Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely has been sitting in on the negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association as his team's player representative. In comments on the Michal Kay Show on ESPN, Feely claims that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson talked down to Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Normally that wouldn't warrant a post on Buffalo Rumblings.
In his comments specific to content of negotiations, Feely used the Buffalo Bills as a reason the NFL is being so hard-line on the players.
"All the fans care about is watching football," said Feely. "They don't want to hear us bickering. If I took out a lot of lawyers, I could get a deal done tomorrow. Jerry Jones doesn't want to share with the Buffalo Bills anymore. You have this disconnect between the owners. They want to take back from the players. That's their answer right now. Their answer is, 'We have leverage. We're going to assert that leverage and fix our problem that we can't settle between ourselves.'"
Essentially, Feely is saying that the rich NFL owners don't want to share with the low-revenue clubs like Buffalo. The fact that he used the team name, instead of a more general term, speaks to the way players view the Bills nationally.
Feely seems to be making the argument that if the owners were on the same plane with revenue sharing amongst themselves, they would be more willing to share with the players. That idea isn't based in reality. If they weren't unhappy with revenue sharing, they certainly wouldn't be happier giving a bigger chunk to the players.
Feely went on to describe some very contentious negotiations from the day before the Super Bowl.
"Jerry Richardson, he’s going to criticize Peyton Manning and Drew Brees and their intelligence in our meeting Saturday?" Feely said. "And sit there and say dismissively to Manning, ‘Do I need to help you read a revenue chart, son? Do I need to help break that down for you because I don’t know if you understand how to read that?’ That doesn't help us get a deal done."
"They did walk out," Feely continued. "I think everybody's disappointed that you can't sit down and have a meeting. There's going to be negotiating ploys. What happened is the owners moved a little bit and they said we didn't move enough and they got up and walked out. It's a tough negotiation. When you bring in emotion, it gets in the way of logic."
Feely also said that players are not asking for a 50-50 split in revenue, saying it was lower than that. He also took a swipe at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for refusing to open the leagues financial records to the players.
"He's lying," Feely said. "He's being disingenuous. We don't know how much costs they incur. Because you don't know the costs, you can't determine how much profits they're making. When you have record revenue and record TV ratings and record worth of the franchises and you say the economics have changed and you need to give back 18 percent of your revenue, you say, 'Let me see why that's the case.' The NBA gave the NBA players union all that information. The NFL won't do that."
It looks like we're in for a long ordeal, and not something that will get done prior to the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement less than a month away.