Take THAT ESPN!
Today, to my surprise, the NFL reached out to SB Nation and let us know that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, would like to put himself on the record for us for 30 minutes and that we did not have to pull any punches. And, believe me, we didn't!
I am still transcribing the interview and hope to have an audio version as well as the full transcript by tomorrow. Until then enjoy these blurbs:
Raymond St. Martin:
First of all thank you gentelmen very much for reaching out to us and validating all of the hard work that we, as Bloggers, have done for the past 8 years.
My question pertains to the current stadium issues facing the 49ers and Oakland Raiders. What insights can you share with us about the willingness, on both sides, to get this done, what it would take and whether or not a fund will be available to help them, much in the way that it has helped the Jets and Giants?
It's fairly recognized that both of those franchise as well as the San Diego Chargers, all three of our teams in California, are faced with stadium challenges that need to be addressed. We obviously recognize that there are challenges in each of those markets from a pure economy standpoint. But, it also goes back to the collective bargaining agreement.
It's not a surprise that there has not been a new stadium built since that agreement was structured in 2006. The stadiums that were completed was started prior to this deal being completed - Dallas, New York and Kansas City and maybe Indianapolis. There have been no projects that have been drawn up, approved and financed under this agreement.
Part of what we need to do in getting this agreement done, is to get an agreement in place that allows us to finance these projects which are more and more challenging in today's environment.
Certainly having two teams in one stadium does help address the economics as proven here in NY with the Jets and the Giants, but it is still filled with many challenges. I think the teams are willing to look at joint solutions, work towards joint solutions, but we have a long ways to go before we are going to settle on any of those.
On specific date on your schedule that the official season becomes delayed:
Lowered salary to $1 from $10 and $5 million annually, but how can you justify your salaries in a good year:
RG: We do not have a firm date. We have been focused on negotiations and trying to get resolution to this. Obviously the uncertainty of not having an agreement – we’re in the midst of constructing our 2011 playing schedule. We have to try to obviously plan for flexibility on that. We are planning on a full season. We are preparing for a full season. And we certainly hope to be playing a full season.
As far as the $1, I’m not sure what the question is, but I can tell you I appreciate you reminding me of the $1 salary. I’m sure Mr. Pash does to. What it represents quite simply is these are unique times, it is a shared sacrifice, that not only the clubs and players are feeling, but we have a group of close to 1,000 employees, and then when you add on the club level 6,000 other employees that are all being impacted by this. We felt that it was important for two of the key people in the negotiations to be responsive and recognize that it is a shared sacrifice.
JP: My most important assignment was to try to get a labor agreement and I haven’t accomplished that yet. So it seems only appropriate to have that kind of a salary reduction.
I hope you enjoyed this brief insight and look forward to tomorrow's post. In fact, I just received another surprise that I will reveal tomorrow.