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Profile of Roger Goodell

2010 December 27
by Skip Sauer

Jon Saraceno has written a profile of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in USAToday.  The article is both interesting and timely, given Goodell’s role in the upcoming collective bargaining negotiations.  My sense from reading it is that the Player’s Union has a formidable adversary.  Saraceno notes that Goodell studied economics at Washington and Jefferson College, and subsequently went to work in the steel industry.  That bears a canny resemblance to the trailblazer and grand master of collective bargaining negotiation in sports, Marvin Miller.

Vis a vis the CBA, this quote from Goodell near the end of the story seems revealing:  “In any negotiation, you have economics, clearly. You have the rookie pool system, which we think needs to be addressed. We need to shift some of that money to proven veterans and retired players.”  My hunch is that an agreement could be forged around this objective.  After all, rookies won’t be present at the negotiating table.  A more difficult topic will be the NFL’s primary goal in the negotiations, that of “shifting some of” player salaries into owner profits.  Oddly, Saraceno doesn’t raise this issue — the term salary cap is not mentioned once — in what is otherwise a very informative piece.

2 Responses
  1. ExtraMedium permalink
    January 2, 2011

    “My hunch is that an agreement could be forged around this objective. After all, rookies won’t be present at the negotiating table.”

    How is this legal? Isn’t this collusion? How can the rights of rookies be determined without the rookies’ consent? And what about right to work states? What if Andrew Luck tries to negotiate directly with, say, Arizona and they refuse…couldn’t Luck sue the Cards/NFL since AZ is a “right-to-work” state? What are the Cards going to say: “We have no interest in drafting a QB because we’re happy with our QB situation.”

  2. Skip Sauer permalink*
    January 3, 2011

    It is both legal and collusive, and the CBA precludes Mr. Luck from negotiating with anyone other than the team that drafts him. One might view this as unfair to rookies, although for some quirky reason 1st round picks have done abnormally well — anyone know why? Regardless, the CBA is protected by labor law against anti-trust litigation.

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