AFC West: NFL Lockout

AFC West lockout tour

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
2:10
PM ET
I know you would much rather read about signings and trades. Believe me, I’d much rather write about actual football-related business.

However, all we have is the lockout and we have to pay attention to it. Let’s take a look at lockout-inspired news from each AFC West team, beginning with an interesting offer by the Broncos:

Denver

Broncos’ CEO Joe Ellis said the team doesn’t have a problem showing the players their own books. That has been a sticking point in the labor talks.

“If the league decides they want to open up the books of the Denver Broncos to present them to the union -- I don’t know if the league is into identifying individual clubs because they’re private businesses,” Ellis told the Denver Post. “But with a neutral [auditor] to verify the fact that certain teams haven’t been operating as effectively as they did in the past, we’re a willing and able participant.’”

That’s nice to hear, but unless the league decides to open every team’s books, nothing will happen.

Kansas City

Chiefs’ owner Clerk Hunt is not losing his composure over the lockout. He said it is “part of the process.”

“I really view it right now as just part of the process and hopefully the litigation process will lead both sides back to the bargaining table in the near future,” Hunt told the Kansas City Star. “It’s a bump in the road, but hopefully one we can overcome.”

I commend Hunt for his approach to this situation. It is not panic time. There is still time to get a deal done and save everything that goes along with an NFL season.

Oakland

The Raiders are taking this lockout thing seriously. Soon after the lockout began, they took down player images from their website. I can’t blame the Raiders. They can do whatever they want.

San Diego

Chargers’ center Nick Hardwick, who was the team’s union representative, is taking a similar approach to Hunt. He is not panicking.

“In general, I’m optimistic,” Hardwick told the San Diego Union Tribune. “I’m going to stay that way. I’m going to control what I can control. I hope all my teammates have that same approach.”

Chargers react to lockout

March, 13, 2011
3/13/11
1:15
PM ET
The San Diego Chargers joined the Kansas City Chiefs by reaching out to fans to explain their feelings about the NFL lockout.

Owner Dean Spanos released a statement. He is on the National Football League Management Council Executive Committee, which was a big part of the negotiations with the NFLPA. Here is Spanos’ statement:

"I’m extremely disappointed in the Union’s decision to decertify, which led to the League’s difficult but necessary step to lock out, something we tried hard to avoid. The most efficient way to get a new deal done is through mediation and negotiation; not through litigation. The lawyers are the only winners in litigation. The fans, players and teams all lose. Unfortunately this action by the Union only delays the process.

I’m disappointed for the fans who care about the Chargers and this game we all love. I feel badly for our players. They’re good men that just want to play football and win a championship, but they’re caught in the middle.

I’m most disappointed in the actions of the Union’s leadership that is supposed to be representing all of our players. They clearly were not negotiating in good faith right from the beginning. I believe their intention all along was to decertify and bring us to litigation.

The Chargers will continue to do everything within the League rules to prepare to win a championship. Currently we’re preparing for a very important draft and will be ready to take advantage of all opportunities to improve our team.

We will get through this. There will be a new agreement and we’re looking forward to playing football this season. In the end, the final result will be an agreement that is good for the fans, fair for the players and teams, and will allow this game to grow and prosper in San Diego.”

Chiefs react to lockout

March, 12, 2011
3/12/11
7:00
PM ET
The Kansas City Chiefs have released a statement regarding the NFL’s decision to lock out the players.

The team made it clear it fully supports the league in the lockout and it wants the sides to continue mediation. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt participated in some of the negotiations. All Kansas City employees, including general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley, will be subject to pay cuts if there is an extensive lockout.

Here is the statement:

"The Kansas City Chiefs still believe the fastest way to a fair agreement is through the mediation process. While we are disappointed that the union walked away from the clubs’ offer to split the difference and meet them in the middle, we remain confident that we can and will reach a deal that is good for the game.

After a season that began with Monday Night Magic at the grand opening of the New Arrowhead, and culminated in a division championship, we are more focused than ever on improving every area of our team. We know there will be football in the future -- and we have already started to plan for the 2011 season. Our football staff is continuing its preparation for the NFL Draft and our business operations staff is using fan feedback to make the Arrowhead experience the best in the NFL.

We have great respect for our fans and our season ticket holders, and are committed to communicating openly and directly with them as we work to reach a long-term agreement with the players that is fair to everyone who loves this game."

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