Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, one of the leaders in labor talks between the National Football League and its players, said negotiations are not going well.
“I personally am not as optimistic as some are that we are making much progress,” Richardson said.
Richardson’s words come just one day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent out an e-mail to approximately five million fans expressing optimism that a new CBA deal could be worked out. But a source close to the situation stated Goodell knew what Richardson was going to say and did not discourage it.
Richardson drew a chart to display how money has been divided between teams and players in recent years and said teams are operating with a negative cash flow. He said lawyers for the players’ association have repeatedly asked for “more money and less work’”.
Richardson and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen are the co-chairmen of the league’s labor committee. Richardson is the only owner to have played in the league. He was with the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas in the late 1950s. Richardson and Bowlen were also the point men for the league in the collective bargaining agreement that was reached in 2006. Richardson has been one of the owners most willing to go through with a players’ lockout.
Owners made the decision to opt out of the deal in 2008 and the agreement ends at the end of this season. There is a March 3 deadline for a deal to be reached and owners have said a lockout will follow if there is no agreement.