The NFLPA held their annual press conference on January 30, 2009, in conjunction with the Super Bowl festivities in Tampa. Director of Communications Carl Francis, Interim Executive Director Richard Berthelsen, and NFLPA President Kevin Mawae all took the podium. Berthelsen began the conference speaking about the need to maintain labor peace. Mawae discussed the highly scrutinized search process for a new Executive Director. Even with the criticism of the search process and the pressing need to address the potential of an uncapped season in 2010, Mawae stated that the union would not meet with the complete Board of Player Representatives until March. He also stated that the Executive Committee and Search Committee are communicating with the Board of Player Representatives through the mail.
Berthelsen returned to the podium to reveal that the NFLPA had commissioned the Chicago Partners firm to examine the current economic state of NFL teams. The NFLPA believes the analysis shows that team values continue to rise and that there was no need for owners to opt out of its’ current agreement with the union.
Next the Interim Executive Director addressed the friction with retired players and, specifically, the retired players victory in the class action lawsuit over licensing.
Berthelsen stated from the podium, “We think there were many mistakes made legally in that trial. We don’t think the class should have been certified to begin with and we surely think the jury’s verdict was not supported by any credible evidence in the case and therefore we’re appealing it.”
He had little else to say about the pending litigation but added attorneys Jeff Kessler of Dewey & LeBeouf and Jim Quinn of Weil, Gotshal & Manges were present to field questions about the lawsuit.
Berthelsen continued, “The truth is Gene Upshaw and the NFLPA have done as much, if not more, than any union in this country to address the issues of its’ retirees.”
He said any pension increases would have to come at the bargaining table.
Berthelsen closed the press conference by saying that if NFL owners had complete revenue sharing between teams that each team would be better able to meet their financal obligations. With complete revenue sharing they would not have needed to opt out of the CBA.