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Goodell Chats with Panthers Season Ticket Holders

Panthers commish Roger Goodell spoke with Panther season ticket holders on a number of topics in a conference call, including if Carolina would have the first-pick in the 2012 draft if there’s no season in 2011.

On possibility of next year’s No. 1 pick going to Panthers if there is no 2011 season and why Panthers are not scheduled for primetime games:

“We haven’t given any consideration to a season-long work stoppage. That’s obviously not our objective and we’re going to hopefully get this resolved and not miss any part of the 2011 season. That’s our objective and that’s what we’re working towards. Although I will note that some of the litigation that has been brought by the attorneys for the union is challenging the legality and the competiveness of the draft. So, those are things that we think are important to our game going forward and we’re going to continue to fight for them. On your second point on the national games, essentially what this is, is the games that we think will be most-appealing to a national audience.

On if there will be a rookie compensation system put in place:

“It’s been a major focus. It is something we have not been able to get resolved in our bargaining and negotiations with the players. We do think the system is out of whack. We think that the money should be going to proven veterans who’ve proven on the NFL field and not just on the college field. As much as we put into evaluation of players, there’s always some question about whether they make the adjustment into the NFL game, and you want to make sure that money is going to proven veterans. So, it’s an area we haven’t gotten an agreement on, but I know it is something the clubs are intent to get fixed.”

On why it took so long for the owners to make a proposal to the players:

“It didn’t. The owners made the initial proposal back to the players in November 2009. And there were several discussions, several meetings, several negotiations where different proposals were shared. What happened at the end of mediation was an attempt to make sure that all of the things that we had discussed, all of the things that we had proposed were clear and that we wanted to make sure that they understood exactly what was on the table. And that was the attempt on March 11, and that was what was sent to the players and generally the public is all aware of it because the owners believe it was a fair proposal that represented lots and lots of negotiations and we thought solutions to a lot of the issues that had been raised in those negotiations.”

On the need for unions in football:

“The issue is what’s happening by decertifying and saying they’re not a union and abandoning their collective bargaining rights, that itself is one issue. But what they’re doing is they’re combining that with suing the NFL under antitrust laws and saying a lot of the rules that are in place are violations of antitrust, and that is problematic. They’re challenging as I mentioned earlier the draft itself as being anti-competitive and illegal. Restrictions on free agency. There are a number of issues which we think are fundamental to continuing to produce the kind of highly competitive, high-quality football that I think is what fans have come to expect from the NFL. We’re going to continue to obviously defend that because we think the game of football is terrific, people love it and we should continue on with some of those basic system issues that have made our game so successful.”

On how a small window for free agency might affect each team:

“That’s one of the problems with the uncertainty and one of the reasons why we felt this should have been resolved back in early March at the negotiating table. We should not have left mediation. We should not have left negotiations. We should have continued to bargain because that’s the fastest and best way to get to a solution. And once we get to that solution, then you can have a free agency period which would be good for the players and good for the clubs, and obviously good for the fans. So, I think that uncertainty is something why we need to have urgency to the discussions and get this resolved so we can get into that free agency period, the teams can continue to make their plans for the 2011 season, and of course the players and fans want to get to that point.”

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