|NFL Lockout, Day 5: Giants say season-ticket holders won’t pay until CBA is resolved||03.16.11 at 9:15 pm ET|
A roundup of lockout news at the end of Day 5 of the NFL work stoppage:
•While many owners have done plenty to alienate fans since the lockout began, Giants president and CEO John Mara scored a clear victory in the court of public opinion with his statement Wednesday that the Giants won’t require their season-ticket holders to pay anything until there is a resolution to the current labor dispute between the owners and the players.
In an interview with WFAN radio in New York, Mara said season-ticket invoices will be mailed out next week with a letter from ownership saying season-ticket holder will be given the choice of paying by May 1 (the usual day full payment is due) or exercising the option to wait until a new CBA is agreed upon between the owners and players.
According to a Wednesday evening Tweet from Jim Trotter of SI.com, the Giants are the only team to require full or partial payment for season tickets during the lockout. Locally, the Patriots are requiring season-ticket holders pay by the end of the month — however, tickets will be refunded with one percent interest if individual games or the 2011 season is canceled.
•Former Patriots fullback Heath Evans made an appearance on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show Wednesday morning to talk about the NFL lockout.
Evans, who now plays for the Saints, said he’s in good shape financially as a 10-year veteran, and he’s tried to prepare the younger players for what he hopes will be a short work stoppage. “I do feel really bad for some of the young guys,” he said. “Are we going to miss a season? No. I’ve told guys all along: ‘You know what? Plan on missing one or two games, so plan on missing a couple of paychecks.’ But I’ve told the fans everywhere I’ve been for the last couple of weeks since this thing has started to build seriously: ‘Listen, relax, we’ll get this done in a timely fashion and you’ll have your football on Sundays and Mondays and Thursdays.’”
Evans said the players are more sympathetic to the fans than the owners. “The players do know that we can hurt or damage this game,” he said. “We do know that we will lose a strong fan base. The owners do not grasp that principle. The arrogance, the egotistical nature of these men that we’re battling is such that they think this game is indestructible. And I completely disagree.”
The players got some bad press when reports came out that the union asked top college prospects to boycott the April draft. Evans defended the move. “Yes, we love our fans and we owe them tremendous respect, but ultimately we’ve got to try to swing as much power in our direction as possible,” he said.
Evans said until owners open their books, players aren’t likely to accept any reduction in salaries. “Never once have we asked for more money. Never once have we said we won’t take a pay cut,” he insisted. “We’re just asking: Please tell us why. When our game is at an all-time height despite the economy, why now?
“The funny thing is, [commissioner] Roger Goodell comes back into every NFL locker room last year during training camp, and we asked him, ‘Why not show us the books?’ In his intelligent wording, he basically said, the players and their representation is not smart enough to understand or grasp the minutiae that is the NFL financial books.
“Well, listen, when you look at a guy like a Drew Brees, you look at a guy like a Tom Brady, you look at guys like this, you don’t say things like that. You don’t look at me like that. … Don’t sit there and say, hey, our management team isn’t smart enough to handle this, this is why you’re not showing us your books. That’s a bunch of nonsense. They picked a fight that isn’t going away.”
(To listen to Evans’ entire interview, click here.)
•The Patriots have not announced pay cuts or furloughs for any office workers, but two of their AFC East rivals will be cutting back during the work stoppage. The Jets said last month that they’d begin furloughing employees, while the football operations staff would look to cut its budget by 25 percent. And on Wednesday, the Bills said employees will take pay cuts during the lockout.
Bills COO Russ Brandon said there wouldn’t be layoffs, but indicated that the organization planned for the possibility that a work stoppage would take place, and some higher-paid employees would be giving up a larger portion of their salaries.
“We have built a program that focuses on shared sacrifice,” Brandon said in an e-mailed statement acquired by Bloomberg. “Every employee in the organization will be affected. As you move up the organization chart the sacrifice increases in absolute and percentage terms, as it should.”
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