Concerned NFL owners are planning to lock players out when their contract expires on March 4, the NFL Players Association sent letters Monday to politicians in every NFL market to warn what the loss of football could mean to their states and local communities.
NFLPA President Kevin Mawae’s letters state that each NFL city could lose more than $160 million in jobs and revenue if football shuts down.
In Florida, NFLPA President Kevin Mawae’s letters were addressed to Gov. Charlie Crist, Governor-Elect Rick Scott and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and mentioned the loss of jobs for workers at Sun Life Stadium and in the surrounding community.
“During one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, NFL owners are preparing to cancel the 2011 season and, in the process, devastate Miami businesses and stadium workers who count on football Sundays to make ends meet,” Mawae wrote in a statement announcing the Florida letters. “It is our hope that the owners will shelve this plan and negotiate in good faith to ensure that we are playing for the fans in 2011.”
The union says while players are willing to continue working under the conditions of the current agreement, owners are taking measures to lock them out. The league wants to reduce the percentage of revenues players receive by 18 percent. The union, meanwhile, points out the NFL generates billions of dollars in revenue and has watched team values rise more than 500 percent in the past 15 years.
Last week, Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross said he was optimistic a new contract could be forged with players, but said he believed negotiations were moving too slowly.
On Tuesday, the NFL issued a response that includes the following statement:
“Now that the union leaders have concluded their decertification ‘going-out-of-business sale,’ arranged for form letters to be sent to NFL owners by other unions, and issued press releases about their letter-writing campaign to mayors and governors, we are hopeful that they might find more time to talk to us. The union’s request for state and local political leaders to intercede in the negotiations ignores and denigrates the serious and far more substantial problems that those leaders, and that state and local workers across the country face. We can resolve our own issues as we have done many times in the past but the NFLPA has to want to participate in resolving them.
Read the full response here.