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2011 NFL lockout: The main sticking points between union and owners
Fans across the country have been on high alert for months now, as rumors continue to swirl about the looming lockout for the 2011 NFL season. It's been covered everywhere, and without knowing the specifics, everyone knows that it's all about the money. Still, it's important to know the specifics concerning some of the major issues for the potential 2011 NFL lockout, if for nothing else, so that you can figure out whose side you might stand on. Take a look at a handful of the biggest sticking points between the NFLPA union and the NFL owners.
18 Game Schedules: The owners want to put in a new 18 game regular season schedule. That's two more weeks to sell out the stadium, two more games to sell to the television networks, and all of the rest of that good stuff, and we would all love watching a few more meaningful games instead of the preseason, right? Well, the problem is that the players and most analysts are against the change, citing substantial increases to injuries and a lowering of the quality of play. This is a side that has been bolstered by the constant news this season about concussions, other serious injuries and violent hits.
The Revenue Split: The salary cap for the NFL (although there isn't one in effect this year) is determined by a percentage of total revenue for the league. The players get about 60% of this, although the owners skim about $1 to $1.5 billion off the top before the players get their slice. The owners want to give the players a lower percentage, or skim more like $2 to $2.5 billion off the top, before determining the salary cap. The owners cite the cost to build stadiums as the reason they need more money, and the players are saying, since when do workers pay for factories? Considering that the NFL rakes in cash, new stadiums add tons of new revenue streams, and not all owners have built new stadiums, or done so with their own loot, this is a shaky position for them to take.
Healthcare: It's no secret that healthcare for retired NFL players is a complete disgrace. That's not only terrible for the current crop of athletes, but it's drastically worse for the previous generations, who did not haul in millions of dollars to play to begin with. The NFLPA wants greatly improved health care benefits for previously retired and current players, a lower amount of time accrued to earn the health care, and other changes to the system.
Draft Pick Money: The top picks in the NFL draft get ridiculous levels of compensation, and earn tens of millions of dollars in signing bonuses before they ever play a down. Case in point, the Oakland Raiders just paid JaMarcus Russell(notes) $39 million in three years, yikes. The owners want a rookie pay scale, and the NFLPA would consider it, if the money saved there is put into veteran contracts or retiree pension plans and healthcare.
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