McKenzie, the Giants assistant player representative, said the players didn’t vote on decertification, but discussed it.
“It’s one of the many options or one of the tools that we could use to go ahead and to force the issue, but of course that’s something that we would not like to go ahead and enter into,” McKenzie said. “We would like to go ahead and for all intents and purposes have a CBA on the table by hopefully November.”
Players from Indianapolis, Dallas, New Orleans and Philadelphia all have voted unanimously to decertify the union, union spokesman Carl Francis said last week.
The step is necessary if owners lock out the players next season. Antitrust laws exempt NFL owners from being sued by unions that are negotiating CBAs, so decertification would in essence eliminate the union and allow players to sue the NFL in the event of a lockout — giving them potential leverage in their dispute with the owners.
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes said he signed a card to decertify the union.
“I am assuming the rest of the guys did,” said Tynes, who added that the vote really would not mean anything until some time next spring.
Quarterback Eli Manning also indicated a vote was taken and he felt everyone voted for it.
McKenzie insisted the meeting was just to get the players on the same page.
“That’s one of the great things that DeMaurice has done is to go ahead and make sure that everyone has all the information they need to make an informed decision,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie refused to say when the Giants would vote on decertification.
“We’ll have to go ahead and wait and see what develops,” he said.
Giants player representative Shaun O’Hara and Smith weren’t in the locker-room during the media access.
The NFLPA was decertified in 1989, two years after a failed players’ strike. It returned as a union in 1993, when a contract was reached with the NFL that provided for free agency. That landmark CBA was renewed or restructured several times since 1993, including in 2006. The owners opted out of that deal two years ago.
The players currently get 59.6 per cent of designated NFL revenues, a number agreed to in the 2006 CBA. The owners say that is too much, arguing that they have huge debts for building stadiums and starting up the NFL Network and other ventures, making it impossible to be profitable.
The NFL generates nearly US$8 billion in revenues annually, with about $1 billion going to operating expenses. The owners get about 40 per cent of the rest, but they want about $1.3 billion more before the players get their cut, and they’d like two more regular-season games to get more money out of the networks for everyone.
Players have said they won’t take anything that amounts to a pay cut. Smith has been warning players since he took office in early 2009 to put aside money in case of a work stoppage.