The last time the NFL had a lockout was in 1987 when a 24-day players strike led to a 15 game season, one less then normal. Now 23 years later the NFL is trying to avoid the same fate. A lockout next season seems imminent but earlier this week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a show of good faith when he announced he will take a drastic pay cut if there is a work stoppage.
Just how drastic a pay cut will he take?
Goodell makes about $10 million a year including bonuses but if there is a work stoppage due to the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement in March, he will make just $1 next season. Chief negotiator Jeff Pash, who makes nearly $5 million a year will to the same, taking a page out of Steve Job’s book.
The commissioner also asked the league’s compensation committee to delay any bonus payment to him after a deal is reached with the NFL Players Association. This news came as a surprise to many but Goodell is trying to ensure fans that there will be a full season next year.
“Let me emphasize that we are fully committed to doing everything possible to reach a new collective bargaining agreement without any disruption to our business,” Goodell said.
A NFL lockout has the potential to devastate the league and it’s fan base. The NHL has finally recovered from their 2004 cancellation, while it took MLB several years and an exciting home run chase to help lure back their bitter fans after the 1994 lock out.
Union chief DeMaurice Smith has predicted the owners will lock out the players after the March 4 expiration of the contract with the league. When he heard about Goodell’s pledge, Smith tweeted, “NFL executives reducing salaries in the event of a lockout? If we have a deal by Super Bowl, I’ll go down to 68 cents.”
The players union and owners have been working hard to reach an agreement and no one is quite sure where it stands at this point. Some NFL players say there will not be a stoppage, while the owners are not so sure. We will just have to wait and see.