Less than a week after contract negotiations between NFL owners and the NFL Players Association broke down, Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to all players and their agents Thursday explaining the league’s final offer and asking them to urge their leadership to return to the negotiating table.
The NFLPA formally decertified as a union Friday, followed by a league-imposed lockout hours later, creating the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987. A group of 10 players subsequently sued, asking a Minneapolis court to halt the lockout.
In his letter, Goodell goes point by point through the offer made to the players last week shortly before mediated talks broke down March 11.
“We want you to understand the offer that we made to the NFLPA,” Goodell wrote. “The proposal was made to avoid a work stoppage. Each passing day puts our game and our shared economics further at risk. We believe the offer presented a strong and fair basis for continuing negotiations, allowing the new league year and free agency to begin, and growing our game in the years to come.”
Goodell reiterated what he said Tuesday on “NFL Total Access,” that the league remains ready to return to the bargaining table and reach an negotiated contract with NFL players.
“Working together, players and clubs have made the game great. Our fans want us to find common ground, settle our differences, and come to a fair agreement,” Goodell wrote. “I have met with many of you since becoming commissioner. You know of my respect and admiration for you as men and as players. We need to come together, and soon.
“In that spirit, we are prepared to negotiate a full agreement that would incorporate these features and other progressive changes that would benefit players, clubs, and fans. Only through collective bargaining will we reach that kind of agreement. Our goal is to make our league even better than it is today, with the benefits shared by all of us.
“I hope you will encourage your Union to return to the bargaining table and conclude a new collective bargaining agreement.”