Giants owner warns of chaos

FILE - This March 11, 2011, file photo shows New York Giants owner John Mara speaking with reporters in Washington. Mara has written an essay warning that the players' strategy in the labor impasse, if successful, would lead to chaos in the NFL.

By BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer May 19, 5:02 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP)—New York Giants co-owner John Mara is warning that the players’ strategy in the labor impasse, if successful, would lead to NFL chaos.

Mara wrote an essay that was posted Thursday on and in which he pointed to no salary caps or minimums and perhaps no draft.

“The likely changes would be great for NFLPA lawyers, but not for players, teams, or, most importantly, fans,” Mara wrote. “For example, there could be no league-wide minimum player salaries, with many players making less than they do today, or no minimum team player costs, with many clubs cutting payrolls the way some teams do in other sports. Other bedrock components of the NFL’s competitiveness, such as the draft, would be called into question and assailed as antitrust violations.

“A steroid testing program is a must, so we would have to consider an independent administrator such as WADA. There could be varying player benefit plans from team to team, and limits on the ability to enforce other league-wide rules that benefit players, especially rank-and-file players that do not go to the Pro Bowl.”

A member of the NFL’s executive committee and one of the league’s more influential owners, Mara has been deeply involved in negotiations and mediation sessions.

While most of his comments echoed those made by Commissioner Roger Goodell throughout the lockout that began on March 12 after the players dissolved their union, Mara also listed specific consequences should the players win in court.

Ten players, including star quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, filed an antitrust suit against the NFL hours before the lockout began.

“Even a settlement of the Brady lawsuit, in which the plaintiffs agree to certain rules, could be challenged by other players—now or in the future,”Mara wrote. “The league and individual clubs would likely be hit with a barrage of lawsuits. We could end up with an unregulated system in which a disproportionate amount of money goes to ‘stars’ and where teams in small markets struggle for survival. The very concept of a league with 32 competitive teams would be rendered virtually inoperable.”

The league, of course, is not operating normally right now, with teams barred from communicating with players, even this year’s draft picks. Minicamps and offseason workouts are being missed. Training camps are scheduled to begin at the end of July and, with no court decisions on the lockout expected until mid-June, those openings are in jeopardy.

Mara encouraged both sides “to compromise and reach a fair agreement—one that highly compensates players, protects their health and safety, and ensures the on-field competitiveness of 32 teams, helps retired players, and improves the fan experience and fan values.”

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah read the essay.

“The players are hopeful that the other owners read Mr. Mara’s piece,”Atallah said. “We agree that a long-term and fair solution is in everyone’s best interests.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan in Gladstone, N.J., contributed to this story.


About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on May 24, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Giants owner warns of chaos.

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