Earlier today, we talked on air with Baltimore Ravens player representative Domonique Foxworth about the state of the NFL labor negotiations. Here's a transcript and video of the conversation.
Darren: The NFL players asked for audited financials from the owners requesting another, roughly, $700 million annually for expense credits deducted before a split with the players. The league has offered more than ever before. Why is what the league agreed to give the union unacceptable?
Foxworth: Well, I mean, it's laughable. The numbers offered us can be extrapolated from the numbers that are printed in Forbes. It's nothing substantial. And the idea that they can ask for a billion dollars from us without giving us the opportunity to really crawl through their numbers is somewhat disrespectful. Essentially what they're doing is asking us to a buy a car and only allowing us to look at the car through the showroom window and not kick the tires and drive it around. It is really aggravating for us and we asked for the numbers two years ago at this point and it took them all the way until a couple days ago to only offer us two numbers. Two numbers.
Darren: And so, what do you expect then if you were given the full financials of all 32 teams? Are there allegations of fuzzy math? In other words, are the owners making it look worse than it really is?
Foxworth: I mean, we're not alleging anything. We just want the opportunity to look through the numbers and I'm sure all the people are watching understand that you don't make a $1 billion concession without an opportunity to crawl through all the numbers. And that's all we want to do is to look at what is happening and make an educated decision for all the players and the families and the wives and the children of those players we represent.
Darren: Critics would say why do the players deserve to be partners like this? Isn't there an argument to be made that you're just employees?
Foxworth: Well, I mean, you can make any argument you want, but we have always collectively bargaining. They have an essential monopoly going and the only defense for the players and consumers, quite frankly, is the union that the players are running. We're the ones who have brought free agency about by fighting through court unfortunately and we're the ones who brought these extra healthcare measures because we care about our players and this financial situation is no different.
Darren: You were in the room this morning briefly, you've been in the room for most of these negotiations, what is the tone today, fans want to know, what are the chances of a deal getting done by tomorrow or another extension, what are the chances of you heading to court to decertify and file an antitrust lawsuit?
Foxworth: Well, we'll see. Like you said, I was only in the room for a little bit today. Things haven't been great as you've heard. They've offered us two numbers. They want us to evaluate a $1 billion decision based on two numbers, so it's really hard to say with any certainty that anything positive is going to happen in the next couple days. When I leave here, I'm going back and we're going to continue to work until the late hours of the night until tomorrow evening.
Darren: As I understand it, we are now at $700 million, and $1.7 billion collectively for the expense credit. Are we getting down closer, can that number move significantly?
Foxworth: Anything can happen. Like I said before, we're going to go back and keep working on it. One of the key things that I want to get across is that they're asking us to make a very major deal and concede a significant amount of money based on not allowing us to look through all the numbers and make sure what they're showing us is accurate. I keep on saying it over and over again but it's important because they're portraying it like they are giving an open look into all their books, but they're offering us two numbers. And we're supposed to concede $700 million, as you said, based on two numbers that they've given us and they haven't even given us the opportunity to verify those numbers.
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