week, Goodell said fans “expect solutions ... and we should deliver” on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The NFL Players Association said Thursday it is bracing for a lockout in 2011 after the current labor pact expires. Goodell said he and the league’s owners want an agreement and it’s “absolutely false” that owners would want to see a work stoppage.
Goodell added that there is no contingency plan for the 2012 Super Bowl, on the chance that no football is played in 2011.
“We still have a lot of time and a lot of important opportunities here to structure something that makes sense for everybody,” Goodell said.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said Thursday the union views the chance of a lockout as a “14” on a scale of 1-to-10, something Goodell said he hopes won’t become a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“I sure hope he’s wrong. ... Right now, we we don’t need a lot of focus on that,” Goodell said.
Goodell has also said he doesn’t agree with the union’s contention that owners are insisting on an 18 percent player pay cut.
“The players hould be paid fairly and they should be paid well,” he said. “And I assure you that they will.”