The NFL Players has renounced its status as the exclusive bargaining representatives of NFL players, triggering chaos and casting doubt on a new CBA that will be in place before the 2011 season.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith walked out of the Federal Mediation building around 4:40, briefly addressed reporters then headed back to the union's headquarters a few blocks away, leaving owners with one final request for 10 years worth of financial information.
The owners declined, and the NFLPA decertified, kicking off some serious mudslinging from both sides.
Here are some comments from both sides:
* NFL general counsel Jeff Pash: "As you know we've been here for the better part of three weeks, fully engaged and fully committed to this process. I said yesterday that an agreement could be reached if there was a shared commitment on both sides. I was disappointed and all of us were disappointed that at the very time we were face-to-face with the union and its executive committee, they had already made the decision to
decertify their union."
* NFLPA attorney Jim Quinn: "I was just watching a news conference that Mr. Pash was giving. And I hate to say this, but he has not told the truth to our players or our fans. He has, in a word, lied to them about what happened today, and what's happened over the last two weeks and the last two years. It included elements we've rejected at least three or four times, again and again, the same rehashed proposals. They wanted the players to give them a $5 billion gift. $5 billion, without showing us a single document to prove that they are, in any way, in financial distress."
* NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: "As you know, the union walked away from the mediation process today to decertify. We do believe that mediation is the fairest and fastest way to reach an agreement that works for the players and for the clubs. And we believe that ultimately this is going to be negotiated at the negotiating table. They've decided to pursue another strategy and that is their choice. But we will be prepared to negotiate an agreement and get something done that is fair to the players and fair to the clubs."
* Smith: "The players proposed slowing down this cap and taking less money, without a shred of financial information. So for them to say our path was always decertification and that we did not engage in good faith negotiation and that we did not budge flies in the face of reason, flies in the face of facts and is simply untrue."