|03.11.11 at 5:37 pm ET|
Shortly after the National Football League Players Association announced it has decertified, the NFL issued the following statement:
‘The fastest way to a fair agreement is for both the union and the clubs to continue the mediation process. Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had ‘decertified’ and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.
‘The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
‘The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.
‘The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.
‘At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham ‘decertification’ and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement.
‘The NFL clubs remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached. The NFL calls on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.’
|03.11.11 at 5:19 pm ET|
Apparently unable to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the players and owners walked away from the negotiating table on Friday, and shortly after 5 p.m., the NFLPA announced that it has decertified with the following statement:
‘WASHINGTON, D.C. ‘ The NFL Players Association announced today it has informed the NFL, NFL clubs and other necessary parties that it has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the National Football League.
‘The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of current and former professional football players.’
Decertification now allows the players to file suit against the owners for restricting trade. (Disbanding the union is necessary because a union is not allowed to sue a party with which it is collectively bargaining.) The NFLPA effectively used decertification in 1987 to sue the NFL ‘ that sparked the legal decisions that helped lead to the CBA’s creation in 1993, and later, free agency.
|03.11.11 at 5:06 pm ET|
With the players and owners facing a Friday deadline to come up with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith met with the media in Washington, D.C. on Friday afternoon and issued the following statement:
‘We met with the owners until about 4 o’clock today. We discussed a proposal that they had presented. At this time, significant differences continue to remain. We informed the owners that significant difference remained, that if there was going to be a request for an extension, that was asked for 10 years of audited financial records to accompany any extension. We told them to please let us know by 5 p.m. today. We’re going to head back to the office, and I’m sure we’ll have a further comment later on.’
|03.11.11 at 10:54 am ET|
A relative who wished to remain anonymous has told the Boston Globe that Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was unarmed and acting as a peacemaker during a shooting incident in Apopka, Fla., on Feb. 28.
The relative told the newspaper that Meriweather had no reason to harm anyone and “wasn’t taking sides in the fight” because the two men involved — Quentin Taylor and Cedric Payne Jr. — were both his cousins.
Attorney John Morgan, who is representing Taylor and another victim, set off a frenzy Thursday when he told WEEI that the two men said Meriweather was the one who fired the gun.
In a statement Thursday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Meriweather was present for the shooting, but that it was “not prepared at this time to characterize or disclose Mr. Meriweather’s status in this case, though we do seek to interview him.”
|03.10.11 at 8:18 pm ET|
|03.10.11 at 5:26 pm ET|
The following is the text of a statement from the Orange County Sheriff regarding the potential involvement of Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather in a shooting last month in Apopka, Fla.:
‘The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances of a reported shooting which occurred during the early morning hours on February 28th, 2011, resulting in serious facial/head injuries to Quentin Taylor (24 years old), when he suffered a gunshot to the face and Nico Stanley (23 years old), who was grazed by a fired round.
‘The Sheriff’s Office responded to the reported scene, but no activity, suspects or scene could be established or located with any certainty at the time of the calls. Shortly thereafter, the Apopka Police Department was advised and responded to a call of two shooting victims at Florida Hospital Apopka, launching our criminal investigation.
‘While I cannot divulge all of the investigative details, I can advise that the OCSO detectives responded to the hospital and were unable to obtain any identifying information from the victims; one of which was heavily sedated, due to his injuries.
‘Investigators have been following up on the limited information that has been received since the date of the shooting and were only able to obtain both victims statements, one on Monday and the other yesterday, Wednesday, March 9, 2011 as to the circumstances that led to the shooting and who was present.
‘Based on this information and investigative follow-up obtained yesterday we can state, based on the confidence of those victim statements, that William Brandon Meriweather, among others, has been identified as being present during the shooting, which resulted in injuries to the two victims and occurred in the area of 17th St. and Marvin C. Sanders, during the early morning hours of February 28th, 2011.
‘We are not prepared at this time to characterize or disclose Mr. Meriweather’s status in this case, though we do seek to interview him. This past Wednesday investigators received a call from an attorney identifying himself as representing Mr. Meriweather, who stated he was looking to facilitate an interview with his client. We are receptive to this overture (opportunity) and detectives are seeking to further this interview if it can be arranged.
‘We do want to reach out to anyone who may have witness information in this case to contact our office and offer a statement. I would also caution that investigators are following up on any reports of anyone assisting the shooter in this case or is aware of the location of any evidence or firearm.
I’ do want to add that as late as this afternoon, detectives have been able to locate a crime scene and have requested the assistance of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit to gather any evidence that can be located.
‘This case is ongoing and active as we close this afternoon. Once we have any significant developments, we will advise accordingly.’
|03.10.11 at 3:26 pm ET|
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has released the following statement on the report regarding the report that Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was involved in a shooting late last month in Florida:
‘The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls from the local and national media with varying degrees of information and speculation to determine if NFL player William Brandon Meriweather, of the New England Patriots; committed the shooting, or is a suspect in the case.
‘William Brandon Meriweather, among others, has been identified as being present during a shooting which occurred on February 28th, 2011, which is being investigated by this Office.
‘We will continue to provide information that is available for release when proper to do so, and in a timely manner.’