NFL Lockout: Blank sends letter to fans

Tony Gonzalez Day" - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony Gonzalez with a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th catch at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Tony Gonzalez Day" - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony Gonzalez with a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th catch at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons owner Arthur Blank contended that the owners bargained in good faith with the NFLPA in an open letter to fans, that is posted on the team’s website.

“As you probably know, last Friday the NFL’s mediated talks with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) ended without a new collectively bargained agreement, and on Saturday a lockout commenced,” Blank writes. “Neither of these events were desired outcomes, as commissioner (Roger) Goodell and our negotiating committee had worked diligently and tirelessly to reach a new agreement through the mediation process over the last three weeks.”

Blank address the fact that fans want to  know about the 2011 tickets that they have purchase and the investments they made during the playoffs for two rounds of tickets.

“The most important thing you should know is that we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to both sides and does not disrupt the 2011 season,” Blank writes. “We negotiated in good faith with the NFLPA, and we are prepared to re-enter negotiations at any time . . .the current status of the collective bargaining agreement will not disrupt our preparation for the 2011 season.”

He notes that general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff are preparing for the NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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121 comments Add your comment

Jon

March 14th, 2011
6:08 pm

JD

March 14th, 2011
6:22 pm

This is so lame. Lock them in a room with no food and water til they have an agreement….

MaxxFalcon

March 14th, 2011
6:40 pm

Goodell=Failure

TheManMike

March 14th, 2011
6:53 pm

Much more important things going on in the world than this B.S. $$ dispute. Sitting here watching the news about a town of 17,000 people in Japan that is missing 10,000 of it’s people. It looks like there was never even a town there…To the NFL AND the Players – GET OVER YOURSELVES!

old qb

March 14th, 2011
6:55 pm

In the end the owners and the players get their money and the fans get the shaft. Greed at the professional level trumps “love of the game” every time. Try explaining this ongoing philosophy to an eleven year old kid that worships the game and loves his heroes. The players may run a sub 4.4 forty, but they have feet of clay. The owners give out Christmas turkey, but they’re the epitome of “there ain’t no free lunch”. Hey, a five year old could divide up nine billion without killing the goose.

Sid

March 14th, 2011
7:32 pm

These players are payed ENORMOUS amounts of money that affords them lifestyles “most” of us can only anticipate if we win the lottery. In the long run it is the owners who have invested and gained ownership of a franchise…………to me the employees have no right to ask to look at the books. The NFL players should be grateful to the owners and the fans that they have this forum to be very highly paid for their god given and hard earned athleticism and talent. Why do you think you deserve more than what you have ……….?

Sid

March 14th, 2011
7:34 pm

You know Darrell, those that comment only “First” should be deleted for not commenting on the subject matter.

New Orleans smells like piss.

Snake Doc

March 14th, 2011
7:55 pm

Naa Naa Naa, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!

Could care less what a bunch of spoiled brats do next. As far as I’m concerned the NFL stands for – Never again will I spend my money, or waste my time to watch the NFL on Fox, CBS, or PMSNBC!

Good bye to the billionaires and spoiled millionaires! Hope you all rot in…, well, you know where!

JuneBaby

March 14th, 2011
7:57 pm

I’ll bet you that @Sid is a teapartier union hater, regardless of what union it is. The players should have no rights at all in his small mind, and the owners are always right. And how does he connect fans to the owners, he hasn’t talked to me or any other fan that i know, to be able to come to that conclusion! What he should have said was “These owners are paid ENORMOUS sums of money that affords them lifestyles “most” of us can only anticipate if we win the lottery.”

Tom Pridemore was tough

March 14th, 2011
8:14 pm

@ old qb…Greed trumps all…

Georgia Husky

March 14th, 2011
8:22 pm

Mr. Blank – No problem. The bottom 99.5% of the population are way too busy struggling to keep their jobs, finding healthcare for their kids, despairing about how they decreasing chances to send their kids to college, just trying not to give up hope, and (oh yeah) filling out our March Madness brackets. You have no ability to relate to us, the regular people, so stop trying to pretend that you care. Football was a great distractions from the pain of the past few years that you oligarchs caused us. Now, you’re even taking this away!

So, if you don’t want to play, fine. We’ll find other things to do. But, don’t expect us to care about your whining. And, we will NOT come back any time soon.

Georgia Husky

March 14th, 2011
8:48 pm

Also, speaking as a devout progressive, Sid is dead on in his analysis. We’re not talking about teachers struggling to get by each day knowing that they will never see another raise the rest of their lives – no matter how great of a difference they make on our kids. Mr Blank can solve a lot of problems if he and his oligrarchical friends didn’t have such short arms to go with their deep pockets! NFL, like the world, should not be socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the rest of us.

As a taxpayer

March 14th, 2011
9:31 pm

As a taxpayer that supports the World Congress Center (who runs the Dome) with state taxes, I would like to see the books before we agree to spend another dime on new stadium. The people in LA have it right. No public funds for rich brats until the public’s other needs are satisfied.

Lodney Ho

March 14th, 2011
9:48 pm

Arthur initially wanted to read his letter on 790 The Zone, the Falcon’s new Flagship station, but then he realized that we wanted more than 19 people and Shapiro’s family to hear the letter’s contents.

hangman

March 14th, 2011
9:52 pm

I’m almost 80 and pro ball is one of my enjoyments. So let me see if I get this straight;;;;;;; Feel free to enlighten am old man.
We have some of the highest paid pro players in the world wanting more money.
They discovered that the owners have X number of dollars and they want their share of it. Is that just about it in a nutshell? Sounds like something our president would think of. Karl Marx thought about this years – ago that no one should have more than anybody else. And we all know how that worked out.

carolyn

March 14th, 2011
9:55 pm

sadly, some people like sid will give their all to support big money guys like blank and walk right by a family that has lost their home and all because of ceo’s who feel that working stiffs (like sid) deserve peanuts for the work they do to make a company profitable. yes, the players are making more than peanuts, but they run the risk of physical and debilitating risks suffered from concussions and should be compensated. you can be sure that the fans are not there to see arthur blank on the field.

LydiasDad

March 14th, 2011
10:08 pm

Quit whining everyone. All of you sheep will be back, buying $8 beers, as soon as the season resumes. Just like people came back to MLB baseball after the ‘95 strike, in spite of all the whining. You won’t stand up for anything because it’s easier to follow.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 14th, 2011
10:11 pm

jd = Let’s relax. Nobody is missing anything until the first minicamp gets canceled.

Dale

March 14th, 2011
10:14 pm

That’s it!

If you can’t play together nicely, no new stadium.

Who really cares?

Dale

March 14th, 2011
10:15 pm

Enter your comments here

ATL FAN

March 14th, 2011
10:22 pm

Whoever still thinks that the NFL is going to happen next season is an idiot

TC

March 14th, 2011
10:27 pm

Screw u arther blank and all of the players as well. I am sick of you all acting like you care…you are all so out of touch with the common man it makes me sick….screw u for using us, knowing that we will come back after u sort out your millions while others in your organization who make $7.50 an hour are jobless.

mecq tate

March 14th, 2011
10:28 pm

The NFL Players have been taken advantage of since Pop Warner….The University’s tht recruit them make millions of dollars on them and don’t share the bounty. Only the high Powered Alumni get to do that. They then drag their aready tattered bodies willingly to the NFL to continue to abuse their bodies in hopes of getting pennies on the dollar that’s made. They, too, are treated as if it’s a privilage to do this kind of work, when their career is done these guys are cripple and crazy from all the abuse. Let Roger Goddell, take a few hits, or shall I say run a few miles in the players cleats….!!! The owners are greedy and self entitled.

lech112

March 14th, 2011
10:28 pm

Regardless of who’s side you’re on, once this thing is resolved, The Falcons are going to be just fine — http://bit.ly/FalconsImpact — a lot better of than most teams.

JR1967

March 14th, 2011
10:35 pm

If Mr. Blank wants to read his letter on 790 the zone, he should do it during daylight hours, otherwise the only people who could hear it at night would be the people parked in the Tower Place parking area outside the studios.

Eazy

March 14th, 2011
10:37 pm

Whoever keeps trying to compare this situation to socialism must have some class envy going on. The players of America’s most popular sport go through the most physical trauma out of any professional sports I can think of. Most players are in the unfortunate position of having absolutely nothing after their NFL careers due to medical expenses. I’ve heard enough stories to know that the NFL doesn’t truly care about their players, just their bottom line. Just like a real business, right ?

I hope this CBA settles issues that are more important than money.

ATL FAN

March 14th, 2011
11:00 pm

Eazy what are you talking about?? Bottom line is NFL players make millions and they should be set for LIFE if they plan accordingly. If they want to live a lavish lifestyle now and suffer later, that’s their problem and not the owners. The fact that they get payed millions simply to run for ten seconds at a time is enough.

Duck tape and glue

March 14th, 2011
11:00 pm

You look at any industry where the primary imputs of production are human beings and lo and behold the largest cost is overwhelmingly labor. Our education system, public or private, typically has labor at around 70% of cost. How then do the owners expect to pay the core of their product less than 50% of revenue? Arthur Blank paid 545 million for the Falcons in 2002 and its now estimated they are worth well over a billion. How well did your stocks do in that same time period? Does this sound like a business that is getting killed by employee costs? Fortune 500 CEO compensation topped out in in 2007 at an average of over 15 million. Once again, how did your stocks do over the last ten years? Does anybody deserve 15 million a year when their company is bleeding money? Prices are going up, people are losing jobs, and you’ve lost more than you’ve put into your 401K but nobody gets pissed at dorks in suits making obscene amounts of money for running companies into the ground. Instead, we get pissed at the players that spend more hours a day lifting weights than you spend sleeping just so they can get a chance at an average 4 year career in the NFL after which they will have fine honed skills that have almost no other possible application. They players should form their own league and rent out Sanford Stadium on Sundays. They could give half the revenue to hope scholarship and still get a better share of the money. I’d pay for that ticket.

Blip

March 14th, 2011
11:01 pm

Blank thanked fans for understanding? They understand? Who understands? The principals don’t even understand each other.

Good that this will not disrupt preparations for 2011. It’s be a national news story when Arthur breaks ranks with owners and allows locked out players in for off season workouts. Arthur? Were you serious in saying this will not disrupt preparations? Think that one out. It already has, for every team. No way around that.

It pains me to strike an understanding with the owners, but so much of the public resentment toward that rides on the back of their uber-wealth. It creates jealousy and anger. If it were earned on the backs of slave labor, folks being paid as if they were working in fast food, I could understand that a lot easier.

I don’t see how the fact that some owners have a bunch of yachts, or airplanes, or whatever has anything to do with the nature of the CBA going forward. They’ve earned their money in a variety of ways, and in most cases added to their wealth through owning an NFL team. To the victors go the spoils.

This crap about the players demanding that owners make public their books . . . how would that go over in your workplace? Why don’t you storm into the office and demand to see your owner/boss’ books. That’ll work out for sure.

Likewise, the fact the average NFL career is so short should have no bearing on this. Sure, their earning window is brief for the most part. Hey, if that prospect does not appeal coming out of college, go elsewhere and seek a more secure job. Your right.

Now, the issues of healthcare/insurance/pensions/post-career healthcare . . . those should all be on the table inasmuch as the very unique nature of working in the NFL as a player (not a PR goober or a coach) merits unique consideration in those regards as recompense for embarking upon a relatively high-risk job.

In the end, the owners are going to give a little ground. They should. But they should not give nearly as much ground as some bleeding hearts suggest.

walter matthews

March 14th, 2011
11:06 pm

I call on all football fans to boycott the 1st 3-6 games of the 2011 season as a form of protest against the owners. This will show them that they may treat the players any kind of way…. more like slaves,
BUT, we as the paying fans will not tolerate this type of greed. Mr. Blank appears to be a real nice
man, but he appears to be led by the other rich & greedy Pro Slave owners.

Life and Loved Ones > NFL

March 14th, 2011
11:18 pm

I really hope the Super Bowl we saw last month was THE LAST one ever.

Yes, really.

Dennis

March 14th, 2011
11:24 pm

Well, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me to swear off baseball after the umpires revamped the strike zone and took control of the game… I lived through that and I can darned sure do something with the money I’ve been spending the last few years for the NFL Sunday Ticket so I could watch the Falcons in my cigar-smoke-free living room.

Few of these already overpaid players would be any more successful in life than the rest of us mere mortals. That they scream for more is beyond me.

dawgforlife

March 14th, 2011
11:48 pm

I am sick and tired of millionaires arguing with billionaires about money. Mr. Blank, you people make me sick at my stomach. your little note falls on deaf ears or blind eyes or whatever. The owners, trying to squeeze five more cents out of a players life amid his glorified plantation. The players, grubbing for five more cents out of a game I’d play for free, and work in the daytime. you have the greatest game in the world, and we the fans made it great; but, don’t sit there on TV and spew or write letters to us about how much you care. you people don’t give a flying rip about us. you could not care less about us. Will we be back when all this is over?….yes, but not because of either set of your greedy backends. We will be back because of the majesty of football. We will be back for the love of football. We will be back in spite of you yahoos. Mr. Blank, I have lost, and will not ever regain, all respect for you personally. To each and every one of the Falcon players from Matt Ryan to the loweest paid (400-500K hope you can live off that piddly amout) player, I lothe you. I will follow the falcons and cheer for the falcons because of the city and the game they represent. I will be a fan of none of you money grubbers ever again…collectively the greedy players and greedy owners have cost us our beloved game. I will be back; but, I will never forgive either of you.

awesompt

March 14th, 2011
11:56 pm

That is SO lame, Arthur. You’re all a bunch of richboys living the dream. The players make more money than most of us can even imagine…..to play a freaking game. The owners are already millionaires, and they want our sympathy because they can’t get a little more money off the top to build a stinking stadium? Newsflash! We don’t give a crap about the stupid stadium. Just go play the game and be thankful that those men who put their bodies on the line still get people to come see your team play. Work this crap out and get on the field on time, or we will leave you just like we did with baseball. Good luck breaking even when they start blacking out your home games again because no one will come…..

tim hart

March 14th, 2011
11:57 pm

screw both sides. i am done with the nfl, i sttill got nascar mlb nba even womens volleyball golf tennis. it is time they realized they aint all that. not to,mention college football, goodbye not for long

awesompt

March 14th, 2011
11:58 pm

You embarrassed us against the Packers….and now this crap? Get real. I hope you loose your shirt, Arthur.

Grumps

March 15th, 2011
12:01 am

I was one of the orignal Falcon season tacket holders (old Atlanta Stadium)and gave them up when prices went up and fan loyality gave way to Stadium Suites and egotistical prices. There are no POOR owners.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 15th, 2011
12:04 am

Roger Goodell is a complete, utter failure, in every way shape and form.

Snake Doc

March 15th, 2011
1:06 am

There shouldn’t be any poor players, either!

jeff

March 15th, 2011
1:43 am

I was a season ticket holder for the past 6 years, now I don’t care if they ever play again because I won’t be there!

RT Bird

March 15th, 2011
1:50 am

Last time I checked, no one was holding a gun to anyone to sign any agreements. Let these guys(both sides) negotiate and deal with the backlash. The market will decide. If you are pissed – don’t buy tickets and don’t watch on TV. The market will handle the situation if you let it – like water flowing downhill – it will find a way.

RT Bird

March 15th, 2011
1:59 am

By the way. The taxpayers should not fund any stadium. If the owners want to talk about all the good a team does for a city or a region – it cuts both ways – it is easier to attract players to, and keep good players in – great cities. Someone suggested that the NFL take that extra billion each year and use that money to build stadiums – that is a good idea…

clint

March 15th, 2011
4:25 am

The Falcons alowed 20+ seconds for that over rated Qback from Greenbay to pass the ball on about every play. Can’t win games that way.

Falcon Friend

March 15th, 2011
5:02 am

Both the owners and fans are too greedy. I predict that there will be an agreement in time to avoid disruption to the regular season games. Both sides are smart enough to know that they will both loose all that money if they do not play.

JustAThought

March 15th, 2011
6:44 am

This situation ain’t even worth expressing my opinion about. Because I know like everyone else knows, the owners ain’t gonna let the NFLPA look over there books.

Marko

March 15th, 2011
6:44 am

At a time when we can’t afford Pre-k for our kids, NFL billionaires want Tax payers to build them shiny new stadiums. Please read these comments Mr. Blank, most Americans are in no mood to get weepy over the sad plight of abused down trodden billionaires. Open your books to the public and prove your alleged poverty, or quit whining.

Character Review Department

March 15th, 2011
6:59 am

Enter your comments here

dawgdip

March 15th, 2011
7:03 am

The players want a larger share of the owners profit. How about giving up some of your profit (salary) to all of those workers who support you on Sundays . The players are broke when they retire because they are too stupid to manage their money while they play. Mansions, expensive cars, cars, jewelry etc. instead of smart investments is why they have little to show for their earnings. Wake up fans and refuse to attend the games and purchase all of the NFL merchandise.

Football Fan

March 15th, 2011
7:58 am

Tired of all the greedy players and owners but probably would side with the owners. They are the ones taking the risk. In know other business unless it is a public company do the owners have to show the employees their books. Where could these players go and make the money they are making even if their careers average 5-6 years. The problem is most of them do not know how to handle success. Give most people 500,000 per year for 5-6 years and they will invest and then get a job when their career is over. Most of these guys never finish their education and expect to live off the NFL the rest of their lives. Most all pro athletes are so spoiled today. Most of them you see doing the good deeds in the community is set up by the teams. I know there are a lot that are committed but most is for the PR! Look at the average salaries of major sports today. The ones that need the help are the early guys that played because they loved the game and made no money or benefits. Lock them out and start over 3-4 years you will never know the difference!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Warren

March 15th, 2011
8:07 am

The main issue seems to be the 18 game season. I enjoy NFL football but would still hate to see an 18-game season. Entire seasons are already determined by injuries, it seems, so why make it worse. It should be called the NGL. National Greed League.