Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:31

Pash, Goodell Comment On NFL Lockout Owners Meeting

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Jeff Pash, the NFL's chief negotiator, said on Tuesday the league remains committed to spending whatever time it takes to speed up the a resolution to the lockout.

The NFL owners are meeting in Chicago and are eager to accelerate the pace of the negotiations, said Pash. Asked how close an agreement is, Pash wouldn't say the end of the lockout is near.

"We're going to meet with the NFLPA soon.

Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the media on Tuesday following the meeting of NFL owners and club executives at Chicago.

Here are slices from the media conference:

Opening statement: We just finished a several-hour session with our ownership. It was a good session. We went through in great detail with ownership so they're up to speed on the issues and get their input. I must apologize to you in advance that there are several questions I will not be able to answer. As you know, we are under orders from the magistrate with respect to our discussions.

On how optimistic you are at this point in the process:

It's a tremendous positive that the principals are talking. Players and owners are talking to one another and negotiating and that's a positive step. Hopefully we'll all be successful in reaching an agreement that's fair and balanced for everybody.

On there being a consensus on what will happen next:

That might be a little deceiving in terms of a consensus because we don't have an agreement. We have a very strong view of priorities and a very strong view of what we need to accomplish during the negotiations and a determination to get there. The ownership is unified on that basis.

Do you think that meeting for about five hours and then the fact that owners have been warned that they may have to stay over to the next day that that's good sign?

You're reading too much into that. The only subject we raised today were the labor issues. We obviously could have raised other issues, but we thought it best to keep it completely focused on the labor issues.

What is your level of confidence that you will be able to accomplish an agreement?

We've got a lot of work to do and you've got to do it right. The agreement we're focusing on and negotiating has got to address several issues. These issues are complex and it needs to be done in a way that's fair to the players, fair to the clubs, and most importantly allows us to continue to have a full 2011 season. That's what we want, that's what the fans want, they want football and it 's our job to try to make that happen.

Is there a point that you get to over the course of the next two months where this breakdown and you say you know what we can't play full season if we get to this point. Is that sometimes in late July or mid-July if you haven't gotten a deal?

Is there a drop dead date? There isn't but obviously, time is moving quickly and we are fast approaching the training camp period. There is an urgency for everybody to get this done.

On future meetings between the owners and players:

We would hope to increase the frequency of these. We did not address that today, but yes, we would hope to increase the frequency of those meetings.

On potential framework and if the owners have a better understanding of it today:

Ownership has a better understanding of the framework and we have a better understanding of the various issues and priorities within the membership. We are negotiating with the players and the Players Association and that's what we will resume doing.

by Ed Staton

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