Archive for March, 2011

Introducing: George’s Mailbag

March 30th, 2011

Dear NFL Fans,

In an effort to engage more directly and substantively with you, I am starting a new mailbag feature on I invite you to email me your questions and comments every week and I pledge to answer as many of them as I can with candor and sincerity. The questions and responses will be posted to the website every Monday by 11:00am eastern. If you want to ask me a question privately about the lockout, you are welcome to do that as well, but please specify so in your email.

I do my best to stay active on Twitter (@georgeatallah) and respond to your questions, comments and concerns. More often than not, 140 characters aren’t enough to convey the appropriate information necessary. Many of you are frustrated with the situation. I am frustrated with the situation. Above all, the players are frustrated with the situation because they can’t play. What’s worse, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding critical issues related to the lockout.

There are a number of fans that have already emailed me with questions in the last few weeks and I will get to those as well, especially those that have been pending in my inbox for quite some time. Since mediation began, emails have been piling up and I am –slowly – digging out. This type of direct interaction is important to me and to the players.

With that, you can begin sending me your questions today to the email address I look forward to hearing from you.

Bring it on.


George Atallah
Assistant Executive Director
External Affairs

Lockout Not Impeding Players From Staying in Top Shape

March 30th, 2011

With the chance of the NFL’s lockout lasting for months, players are working hard to stay in football shape for the day when the owners open the doors.

While coaches and team trainers can’t have contact with players during the lockout, groups of players are not using that as a reason to become complacent when it comes to their physical workouts. Rather, they are taking initiative to gather at personalized training sessions hosted by top-notch facilities such as Athletes Performance Institute.

“I think that’s what’s important about now—to stay in the routine mentally,” said Colts wide receiver Austin Collie. “Right now, even though there’s a wall [between teams and players], there’s no reason for us to check out and take it easy. Individually, I think you just have to stay on that same track.”

For more, read this story from Yahoo! Sports.

Net Worth of Owners

March 30th, 2011

In a feature published in the March 14 issue of Sports Illustrated, the magazine takes a look at some important dollar figures that form what it calls “The Gross Football Product.” The information below can be found on “The Scorecard” (page 17 of the magazine.)

The average net worth for the NFL’s 32 private majority owners is $1.4 billion. (The Packers are not included due to public ownership.) According to SI, the rankings below, compiled by leading wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X, list the six richest owners, based on assets from all sources:

Owner, Team                                                              Net Worth

1)      Paul Allen, Seahawks                                      $12.9B

2)      Stephen M. Ross, Dolphins                            $3.3B

3)      Malcolm Glazer, Buccaneers                          $2.4B

4)      Stan Kroenke, Rams                                        $2.2B

5)      Jerry Jones, Cowboys                                      $1.9B

6)      Arthur M. Blank, Falcons                                  $1.45B

Impact in Your Backyard

March 29th, 2011

In a feature published in the March 14 issue of Sports Illustrated, the magazine takes a look at some important dollar figures that form what it calls “The Gross Football Product.” The information below can be found on “The Scorecard” (page 17 of the magazine.)

Players are still looking for justification for this owner-imposed lockout. The NFL won’t open its books. According to SI, these are some key figures and their explanations that point to the impact felt by a lockout, as published by the magazine:

  • $20-21 Million—Local economic activity generated by a single NFL game. Over eight games (excluding preseason and playoffs), that’s $160 million per year per market and $5.1 billion total earned by peripheral businesses.
  • 100,000—Number of stadium workers who are affected negatively by a lockout
  • $6.972 Billion—Money paid by the public toward the $13.146 billion total construction costs of NFL stadiums built since 1990, an average of $250 million per venue.

Class Representatives File Final Brief

March 28th, 2011

The class representatives in the Brady case Monday filed their final brief to the court in preparation for the April 6, 2011 injunction hearing. The brief provides several persuasive arguments in support of an injunction to end the current lockout.

Among other things, it points out that the NFL owners agreed as part of the Reggie White Settlement back in 1993 that the players could end the NFLPA’s status as a union when the CBA expired, and that if the players did so, the owners could not claim that such action was just a “sham” or that the NFLPA still remained as a union after expiration. Despite this agreement, the owners are now saying just that—that the players’ vote to end the bargaining status of the NFLPA was just a “sham”—thereby reneging on their original agreement and arguing that this is a legal defense for their unlawful lockout.

The brief also strongly argues that the February 14, 2011 unfair labor practice charge filed by the owners against the NFLPA has no relevance to whether an injunction should issue. It reminds the court that the same thing had happened back in the early 1990s after the NFLPA had ended its union status in late 1989 and financed the Freeman McNeil case against the owners. The owners claimed then that the NLRB had jurisdiction over the case and not the federal court, but Federal District Court Judge David Doty ruled that the NFLPA had done enough to end its status as a union and the player-plaintiffs in the McNeil case were therefore free to pursue their antitrust rights against the NFL. The result was a resounding victory for the players and an eventual settlement, which gave free agency to the players.

The filing can be found here (PDF). Click here to view the exhibits and declaration (PDF).

Details on 2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut

March 28th, 2011

The 2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut kicks off Thursday, April 28. Activities for the three-day event will not conflict with the evening broadcasts of the NFL Draft on April 28-29.

The 2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut and “One Team” Celebration is designed to welcome incoming rookies and their families to the NFLPA family, and enable relationships to form between current and former players, NFLPA and NFLPI staff and select corporate partners. The entire weekend is a celebration of legacy—of past, present and future pro football players making the journey from prospect to professional. Players will have the opportunity to learn about life in the NFL from their colleagues and prospective teammates, along with valuable insight from the Professional Football Players Mothers and Fathers Associations.

Along with a variety of public events and media engagements, players will have the opportunity to participate in the NFLPA’s community outreach program called “Let Us Play,” which encourages players, parents, teachers and volunteers to help kids lead a more healthy and active lifestyle. The weekend culminates with Saturday evening’s main event in New York City, which brings together current players, former players and Hall of Famers to celebrate the game of pro football and welcome its newest members. Activities will include a variety of entertainment, interviews, performances and a host of player-fan interaction. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

4:00 PM                      Private Reception

Friday, April 29, 2011

9:30 AM                      Public Appearances (Media, etc.)

11:00 AM                    Lunch with Corporate Sponsors

Afternoon                    Public Appearances (Media, etc)

Late Afternoon           Afternoon Social Engagement

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Morning                       Fitness & Skills Clinic (Harlem, N.Y.)

Afternoon                     Player-Fan Connection/Engagement Activity – TBD

7:00 PM +                    2011 NFLPA Rookie Debut & “One Team” Celebration

                                      Players, draftees, sponsors, VIPs and family members invited

Check out more details on the NFLPA’s draft-related events here.

NFL Teams, Owners Ordered To Stop Unlawful Attempts To Reduce Workers Compensation Benefits To Injured NFL Players

March 28th, 2011

In a landmark ruling, Federal Judge Paul Crotty of the Southern District of New York issued an injunction requiring all NFL teams and owners to stop seeking to reduce the worker compensation benefits due to former NFL players as a result of injuries they suffered while playing the game.

While the NFLPA won an earlier ruling on this issue, teams and owners ignored the decision in workers compensation cases around the country. The Federal Court found this to be unlawful and has ordered teams to continue paying these former players the injury benefits to which they are entitled.

Workers compensation is a significant benefit for former players who suffered severe injuries during their playing days. The NFLPA brought this case to protect those men and to force NFL teams and owners to live up to their obligations to the game’s greats.

You can view the court order here.

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