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NFL Owners Agree On Bid To End Player Lockout

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 21, 2011

NFL owners voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative agreement to end the football lockout, pending player approval.

The vote was 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining from the ratification, which came after a full day of meetings at an Atlanta-area hotel.

The most profitable of American sports leagues is seeking a way to split about $9.3 billion in revenue.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the ball is now in the players’ hands.

“There is a urgency to this. We want to have a full 2011 season, that includes the four preseason games, and we’re up against a wall,” he said. “And I think that’s indicated by the unfortunate cancellation of the Hall of Fame game.”

Team facilities will open Saturday, and the new league year will begin Wednesday, he said — assuming the players approve the agreement, too.

Players didn’t vote on a full pact Wednesday because there were issues that had not been resolved. They plan to have a conference call later Thursday.

In order for any deal to get done, the players will have to vote to reconstitute their union, which its former head DeMaurice Smith said wasn’t a certainty

“The decision for our players as men to come back as a union is going to be an equally serious and very sober one that they have to make.”

The owners locked out players on March 12. During that time, teams were not allowed to communicate with current NFL players; players — including those drafted in April — could not be signed; and teams did not pay for players’ health insurance.

The four-month lockout is the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987.

NPR’s Mike Pesca contributed to this report, which contains material from The Associated Press was used in this report. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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