Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Scott Fujita rips Jerry Jones' labor views
By Calvin Watkins
The players and the owners have until March 3 to get a new collective bargaining agreement done to avoid a lockout.
But it's clear the sides are far apart.
During a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita called Cowboys owner Jerry Jones "irresponsible" for some comments he made about the labor situation.
Jones told CBS' famed 60 Minutes program a lockout wouldn't be devastating.
"No I do not," Jones said in the interview that aired last month. "But I do know the sentiment is not to have a lockout."
Fujita, who played for the Cowboys in 2005, feels the owners are not on the same page and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is under tremendous pressure to get a deal done.
"The perfect example is Jerry Jones and he said a lockout would not be devastating for players, fans communities, our support staff [and] everyone involved," Fujita said. "For him to say something like that to me is one of the more irresponsible things I've heard through this whole process. Unfortunately that's just where it's at."
Fujita, who is a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, is hopeful a deal can get done by March 3, but no progress has been made in the talks.
"All I can tell you is the clock has ticked," said George Atallah, NFLPA, assistant executive director of external affairs. "[There are] 50 days left. I wish I had better news for everybody but that's what I got."
In case of a lockout players have to pay for their own health insurance and team officials, including coaches trainers and doctors, can have no contact with them after March 3. Fujita said several of his teammates' wives were pregnant and there was debate about getting labor induced before the March 3 deadline so the delivery could be covered under the league medical insurance policies.
The owners, meanwhile, will still get paid during a lockout from television revenues but stadium revenue and other forms of income is cutoff with no games being played.
Jones, during the same piece on CBS, said the current economic model between the players and owners doesn't work anymore.
"I think it's complicated," Fujita said. "Sometimes you get the sense that the owners really are not all that unified in this whole thing. I think on one hand the commissioner has got some heat on him to get a deal done and I think he's going to feel that heat more and more from the fans especially. But I think a lot of people are fine letting this thing run down at least until the 11th hour and again try to squeeze the players into accepting a deal that's not fair to us."