Today NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a letter to the NFL owners explaining that if a work stoppage occurs in 2011, he will have his annual salary reduced to $1.00, Steve Jobs style. The ownership's chief negotiater, Jeff Pash, will also have his annual salary reduced to just $1.00 if a work stoppage occurs (via Jason La Canfora). The NFL just raised the stakes for the NFL players association in the public eye, and that's not good for the NFLPA. Goodell also mentions that the vice presidents will hold back 10% of their bonuses, senior vice presidents will hold back 25% of their bonuses, and executive vice presidents will hold back 35% of their bonuses. The amounts held back not paid until new CBA is reached, with the "lesser" bonus being paid in April, after the current CBA expires.
Previously, the executive director of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith exclaimed that, "WE are at war!" The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on March 3rd, 2011, and the NFLPA is scrambling to do everything in their power to improve the public perception and image. Many fans don't realize it's going to be the owners locking out the players, not the players striking. The NFLPA dropped the ball in the public relations department, as somehow they've managed to allow the fans of the NFL side with the billionaire owners crying poor, while they fling around big-time multi-million dollar contracts.
DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA have also budged on issues such as their portion of earnings and an 18-game schedule, but still the perception is in favor of the owners. Smith had a drum to beat recently, with his expression that he wants constant meetings with the NFL, but the NFL hasn't obliged. That was a drum he could sound loudly and sway opinion, but the NFL has just one-upped him with a power move. By setting their salaries at simply $1.00, they make an appeal to the everyday worker struggling. Now the billionaire owners and NFL are once again easier to associate with than the millionaire athletes not wanting to lower their cut, despite the fact that they've made concessions on it.
In speaking to the player reps, he said the owners "always ask me, ‘What can you sell to the players?' Sell to them? I work for them!"
He was on a roll. "How condescending of a world is it where every time we sit down with these guys they say to us, ‘What do you think you can sell?' " Mr. Smith asked.