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Matt Light: Players are simply seeking ‘fair split’ of the revenues

03.22.11 at 1:35 pm ET
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Patriots player representative Matt Light said Tuesday morning the players aren’€™t asking for more money than they have in the past, but instead a ‘€œfair split’€ of the roughly $9 billion in revenue that the NFL generates annually. Speaking on WAAF’€™s ‘€œHill-Man Morning Show’€ (click here to listen to the full interview), Light outlined two of the major sticking points that remain between the sides in the work stoppage that has now stretched into a second full week.

‘€œHealth care is a big one. We don’€™t have any guaranteed heath care. Everybody understands what these guys go through ‘€” you see guys struggle when it comes to their health, five, six, 10, 20 years after football,’€ Light said. ‘€œThe way it stands right now, none of us have any health care. The other way that’s set up is that usually, in the old agreement, guys who have health care for five years after they retire, after they were done playing, then you could go out, and hopefully at that point, you’€™d have a job, and they’€™re trying to take that away. Heath care is a big issue.

‘€œAnd then the second point is just really a fair split of the revenue. That’€™s all we’re asking. The reports are that we get 60 percent. That’€™s ludicrous. It’s an accounting nightmare. We get, right now, it’€™s a fair split. It’s 50-50. We get 50 percent of all revenue. They talk about total revenue. Again, nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to get involved with all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, it’€™s a fair split, and that’€™s all we’€™re asking moving forward.

‘€œThere are so many points to go over, but as I’€™ve said in the past, the minute that the NFL is ready to get a deal done, we’€™ll get a deal done. It’€™ll happen probably real quickly as well. It’€™ll be a two-, three-day period where they actually come, they’€™re ready to work on it, they’€™re ready to make a fair split, and we’€™re willing to do that. And we have the people ready to make those decisions today.’€

Light said that after the last week or so, players ‘€œfeel a lot more educated’€ about the situation.

‘€œThere’€™s a lot said in the media, and especially, a couple of Friday’s ago when we finally came out and had to decertify, there’s a lot of guys sitting at home that didn’t fully understand it ‘€” as well as fans. They didn’t understand why we took the steps we had to take,’€ Light said. ‘€œThey had one side saying everybody walked away from the table, but the reality of it was that we had executive committee members that were in those meetings ‘€” the mediation process ‘€” for 15 days, and we didn’t have any of the owners or anyone else who could make decisions on the NFL side there to do anything. We needed to hear, as player reps, directly from those guys who sat in those meetings, that weren’t at home with their wife and kids. They took time out to go there and see this process all the way through, and we needed to hear from those guys, and we did. We heard a lot from [De Maurice Smith], obviously. We heard from our executive committee members. We heard a lot from the legal team that was there. And now we can go and we can impart the rest of the knowledge to our guys in our individual locker rooms and get them caught up to speed. And then let the process take us through the next however many weeks. I think we’re all hopeful we can get back to the table and get something done. But there’s a lot that has to happen before that.’€

He also addressed the report that the NFLPA is encouraging rookies to skip the upcoming draft.

‘€œYou know there’s really ‘€” the draft is not the big issue,’€ he said. ‘€œThe players’€™ association or the trade association now, we’ve always had a presence at the NFL draft. But I do think that these young guys who are coming into the league, they need to know that the owners have opted to go down this route. Is that the guy that you want to go up and shake hands when you get drafted, because he’s not there to shake hands and give you a new deal. But we’re not looking to blow up the process and make this a tit for tat kind of a deal. That’s not the case. We discussed that, and trust me, a lot of guys would like to be there and congratulate the young guys coming into the league and make that a whole process. But we’re not gonna make it ugly in that sense. But I think these young guys are going to get educated as to what’s happening. And you know obviously it’s not a good situation right now. Hopefully, they know that. Hopefully, they see that. I’m sure they do.’€

Read More: De Maurice Smith, lockout, Matt Light,
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