Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney is joining Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and New York Giants owner John Mara in the mediated negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA. Hunt and Mara joined the fray yesterday.
It looks like the NFL is going old school here, relying on the decedents of some of it’s most historical ownership families to help bring home a deal.
Unfortunately, the buzz is that the two sides are still pretty far apart. We told you yesterday that the NFLPA hired a firm to review any financial information released to them by the league. We speculated that this was a good sign because the players have been asking to see the books for a long time now. It appeared to represent a concession on the part of the league.
As it turns out, various reports are indicating that while the league is prepared to release some of their financial information, they aren’t planning to release all of it. The players reportedly aren’t thrilled with that option. They don’t want to back down until the owners show them the money.
If the owners aren’t going to give the players all the info then the union has no reason to back down. If the financial information is the deal breaker here then I don’t see what difference having Hunt, Rooney and Mara in the room is going to make. It seems to me if these three want to make a real difference they’ll have to go back to their cohorts and convince them to either submit to financial transparency or to offer a deal to the players that they will accept without needing to see the books.
The players have the leverage and unless the owners sort this out amongst themselves, I don’t think it matters who they send into the room to negotiate.