Saturday, March 12, 2011
Kraft: Union planned to decertify 'all along'
By Tim Graham
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a member of the NFL's labor committee, released a statement Saturday about the work stoppage:
"Going into these union negotiations, I was very optimistic that an agreement could be reached before the end of December if both sides were committed to the negotiations. The same was true as we approached the end of the NFL calendar year. We are fortunate to be operating in an industry that is thriving and I know that there was a deal to be done that was a win-win for both sides.
"I know that commissioner [Roger] Goodell and his staff invested a tremendous amount of time and resources to negotiate an agreement that would benefit both parties and allow the league to continue to build for the future without interruption. I remained in constant contact with Roger and the members of the [labor bargaining committee] this week and fully supported the proposal we made to the players' union on Friday.
"I think the actions of the union to end the mediation process and walk away from Friday's offer clearly showed their true intentions to take this process to litigation all along.
"While disappointed by their action to decertify, I remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that the 2011 season will be played. I know that the owners are committed to this process, but that the quickest way to do so is through continued negotiation, not litigation. For the sake of all involved, the owners, the players and most importantly, the fans, I hope we return to the negotiating table very soon."