NFL LOCKOUT: Week three, Blank updates fans

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons owner Arthur Blank wrote a letter to the fans on Sunday and contended that “the NFLPA walked away from a deal that was more than fair.”

It’s his second letter to the fans since the NFLPA decertified on March 11. The union’s move was followed by the NFL locking out the players. The NFLPA filed an antitrust lawsuit which is scheduled for a hearing on April 6 in Minneapolis.

In the letter, Blank states that the owners spent a great deal of time discussing the labor situation at the recently concluded league meeting in New Orleans.

“I can speak for the NFL and its owners in telling you that we all want a quick resolution of the current labor dispute, and we are ready to get back to the negotiating table at any time,” Blank wrote. “We have great respect for our players and want them to rejoin us in preparing for the 2011 season as quickly as possible.”

He pointed out the work of team president Rich McKay, who is the chairman of the league’s competition committee.

He also noted that the Falcons are moving forward with plans for the upcoming season and that they are looking forward to the NFL Draft on April 28-30.

“I will continue to keep you informed,” Blank wrote. “In the meantime, I hope we can count on your support as we work through this difficult situation.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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97 comments Add your comment

Joe

March 27th, 2011
10:07 pm

Harris

March 27th, 2011
10:12 pm

what’s gonna happen when the dollar crashes, moodys downgrades and obama adds another trillion to the deficit?

robert

March 27th, 2011
10:13 pm

doesn’t really make me feel any better.

robert

March 27th, 2011
10:29 pm

thats easy harris, its the same as this governments last incarnation. as soon as the dollar is killed the north american union will be formed and the amerio will be introduced as the new currency to “save’” everyone. but it aint gonna help complaining about it and until there is a solution to the two party system there is nothing you can do about it so why not just stick to football on these blogs and keep the pointless politic talk for your own time.

PMC

March 27th, 2011
11:01 pm

we want them to get back to the negotiating table so long as the negotiating is completely one sided….

If you wanted to freaking play owners….you could have continued with the freaking deal…..the deal that brought the NFL more money than it’s ever made.

The owners are the ones who started this crap, not the players.

Harris.....it's all whitey's fault

March 27th, 2011
11:29 pm

no NFL IN 2011. YALL STILL GOT RACIN TO WATCH.

MR. Zizzle

March 28th, 2011
12:05 am

Nothing worse than a NASCAR political hick like Harris to horrify us that car racing is the savior. Where is the next bridge? GO FALCONS! GET THIS THING DONE NFL and PLAYERS! If you want to split the 9 Billion with me, I’m ready!

FalconJim

March 28th, 2011
12:13 am

I think Arthur Blank is a great owner, but I think BOTH sides have become too greedy! They were ALL making great money, so let’s get down to business and strike a deal, so we can go on with this glorious game that we all love so much!
And one other thing…..if I went in tomorrow and asked my boss to see his financial records, he’d probably have a stroke, laughing so hard…..then, tell me it’s NONE OF MY F’ IN BUSINESS!!! And, I think this applies here, as well.

FalconJim.

dawgforlife

March 28th, 2011
12:20 am

This is hogwash…Arthur Blank could not care less about the fans..and the players could not care less about the fans…they just think we are dumb hicks who will be back regardless…I WILL NEVER respect either of them again…they have ruined our precious game..I lothe them…I will cheer for the Falcons because of my loyalty to football and the city of our sports…but, those collective blowhard players and owners can kiss my grits…I will never be have any respect for either one…greedy plantation owners…and greedy spoiled players…I would play for free if God would turn back the clock and give me the youth to do so…the whole crowd can kiss my hiney!

5150 UOAD

March 28th, 2011
1:43 am

That photo might be all the fans left after the lockout and Arty trying to get us to buy an outside stadium.

BIG BIRD

March 28th, 2011
4:44 am

All you get from a union is the right to strike and the right to pay dues!!
NFL Owners, take the ball and go home!!!

Paddy

March 28th, 2011
6:49 am

Yeh Harris….if there is no football we all can watch the replay of that exciting Daytona 500 last month. Watching rac’in always wants me to put a sharp stick in my eye. Over the years I have tried to become a NASCAR fan. The last few years it has become impossible to watch. Sorry Harris, I will stick to football, baseball and hockey.

SimpleDawg

March 28th, 2011
6:58 am

Still demanding payment on season tickets, without knowing whether or not there will be a season, or what the quality of play will be.

Unhappy season ticket holder…….

The Real Falcon

March 28th, 2011
6:59 am

Blah, blah blah.
The owners have planned for this since last year. They get paid by the networks even if no games
are played. Open the books if so much money was lost.

SeenThisB4

March 28th, 2011
7:07 am

Liar, Liar, pants on fire.

2012 Preparation

March 28th, 2011
7:27 am

You fools. . . Can’t you see they are preparing us for whatever apocalyptic event they have in store for us. Normally, people don’t flush 9.3 billion a year down the drain unless they have a very good reason. There will be no NFL to distract us when the S hits the fan. You laugh – but who won the first Superbowl and who won the last Superbowl. Coincidence? I think not.

mattie Ice

March 28th, 2011
7:28 am

Harris that President Obama to you

Jimmy Crack

March 28th, 2011
7:52 am

Support? SUPPORT???

Big Dawg

March 28th, 2011
7:53 am

Hey 2012, get back on the meds.

Timmy Bobbins

March 28th, 2011
8:23 am

Its simply muti-billionaire owners and multi-millionaire players whining for more money. The owners want to keep more of it and the players want a greater share of it. Why don’t both of you consider the fans that actually pay your salaries (through revenues) and lower the ticket prices to games ? The average fan makes $30,000 per year yet will spend $100 (x 100,000 fans) on a ticket to line the owners and players pockets. Instead of both of you wanting more money why can’t a player play for $6 million a year instead of $10 million per year ? Why can’t the owners be satisfied with $4 billion per year profit instead of $5 billion ? I know the name of the game is making money but the fan is the one being cheated. And neither the owners nor the players care about the fans. They only care about Mo Money !

Old Flatulent Dawg

March 28th, 2011
8:41 am

The Greed League…who cares….if you can’t eat it, can’t have sex with it…then pee on it!

JoeFann

March 28th, 2011
8:43 am

Maybe someone should remind Mr. Blank AND the players, that with the television contracts and global expansion, apparently, they no longer need our support–unless, of course, they want us to foot the bill for a new stadium. When billionaires are pointing fingers at millionaires, and vice versa, as Rhett said, “Frankly, my dear, ….” If they can’t stop squabbling and solve it, it will only save me time and money, and turn my attention back to the plantation that is college football.

Go Dawgs!

Big Dude

March 28th, 2011
8:46 am

Unions are nothing but legalized extortion. “Give me what I want or I’ll walk”.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 28th, 2011
9:14 am

I wonder what is going to happen on April 6. I’m talking to a bunch of legal eagle experts this week. Hopefully, my story for next Sunday will clear up how this thing is going to evolve.

SimpleDawg: When are the season ticket payments due?

falcfvr

March 28th, 2011
9:16 am

Get on with it…. The players want to see the books? Yeah and I’m gonna show my check book to my lawn guy. Greed is all it is….

CJ

March 28th, 2011
9:21 am

Where are these letters? I’m a season ticket holder and not getting them.

PMC

March 28th, 2011
9:33 am

The owners are still trying to get taxpayers to build stadiums AND they want the players share back too.

This is not about playing football, it’s completely about trying to take back money from the players that they were earning under the current deal.

I’m not a union guy in the least. I’m completely pro business, but this cabal that the owners have put toegther is complete bullcrap.

If they wanted to play football they could have kept the freaking deal.

BUILD YOUR OWN FREAKING STADIUMS IF YOU WANT NEW ONES!!!!

PMC

March 28th, 2011
9:36 am

The Players don’t need to see the books. It’s completely erronious.

Everyone KNOWS that they are making good money. Everyone is making good money especially the teams with good stadium deals (unlike the Falcons)and PSL’s and competitive teams. Every team is making good money. I don’t need to see the books to know that, I can look at the freaking media deal and the public data to know that.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that the players should even consider anything less than the current deal they have now.

The Jerry Richardsons of the world should sit and spin.

SawThat1nce

March 28th, 2011
9:41 am

The owners walked out(opted-out) on the deal that the NFL had in place.

PMC

March 28th, 2011
9:41 am

These guys took a problem amongst the owners (revenue sharing) and killed the league in the process.

General Sherman

March 28th, 2011
9:47 am

Why do you need pro sports any way?

steve brown

March 28th, 2011
9:55 am

Anyone familiar with “big business” understands that the only numbers that mean anything are audited financials. Everything else is BS and Blank knows this better than most. “Trust me” doesn’t work when $9 billion is being split up. The owners won’t give up these audited numbers because they don’t want the players to see, among other things, their personal perks like jets, cars, family employees, girlfriends, hookers, travel and entertainment, etc. that they run through their teams P & L. Arthur stop being disingenuous and either give them audited numbers to show your true financial position or do us a favor and stop writing letters.

Dawg A

March 28th, 2011
10:26 am

Arthur is such a loser! DOL…. As a season ticket holder I called them over a week ago and they told me that if I wanted out of my season tickets I would lose the 2,200 I have already paid! I owe 1,100 on April 1, May 1 and the final payment is due in June.
My argument to them was that since there is no assurance that there will be football in 2011 then they should not take one more dime from me until they know for sure! Otherwise, they are taking my money and it is drawing at least 4% percent interest. But if they don’t play I get my money back with 1% percent interest. It is wrong and they have me backed up against the corner!
But IT IS THE LAST TIME THEY GET MY MONEY! That I can control! Arthur can stand on the sidelines and look up and just wonder what happened! Arthur is clueless and is the most greedy owner in atlanta sports history!
BTW…. when I asked the Customer Service Rep on the phone what was it like to work for someone that treats fans so poorly her answer summed it up “I better pled the 5th” Enough said!!!!!

John

March 28th, 2011
10:29 am

The fans are organizing and forming their own ownership groups! The owners are going to lose! Check out sportsownership.com All teams are still available. This will be the biggest sports story of the century! Don’t miss out.

dawgforlife

March 28th, 2011
10:35 am

So, let Me get this straight. AB is trying to convince us good faith went on and the owners are losing money. Question, if owning an NFL team is such a poor business move, where are all the owners who are trying to sell their teams to minimize the losses? And, why are people lined up trying to get expansion teams and/or buy any team that comes available? The Falcons are worth at least twice what he paid for them. I think it is hilarious they think we are this stupid. Jerry Jones builds a billion dollar stadium because the teams are such money losing propositions. And, don’t even get me started on the players. Will someone please tell me why on earth the players need any of the television revenue when the lowest paid of them make more than 10 times what the average wage earner in this country makes? Move into a nice house (note: it does not need a full movie theatre or bowling alley inside) get a nice new reasonable car (note: I own a Kia Rio very dependable and great gas milage) save your money. and live off your interest in retirement. sounds like a plan to me…how can someone make 10 times what everyone else makes and not have two nickles to rub together?…both sides literally amaze me.

Tom

March 28th, 2011
10:42 am

“Fairness” is in the eyes of the beholder …

Najeh Davenpoop

March 28th, 2011
10:47 am

The players would have been glad to play under the previous deal. which brought record profits to the league and made everyone happy (except the fans who have to pay increasingly higher prices). The owners chose to opt out when they could have stuck wih the previous deal and continued to be filthy rich. Arthur Blank is full of sh-t.

ezra

March 28th, 2011
11:01 am

Now explain to me why does a person making millions need a union? For health benefits? For retirement? I say break the union and draft all new players without unions.

ezra

March 28th, 2011
11:03 am

Do any of you really watch football because of certain players or because you want the team to win?

Sandra

March 28th, 2011
11:07 am

Did not realize that there was a lockout. Tells you how much I miss football. But then again, football is not in season…therefore….not a concern for me. NOW baseball is starting……………GO CARDINALS!

Ken Stallings

March 28th, 2011
11:25 am

I am frankly tired of reading the bleached and starched statements from CEO’s who hire firms to paint their public relations. It smacks of insincerity!

The owners forced this conflict because they wanted the players to surrender 20-25% of their current salary base, and refused to provide any tangible proof that such a move was necessary. The owners claim that local governments are no longer willing to starch the taxpayers to build stadiums. This is true! However, the owners already have the revenues to build their own stadiums. The players knew this. The owners know this. This is why the owners refused to provide the NFLPA a full and honest access to the leagues financial records.

The owners then wanted to further increase their profits by adding two regular season games to the schedule because fans did not fill seats for the pre-season games. This action alone would have destroyed career aspirations for players just from the injury toll alone! Add in the possible playoff games (up to four) and suddenly some football players would be expected to play 22 games in a single five month season! Despite what the owners think, most NFL fans truly do not desire to see the players living life in wheelchairs from their 30’s onward!

For the owners to think the players would agree to either condition for future employment was a foolish expectation, and one they knew the players would not accept. Therefore, the owners planned on the lockout from day one of this strategic move discussed and readied two years ago! They reckoned that what they could not achieve through force of logic, they would try to achieve through outright threat of employment loss. This is precisely why the owners negotiated their last television contract fees as they did, specifying they would keep 100% of the money should a lockout happen. The owners expected to pocket the TV money to withstand the loss of attendance revenues even if the entire season was cancelled!

The point I want Authur Blank (and the other NFL owners) to realize is that we fans are not nearly as stupid as they think we are! With the state of electronic media today we are very informed and aware. All the polished letters to fans in the world cannot and will not obscure the truth.

The truth is that billionare owners wanted more money, a lot more money, and wanted to take it from the players, who are the only ones who risk life and limb playing this game. Whether neglecting retired players, who become wards of the state due to medical costs destroying what meager savings they accumulated during the poorly compensated days of the 1960’s and 1970’s, or the current effort to add two games and take a quarter of the players’ earning, the NFL owners have done the impossible.

Through their actions, they have managed to make fans universally sympathetic to players who make millions of dollars to play a sport. They have managed to accomplish this in perhaps the most anti-union climate in national history! Congratulations! That is a truly significant accomplishment though not the one the owners wanted.

But pure greed has a consistent ability to create genuine animosity. Frankly put, the owners created this mess, and we fans hold only them accountable for it!

J

March 28th, 2011
11:31 am

Aurthur I just have one question. Why do I still need to pay for my season tix if there is not gonna be a season. I lose my seats if I don’t pay now but no guarantee there will even be games. Are you so greedy you need my $ early so it can sit in a bank account and collect interest. If someone is making intrest off my money it should be me.

There are some Mad season tickets holders out there. You have already had my money for an NFC championship game that did not take place in the dome. Is that not enough?

Al Bundy

March 28th, 2011
11:45 am

The owners and players do not care about the fans; they care about putting as many dollars in their pockets as possible. The sad thing is we, as fans, are like sheep. And they know, as soon as this thing is settled, we’ll come right back. Just another example of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.

The Original WDE

March 28th, 2011
11:51 am

We’re fans of the players, not the Walt Disney-wannabe that struts the sideline with his pencil-width mustache and $5000 suit.

Doves

March 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

Does anyone care to hear from Blank at this time? Unless its to say we are done, labor strife over his letters are pretty hollow. Sounds something like when your wife leaves you but tells you she appreciates your support through her tough time and hopefully she will get through it with your support? Don’t p on me and tell me its raining.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

March 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

Tom: Great point!

Al Bundy: When’s the next Polk High reunion? You’re a star!!! Still in the shoe business?

Greg Moundine

March 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

Authur, my best advice is for you to stay neutral and do not say anything! You at this moment is one of the best liked owners. Keep it that way!

The Ghost of Norm Van Brocklin

March 28th, 2011
12:12 pm

The score is:

Billionaires 0
Millionaires 0
Fans 0

AGAIN, THIS IS NOT YOUR 9-5 JOB !!!

March 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

Will people please stop saying anything like “If I go to my boss and ask for his financial records……” !!! Please use your brain cells! Do you have a CBA with your boss? Do you have some kind of revenue/profit sharing with your boss? Are you the actual product why customers spend their money? Common people, don’t be so blind! The owners don’t care about you the fan because they were premeditated in this move (they opted out and tried to continue to collect money after the lockout)! Do any of you need me to help you with your money? I’ll take care of you like the best, Madoff !!!

dean

March 28th, 2011
12:28 pm

If they play, I’ll watch. If they don’t, I don’t care. I don’t NEED the game.

Guess what Owners and Players. There are a lot of people just like me.