The NFL players’ union leader has a message for fans: Enjoy the games now, because there may be none next year.
Owners of the country’s most-watched sport probably will lock players out after this season because little progress has been made toward negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement for the league’s 1,700 players, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in a interview.
The sides don’t agree on the percent of league revenue shared between owners and players, rookie salaries, the length of the season, health coverage and drug testing, Smith said. The union says the NFL’s 32 teams generated $8.8 billion in revenue last year; the league has said $8 billion.
“I still feel that a lockout is coming in March,” Smith said.
On Aug. 26 NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a news conference at an owners’ meeting in Atlanta that he believed an agreement was forthcoming. The NFL declined to make Goodell available to be interviewed for this story.
“Both parties want to reach an agreement, and I believe both parties will get to an agreement,” Goodell said. “It’s just a matter of when.”