In the NFL and NFLPA negotiations over the CBA, the main focus has been on how to split the $9 billion between the players and the owners. While this is the big hurdle in negotiations and litigation, it's not the only hurdle. When negotiations broke down last week and the NFLPA decertified, Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown went to the media and exclaimed "that all the union cared about was the money." Brown mentioned the other topics that needed to be hashed out and discussed, such as an 18-game schedule, a rookie wage scale, and benefits to retired players weren't really talked about.
On Thursday, in an exclusive interview with SB Nation, lead negotiator Jeff Pash was asked about Mike Brown's comments and was inclined to agree with Brown's assessment of the situation. "I don't know if many owners around the league feel [the same way] but I think Mike was reflecting what he heard in the mediation session," Pash told SB Nation on Thursday. "Late Friday afternoon in responding to the comprehensive proposal we had made to them, they didn't want to talk about anything other than what the cap numbers were. They didn't want to talk about the healthy and safety improvements. They didn't want to talk about the rookie system. They didn't want to talk about benefits," Pash added.
There were a flurry of reports last week than the 18-game talk had been tabled and and a rookie wage scaled had been agreed upon, but there were also reports the very same day denying any of that occurred. Pash continued elaborating on Mike Brown's comments saying, "They didn't want to talk about improved pensions for retired players. They didn't want to talk about the drug program or the steroid program. They didn't want to talk about disciplinary matters. The only thing they wanted to talk about was the cap number."
Executive director of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith, told SB Nation last year in an interview that the number one issue for players was the health and safety of the players. According to Mike Brown and Jeff Pash, the NFLPA's number one priority wasn't the health and safety of the players, but all about the Benjamin's.