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Bidwill Addresses Labor Issues

Follow-up Q and A with the team president


Team president Michael Bidwill (center) talks with owner Bill Bidwill (left) and commissioner Roger Goodell before Super Bowl XLIII.

Much has changed in the NFL over the past few days, all coming after team president Michael Bidwill addressed a variety of topics suggested by the fans. With a work stoppage now underway, caught up with Bidwill on Monday to follow up on labor-related subjects in the current climate:

Q:  Last week when you did the video Q&A we didn't know exactly what was ahead on the labor front. How would you assess where things have gone?

Bidwill: "Well, we've said all along that we were going to work as hard as we could to get a deal done that was fair to all parties. By now, everyone is aware that the two sides were not able to reach an agreement last week and that's incredibly disappointing to all of us.  We feel as if the offer presented to the union on Friday was extremely fair and addressed many if not all of the key issues. It included compromises on the union's financial demands, a more equitable rookie compensation model, enhanced health and safety measures, and improved retired player benefits. The union did not feel that this offer was good enough so they walked away from the negotiations and initiated litigation, which was certainly within their rights."

Q: Where does the labor situation go from here?

Bidwill: "We're still committed to reaching an agreement and will continue to rely on the very competent negotiating team that the league has in place. While the events of the last couple days make it a little more challenging, a deal will happen. It's just a matter of when.  Like everyone else, though, we feel as if the best path towards reaching a new agreement is through mediation and negotiation and not through litigation."

Q: How does all of this affect the team?

Bidwill: "We've been intent on keeping things as normal as possible. From a football standpoint, we continue our evaluations and preparations for the NFL Draft which is our primary focus right now. There are certain rules in place as a result of the current labor situation and the process is constantly evolving but we will be ready for whatever scenarios may emerge.  No doubt there is some uncertainty surrounding this offseason, but I am absolutely certain of our team's readiness and commitment to winning in 2011."

Q: What's the number one thing you want fans to know about the current labor situation?

Bidwill: "What I'd say to our fans is that we understand the disappointment and frustration you're experiencing and we share those feelings. This is not the course of action that anyone was hoping for. But again, we will get a deal done and it will be one that is not only fair to all sides but allows the type of sustained growth necessary for the sport we all love to thrive for years to come."

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