Tyson Clabo takes us inside the NFL labor negotiations

 Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Atlanta Falcons' Tyson Clabo enters a Manhattan law office, Wednesday, July 13, 2011, in New York. NFL owners and player representatives arrived for another round of labor talks as the negotiations hit a critical phase. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

Falcons offensive tackle Tyson Clabo, the team’s player rep along with linebacker Coy Wire,  spent two days earlier this week in New York in the midst of the NFL labor negotiations.

Both sides are under orders not to discuss details of the talks and could be fined. But, Clabo, in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed his trip to the negotiating table.

“I can tell you that when they come out and say that everybody is working really hard, they really are working really hard,” Clabo said. “When I was sitting at home and would hear that everybody is working really hard, I’d say, ‘they can’t be working really too hard because nothing is getting done.’ That is not true. Everyone up there is working really hard to get a deal done. I can say that I’ve really learned a lot from this whole process after being up there.”

He described the process as being “slow and tedious” and is not sure if things will be wrapped up in time for there to be a ratification vote at a special league meeting Thursday at a hotel near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“I just don’t know,” Clabo said. “If they have something to vote on, I’m sure they will. It’s just a matter of if there is anything to vote on. But I don’t know their plans as far as the voting. There is just no way of knowing how they are going to get it resolved.”

Clabo was more than happy to get an up close look at the negotiations. He’s had his doubts, while sitting at home.

“[NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith] usually does a conference call and usually what he can tell us is pretty vague because of the gag order,” Clabo said. “He gives us a very brief and very limited overview of what’s going on. He basically just tells us that progress is being made and to just kind of hang in there. That’s really all that we can do anyway.  He just really tries to reassure us that the work is getting done, or that there’s an attempt to get the work done.”

And, as the player representative, Clabo duty calls for him to share that message with the rest of the team.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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16 comments Add your comment


July 15th, 2011
8:24 am

Just get it done. Quit taking so long.


July 15th, 2011
9:13 am

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!!!!!


July 15th, 2011
9:28 am

This is getting close! I hope.


July 15th, 2011
10:18 am

Clabo is sure learning a lot, too bad that it’s at the tail end of the process.

I suppose he was ESPN’s “unnamed” source on some of yesterday’s news briefs based on an “inside” source, who’s answer to a specific question (Will the owner’s have something to vote on next week?) was the same as Clabo’s, “I just don’t know.”


July 15th, 2011
11:01 am

Today’s the day…if we don’t hear anything…Season will be messed up and not start on time…though I don’t know if they will stay the weekend to try to get something done and voted on by the players…

Dr. Don

July 15th, 2011
11:23 am

Gee, that was REALLY informative. I really have a grasp of what’s going on behind the scenes now. Are you kidding me?


July 15th, 2011
11:44 am

I tend to agree with DOL earlier in the week. They will start loosing money very soon. That will speed the process up a bit.


July 15th, 2011
1:22 pm

Mave2124: We’re on the cusp of losing *preseason* games right now. The actual games aren’t in jeopardy yet. Losing preseason games would hurt players and owners alike, but would it really harm fans? After all, season-ticket holders should get a refund for the value of those “games”.

Season Ticker Holder

July 15th, 2011
1:48 pm



July 15th, 2011
1:56 pm

It really annoys me that these guys have had months/years to work this thing out but yet here we are. When this is settled I predict the owners and players will not have lost a thing. Too bad that can’t be said for the small towns who lost training camp revenue and the NFL employees who got laid off this summer.

Greg Moundine

July 15th, 2011
3:21 pm

I smell Fantasy Football around the corner!!!!!


July 15th, 2011
3:40 pm

Greedmongers one and all, I’m turning in my NFL Sunday Ticket!!!


July 15th, 2011
6:04 pm

Creaky the owners are the greed mongers. They were making more money than either of us would ever see, but still opted out of the CBA to try to get just a little more of the pie. Would you lay down and take less cash from your employer if profits continued to increase every year you were employed there? Especially if you were the face of the company! Hey it’s on a bigger scale, but the principles are the same.


July 16th, 2011
12:32 am

Keep in mind that the owners didn’t break an agreement. The opt-out clause was part of the CBA all along, so everything was according to Hoyle.

Also keep in mind the stated purpose for the extra money that the owners want to carve out: stadium renovations and new stadium construction. If those stadium deals aren’t at least partly financed out of NFL revenues, the alternative is to pay for the full thing with taxpayer dollars.

It certainly is frustrating that it took the two sides so long to get serious. A big part of that was simple bad luck – the untimely passing of Gene Upshaw left the union without leadership for nearly a year. Even after DeMaurice Smith was named the successor, it was a long time before he officially had authority to lead bargaining efforts on behalf of the players.

Unfortunately for the players, I can’t say I’ve been impressed with ANYTHING I’ve seen from DeMo.

He failed to grasp that right or wrong, the owners were dead serious about the 2006 CBA being an unsatisfactory business model. He also failed to educate the union membership on the full ramifications of an uncapped season until it was too late to avoid the end of the salary cap. Those two items alone show that the players need better union leadership. He simply wasn’t the right man for the job.

He topped that by going into negotiations expecting to come away with an even better deal for the players. He wasted everyone’s time in those short lived post-Superbowl talks by presenting a compromise proposal that was no compromise at all. He misrepresented ownership positions and made outrageous demands simply to continue talks. His press briefing after the union chose to walk away and decertify came across as empty posturing. And his speech at Maryland’s graduation ceremony was utterly laughable.

The players can only be thankful for the court’s gag order so that he can’t embarrass the NFLPA any more than he already has.

Big Dude

July 16th, 2011
8:25 am

“Time is running out”. Something must be done by the end of July or the NFL world will end. We will lose our entitlement of football enjoyment and may have to pay higher ticket prices… I know; tell the rich owners and players that they are going to have to give up more of their income to save the NFL world, maybe even sell some of their expensive vehicles (cars and planes) to subsidize the salaries of the new rookies.


July 18th, 2011
4:34 pm

If lockout ends with a rookie wage scale being introduced, then how good does the Julio Jones Draft Day trade look after saving $20 some odd million bucks???