Owners ratify CBA, miffed players refuse to vote

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Owners ratify CBA, miffed players refuse to vote

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - NFL owners voted Thursday night to end the lockout they began on March 11. With the clubs voting 31-0 to settle all litigation and ratify a 10-year collective bargaining agreement (the Oakland Raiders abstained), the mood at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott was jubilant. But the owners may have only succeeding in inciting the locked-out players who feel the owners went too far in ratifying a CBA they hadn't seen in full. It was anticipated that owners would merely vote in favor of settling all pending litigation with the players. Theso-called "global settlement" would bring to an end the Brady vs. The NFL case and settle the "lockout insurance case." Once that was agreed upon, the players were expecting to agree to the settlement and then the ratification of the CBA could begin with the union presumably re-forming. Instead, the owners essentially said, "The bus is leaving. You're on it or you're not."The NFL's timeline calls for players to begin reporting Saturday and the league year to begin next Wednesday. But the players balked at even having a vote Thursday night. On a conference call between NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the player reps, nothing was decided. And agitation over the owner's move was evident.

In an e-mail sent to players from the NFLPA's executive director Smith stated:

"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us. As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions. As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."

The player component is critical. Without the players recertifying their union and agreeing to the proposal, the lockout remains in place.

It is a power play by the owners and it puts the onus squarely on the players now.

"We have gotten a lot done here in the past two days," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We will be prepared to open training facilities this Saturday. We are prepared to start the new league year next Wednesday subject to the full membership of the players ratifying the agreement."

The Hall of Fame Game, scheduled for August 7 has been cancelled.

"It's important that all 32 teams operate with the same time and dates," Goodell said about the cancellation of the game. "The ceremonies will still go on."

"It's time to get back to football," said Goodell. "That is what everyone here wants to do."

Asked what the ramifications would be if the players weren't able to come up with a rapid approval, Goodell answered, "We want to have a full preseason and we're up against the wall asI think you can see by the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game."

Goodell had several conversations with Smith as the day progressed.Goodell said that, after the final call, Smith was "going to take care of his business". As it stands now, there's a lot of business left to take care of.

Some details of the deal, as reported by ESPN:
-Players receive 48-percent of revenue
-120M salary cap, team minimum 89M as long as league spends 99-percent (3.8B)
-Four-year rookie contracts with team option for a 5th year.
-Lower rookie salaries, with cap on team spending for rookies
-Later training camps, no full-contact two-a-days
-OTA's reduced from 14 to nine games
-Veterans earn free agency after 4th season

Things will move fast if the players agree to reform the union and ratify the agreement. After a long, slow summer, that's a good thing.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

Rob Gronkowski appears to thoroughly enjoy himself at Daytona 500

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski attended the Dayton 500 in true Gronkowski form.

He appeared to be there promoting Monster Energy drink, and was therefore hanging with the Monster Girls, who were also promoting the drink. Gronkowski's herniated disc injury, which required surgery in December 2016, does not seem to be slowing him down as he gets warmed up for the Summer of Gronk.

During the race coverage on FOX Sports, Gronk delivered a speed limit joke, which is sure to make the 13-year-old in you chuckle. (You can watch it here.)

[H/T NESN.com]

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

Curran: It's time to let the air out of Deflategate

I think it’s time. Time to let the Deflategate wound scab over. Time to exit the active, raging, teeth-gnashing, petition-signing, lawsuit-filing portion of the program and let the hate follow its natural course into a slow-boil loathing.

If you are of Irish descent, you know how it works. Clear a big-ass space on the grudge shelf. Put Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash, Mike Kensil, Troy Vincent, Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay, every shiv-wielding owner, all the cluck-clucking media and the legion of retired players and exiled GMs from Marshall Faulk to Joey Porter through Marty Hurney and into Bill Polian up there. Turn off light. Leave room.

When you need to piss yourself off -- in traffic, mowing the lawn, waiting for your coffee -- fetch ‘em down, blow the dust off and when you’re in a sufficiently foul mood, return grudge to shelf.

You rode the roller coaster. You’ve been there, done that and have all the T-shirts.

I came to this conclusion a few days ago, when ESPN’s Cari Champion interviewed Rob Gronkowski and asked about Goodell visiting Gillette. It was like playing “Get the Stick!” with a big goofy Lab. Champion threw the leading question, Gronk fetched -- tail-wagging --  and returned with a slobbery response that was completely implausible but still designed to dominate a four-hour news cycle.

"The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what,” said Gronkowski. “They have [Tom Brady’s] back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston."

Gronk’s just doing what he thinks he’s supposed to do. And Champion is, too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Watch these mooks up in New England get all pissed off: “Hey, hey, Chowderhead . . . Roger Goodell . . . . ”

“F*** that guy, he better never show his face in Foxboro! But I want him to come to Foxboro so I can boo the ever-living s*** out of him and maybe barricade Route 1 like Gronk said we would!”

See? Works every time.

The irony is that the person mainly responsible for turning up the burner on this is Robert Kraft.

In May 2015, Kraft said at the owners meetings in San Francisco, “I don’t want to continue the rhetoric that’s gone on for the last four months. I’m going to accept, reluctantly, what he has given to us, and not continue this dialogue and rhetoric, and we won’t appeal.

“Now, I know that a lot of Patriots fans are going to be disappointed in that decision, but I hope they trust my judgment and know that I really feel at this point in time that taking this off the agenda, this is the best thing for the New England Patriots, our fans, and the NFL, and I hope you all can respect that.”

Well, that blew up like an ACME bomb. And -- from that moment on -- Kraft has tried to recoup the fanbase that believed he sold them out by issuing a succession of calls-to-arms that the region has dutifully responded to.

The most recent was throwing down the gauntlet to Goodell by expressly inviting him to the 2017 season opener.  I mean, it would have been a conversation point anyway, but now it’s metastasized into something that will be discussed throughout the offseason, ratcheting up in early September and hitting a crescendo on opening night.

There is appeal to seeing Goodell squirm while knowing the Maras, Rooneys and Irsays will be sipping highballs and lamenting the caddish treatment of Poor Roger. But I still like the football better.

Conversation about the historic import of SB51, the legacy of Brady and Belichick, prospects for the league in 2017? I’ll take those rather than an ESPN “personality” who spent a weekend in Newburyport at a friend’s wedding telling everyone what the mindset of the New England sports fan is.  

But that’s not what we’re going to get. There will instead be ever-escalating predictions of the terrors Goodell will be subjected to fueled by interviews with tatted-up kids from the mean streets of Marshfield who wanted “Hoodie” fired when he let Revis sign with the Jets.

Unless . . . unless the region en masse decides to let its loathing mature. Mature to the point that when the carrot gets dangled in its collective face it doesn’t leap at it with teeth bared but instead says, “No thanks. Already full.”

Yeah. I don’t think it’s gonna happen either.