The NFL, NFLPA, and an 18 game season.

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“We’re ready for round 5 in the Goodall vs. Smith fight.”

While almost every NFL analysts was projecting a massive spending spree by the league in an uncapped year, nearly 2 years ago I told you that the NFLPA would be crying for the reinstatement of the salary cap floor because teams would use the uncapped year to dump expensive players and save money. That is exactly what happened.

More than a year ago on this site, I proposed a solution to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that involved the 18 game season. The proposal was that the current players would get paid 18/16ths of their current contracts which would increase their gross by 12.5%. It should allow the NFLPA and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith to give back 8% of the player’s cut of the total income from around 60% down to around 52%. If that proposal included an increase in the rosters from 53 to 60 and a rookie salary cap (to cut the amount of the pie that went to newbies and increase the pool available for the Vets) with the reinstatement of the NFL Salary cap, I believed that the NFLPA would accept it in order to prevent a strike/lockout. There were still going to be a few other issues but those were inconsequential next to the money.

Three things were true then that are not true now. First, the NFL looked like it was going to win the American Needle vs. NFL law suit that involved the league’s anti-trust status. That would have strengthened the league’s position and in the opinion of some might have allowed it to impose an agreement that the union would have almost been forced to accept.

Second, at the time I wrote that, it also looked like the NFL and the drug enforcement program would prevail in the Williams’ vs. NFL in Minnesota state court. Instead the court has failed to give the league a win and has stopped the league from enforcing the suspension of the Vikes’ DTs.

Third and most important, the proposal was not submitted quietly so that the union could digest it as part of the overall proposal. The stick only works if there is a carrot at the end of it. Recently, the NFL came to the same conclusion about the 18 game season and are expected to approve it at the next league meeting.

That is a really stupid move.

What the league had done is take the one carrot they had and stuff it down the disposal rather than adding it to a balanced dinner salad of a solution to the labor issue. The owners got greedy and gave the key to an agreement away and now they have nothing with which to bargain.

This almost guarantees that there will be a work stoppage because the league will have very little to offer the union that could encourage them to give back some of the money they got in the last agreement.

I wish I had better news but I try to give you the best forecast I can of what will happen.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,Goodell,Collective Bargainning Agreement,CBA,Lockout,salary cap,rookie salary cap,18 game season
  • Author:
  • Published: Jun 29th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Sports Buffet for 06/29/10

Sports Buffet for 06/29/10

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Lions president Tom Lewand was recently charged with DUI. That got him a not so friendly visit with Comm. Goodell this week. While there is no decision yet on punishment for the charge or from the league, the players and NFLPA Ex. Dir. DeMaurice Smith will be watching this case very closely. They will want to see if management is held to the same standard as the players.

UFA RB Brian Westbrook was charged with DUI in February but has been found not guilty.

Bengal RB Cedric Benson is in trouble again. This time he was charged with assault with injury resulting from an altercation at a downtown Austin Texas bar. He reportedly punched a bar employee in the face. He paid his bond but the charge is a class A misdemeanor. It will get him a ticket to meet with Comm. Goodall sometime soon.

Steelers OT Willie Colon’s hurt his Achilles’ tendon and will miss the entire year. He had started 54 straight games. The team is searching for a replacement but the good ones are gone.


We are getting closer to knowing where the big name UFAs will be going. One thing that looks fairly certain is that LeBron will leave Cleveland. Current bets have LeBron and Bosh in Chicago, Wade and Amar’e Stoudemire in Miami, Boozer in New York or New Jersey. Sorry Clippers, it doesn’t look like any of the top level will be going there.

Dirk Nowitzki has reportedly officially opted out of his player option with Dallas. The team believes they will be able to resign him soon. Don’t hold your breath. Nowitzki is going to get a max deal from a team that misses out on the big 3 UFAs.


If the Cubs don’t have enough problems, SP Carlos Zambrano threw a temper tantrum last week. Unfortunately, it was the best thing he has thrown all year. He has been suspended indefinitely by the team and has yet to hear from the league. He is paid like an ACE and thinks of himself as one. He has never thrown like an ACE. At some point the team is going to have to just cut bait with Zambrano.

The Red Sox have more injuries and that will keep them out of the playoffs. Victor Martinez was added to the list yesterday with a broken thumb. Perhaps the biggest loss was Dustin Pedroia who went down a couple of days ago with a broken foot.


The US team is out of the World Cup. But that won’t impact the interest in the sport in the US. Just like the NHL failed to capitalize on their international success, the US team wouldn’t have impacted pro soccer here even if they had won the World Cup. The lack of interest prevents both leagues from getting a big time TV deal for regular season games. Soccer doesn’t have a big enough fan base despite the fact that young adults from 20-40 grew up playing the game.

Part of the problem is that the best athletes go to the NBA or NFL for both the money and the glory. MLB is next in line and what is left over falls to soccer. That limits the interest of Americans that expect to see the very best from professional sports.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NBA,MLB,World Cup,Westbrook,Benson,Goodell,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,ufa,LeBron,Nowitzki,Stoudemire,Bosh,Cavs,Heat,Nets,Clippers,Bulls,Cubs,Red Sox,Zambrano,Pedroia

Donte Stallworth got a pass on DUI Manslaughter.

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When is DUI Manslaughter not a serious crime? When you are a drunk NFL player that happens to run down and kill a j-walker.

Florida has a somewhat unique approach to accidents that end up with a death. The law assigns fault to each party based on the legality of their actions leading up to the accident. There is no question that Stallworth was drunk. According to police, he had a blood alcohol content of 0.14. That is well above the legal limit.

According to reports coming from Miami, the fact that the victim Mario Reyes, 59, was not in a cross walk was a major factor in the negotiations for the plea agreement reached this week. Another factor was that representatives of Stallworth had already worked out a confidential financial settlement to avoid a potential lawsuit from the Reyes family.

The resulting plea agreement was a joke. Stallworth will spend 30 days in jail, a sentence that he has already started to serve, and will have to serve 10 years probation. He also will have community service requirements. Had he gone to trial and been found guilty of DUI Manslaughter, the sentencing guidelines are from 4 ½ to 15 years in prison.

Stallworth will also face a suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse rules. I can’t help but wonder why the NFL doesn’t have rules against manslaughter. This is not the first time that an active player has committed DUI Manslaughter.

In the summer of 1999, Ram DE/LB Leonard Little was driving under the influence of alcohol on his birthday when he ran a red light and killed Susan Gutweiler, 47, of Oakville, Mo. Little served 90 days in jail and was suspended for the first 8 games of the 99 season. The Rams won the Super Bowl that year.

NFL Commissioner Goodell has a decision to make on the suspension of Stallworth. He should suspend Stallworth for the entire season and playoffs. That would help make a point to other professional athletes that laws against driving and drinking apply to them as well as the “regular” people.

The Cleveland Browns also have a decision to make. Coach Mangini has talked a lot about creating a new atmosphere of responsibility in the locker room. In fact, that is about the only thing that Mangenious has talked a lot about. The Stallworth case is an opportunity for the coach to prove it. Cut him now. Make it clear that some things are more important that winning. Killing another human being is one of them. The death of Mr. Reyes is nothing short of murder because Stallworth had to realize that he was too drunk to drive.

Stallworth deserves to lose at least one season if not his career. After all, Mr. Reyes lost his life.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Stallworth,DUI,Manslaughter,Browns,Goodell,Little,Rams,Super Bowl,Mangini
  • Author:
  • Published: May 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What should the NFL do with Mikey Vick?

What should the NFL do with Mikey Vick?

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Michael Vick was released from prison today to spend the next couple of months of his sentence under house arrest. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to have to make a decision about QB Michael Vick’s return to the NFL before too long. The questions are how do you make the decision and what should that decision be.

How will the Commish make the decision: We are likely to hear a lot in the next few days about the difference between a right to play in the NFL vs. the privilege of playing in the league. defines a right as that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc. It defines a privilege as a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.

So, is playing in the NFL a right or a privilege? High school players earn college scholarships with a combination of their preparation, their play on the field and work in the classroom. Anyone that has ever tried to win a scholarship of any kind knows that it must be earned.

Every player in the NFL has worked his entire life to get to the point that he could earn a roster spot. No roster spot is given to a player—he earns it every year. When he is no longer able to earn a roster spot, he is cut or traded. There are no gifts in the NFL—it’s Big Boy football.

In my opinion, playing in the NFL is not a privilege, it is a right that is earned through hard work. But rights can be taken away. A convicted felon forfeits the right to vote, or at least is supposed to, as a part of the punishment for violating the law. Vick is a felon and I believe he has forfeited his right to play.

What should the decision be? I think that Commissioner Goodell should not reinstate Vick but allow him to sign with a team and practice this season. That will give Goodell time to see if Vick has changed his lifestyle or not. Of course Vick has had a lot of help changing his lifestyle. The combination of fines and lawsuit judgments along with attorney costs have eliminated all Vick’s prior earnings. His paycheck from his interim job as a construction worker will not begin to meet his financial obligations to his debt holders.

Vick needs the money a return to the NFL could allow him to earn. If he is a good citizen during training camp, Goodell should let him back in the league. If not, he will go the way of Adam “don’t call me Pacman” Jones. But there is a problem with this scenario—Vick just isn’t that good a QB!

Vick started for 4 full seasons in the NFL with the Falcons and started parts of 2 other seasons. He has never had a completion rate above the 56.4% he had in 2004. 62-65 percent is a must for an NFL team to have success offensively. His highest QB rating was 81.6 in 2002. That is a minimum rating for anyone who is considered starting quality in the league.

He was selected to go to the pro bowl but it was at a time when there just were no other choices in the NFC. At best, he struggled to get to a minimal level of QB skills when he was practicing everyday. Now he has been a guest of the federal government for 2 years with no practice at all.

If Goodell allows Vick to explore his NFL options, I believe very few teams will be interested in signing him. The best any team could hope for from Vick is that he could be a slash type player and wildcat QB for a few plays a game. I believe he will not be successful and likely would not even make the final roster of a team. In that case, he will fade away from the public view and sports talk radio. That would be the best thing for the NFL, the Falcons, and dog lovers everywhere.

The only good Vick is one out of the NFL and out of the public view.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Vick,prison,NFL,NFL Football,college football,high school Football,Goodell,falcons

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