Carolina’s Jerry Richardson on CBA negotiations: “I am not optimistic that we’re making a lot of progress”

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (left) spoke with the media today about a number of issues including negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires March 3.

“There are 32 owners and 32 opinions and as you know I am the co-chair of the committee and I have been chair for a number of committees through the years. I would say that we are the most united we have been,” said Richardson, co-chair of the NFL’s 10-member Management Council Executive Committee which is responsible for labor negotiations. “In 2006, ‘07 and ‘08 we generated $3.6 billion in new revenue. The players have gotten $2.6 billion of the revenue and 32 teams have gotten $1 billion. And we have a negative cash flow of $200 million. Now, I don’t think many business schools would say that’s a model that’s going to sustain itself and we have tried to explain that as best we could to the representatives of the Players Association.

“I am not as optimistic as some are that we’re making much progress. I get a lot of letters each day from union representatives from all over the world and somebody is spending a lot of time on things like that which I believe are counterproductive and we’re not spending enough time trying to come to some resolve,” said Richardson, who played for the Baltimore Colts in 1959-60. “No one has fought for labor peace more than I have.

“The realities are that states, counties, cities and nationally, things are not well economically and I don’t know what to believe on unemployment.  I don’t know if it’s 9.6, 9.8 or 10 percent, but it’s a bad number and we can’t sustain revenue production like we have had in the past and it’s just a reality. One of the first things that was said to me when I meet with union lawyers is, ‘Mr. Richardson, we want more money, more benefits and we want to work less.’ And then they say, ‘Let’s begin negotiations.’ And I’m not optimistic we’re making a lot of progress.”

Asked for a comment by The Associated Press, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “We understand and share Mr. Richardson’s disappointment in the lack of engagement by the union and the slow pace of the negotiations.”

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