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With the final slate of preseason games descending quickly upon us, one stark reality is beginning to sink: the NFL will be playing regular season games with replacement officials.

That's right. This burgeoning $9 billion enterprise is entrusting the integrity of it's on field product to a group of scabs.

Unbelievable. The referee for tonight's Giants-Patriots game is Don King. Who's the back judge - Bob Arum? We joke, but the stakes in the NFL are greater than ever. Tons of variables are riding on each game - including player safety , the league's most coveted directive. Nothing good can come of this. A financial settlement between the league and it's officials is almost mandatory at this point. The money spent will be dwarfed by the money lost should something go awry....

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Officials, NFL Officials Lockout
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New York Giants owner John Mara was appointed chairman of the NFL Management Council, the league?s most powerful committee.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday several changes to the leadership of league committees, with Mara replacing Panthers owner Jerry Richardson as head of the Management Council, which is the main NFL labor committee.

?Our committee structure has been very important and beneficial to the NFL over the years,? Goodell said. ?It has allowed us to address and study complex issues in depth and present our clubs with comprehensive information and thoughtful recommendations.?

Tags: John Mara, New York City, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News
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The NFL Players approved the final draft of the CBA this afternoon, conceding to the notion of HGH testing. The issue had been one of the final points that needed to be "hammered out" as Giants player rep Kareem McKenzie put it.

No formal announcement has been made regarding the testing, but as per the AP:

The NFL will be allowed to check each player annually for HGH -- but only after the union is confident in the way testing and appeals will work...the aim is to have that worked out in time to start HGH testing by Week 1 of the regular season..

Tags: CBA, New York Giants, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News
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Shaun O'Hara was the Giants' player rep for the past few years. Now that he is no longer a Giant, that distinction is being handles by OT Kareem McKenzie, who fielded questions outside at Giants camp today...

Where does the CBA stand right now?

"As far as I know, there are still some issues to be hammered out. I was not on the conference call...you guys will probably know before me."

Tags: CBA, Kareem McKenzie, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News
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Forbes Magazine is reporting the Giants are the hottest ticket in the NFL these days. According to data provided by our partners at Tiq IQ:

According to ticket research company TiqIQ, prices are up 22 percent across the league compared to last year.

The average price on the resale market is $185.21 compared to $152.04 last season. The top 5 by selling price are:

Tags: Giants Training Camp, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFC East, NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Network, NFL Ticket Prices
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We are obviously very pleased to be standing here today. It?s been a long and pretty difficult negotiation. But I think at the end of the day, neither side got everything they wanted. But what we did achieve was a fair deal that will stand the test of time and will be in the best interests of our league, our players, our clubs and our fans. I have a lot of respect for the players that we?ve been negotiating with. They were tough negotiators. They represented their fellow players very well as did De Smith.? I think at the end of the day we have something here that is going to serve the best interests of the National Football League for many years to come.

- Giants CEO John Mara after the owners and players announced they had reached an accord on a new CBA

Tags: John Mara, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News
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Now that the Dark Age is over, we can get down to brass tacks.?The Giants will open their camp on Friday at the Timex Performance Center at the Meadowlands and begin practicing Saturday.

The timeline for the next few days:

July 25: NFL will publish the 2011 Free Agency List, which will become effective July 29, 2011 at 6:00 p.m., New York time.

Tags: Giants Preseason, Giants Training Camp, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants News, New York Giants Preseason, NFC East, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Labor News
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Yes, you read that correctly!

From the AP (via CBS New York):

The NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps have voted unanimously to approve the terms of a deal to the end the lockout.

Tags: New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News
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It's Morning in America

The past 135 days will permanently be erased from my memory should the players agree to the new CBA terms today.?

What a horror this has been. This lockout has drained me -and the rest of the guys here- more than any regular season ever has. ?If I never see Jeff Pash and DeMaurice Smith again it would be too soon.

I feel as if I'm in one of those contrived movie scripts where at the end it all turns out to be a dream - or a nightmare. Well, now its over. Let's put it all behind us and get back to what we do best: talking Giants football.

Tags: John Fennelly, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The NFC East is perhaps the most competitive division in the NFL. Three of its four teams are on Forbes' Top Ten Most Valuable Sports Franchises list. All four play in massive new stadiums and have a collective fan base that can only be quantified in the millions.

The Giants, Eagles and Redskins all played their first games well before World War II and the Cowboys have been labeled "America's Team", winning five Super Bowls.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFC East, NFL, NFL Labor News, NFLPA, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
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Welcome to Day 133 of the NFL Lockout. In the sweltering heat here in NYC, the delay in the settlement between the players and owners is only adding to our misery.

Here is the latest status as per the folks over at Pro Football NYC:

Tags: New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants History, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News, NFC, NFC East, NFL, NFL Labor News
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We know you all have been sitting around saying: "What's the delay?". ?Well, think no longer. The owners outlined their settlement terms today, contingent on the players' vote later tonight.

As per our colleagues as CNN:

The proposed agreement includes a new rookie compensation system, a salary cap of $142.4 million per club in 2011 and additional retirement benefits, according to the NFL.

Tags: 2011 NFL season, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The owners are meeting in Atlanta this afternoon, hopefully to ratify the new proposal.

There will be some pushback from the "poorer" owners, but there are very few of those. They don't have the votes to stop the Jerry Jones express.

The player reps will meet via conference call tonight to discuss their plans. Apparently, they will be voting electronically and if they come to an agreement, the news will break fast.

Tags: New York City, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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According to the Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora will not block a?new deal?between?the NFL and its players?that would end?the lockout.

Despite Umenyiora's position as one of the 10 named plaintiffs in Brady v. NFL, the players' antitrust lawsuit against the league, a source close to the Giants defensive end said he will not block any settlement of the suit, which must be reached before a new NFL collective bargaining agreement is signed. Any of the 10 plaintiffs can block a settlement, and there are reports that some of them are making personal demands before they will agree to a deal.
The?Daily News?reports that Umenyiora will likely receive some financial compensation from the league, but that he will not block a new deal.

"He assumes they'll throw some cash at him or something," a source told the paper. "But do you really think he's not going to sign off on a deal? No."

Tags: New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News, Osi Umenyiora
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Could this be the last Monday of the NFL Lockout??

Already? Wow, that went by fast....

A deal could be done by Thursday and we could possibly have the free agency "supermarket sweep" by next week at this time. We personally cannot wait to see what that looks like.

Tags: New York City, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout, NFLPA
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Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter was just on with WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts (audio not yet available) revealing one of the most interesting stories to come out of the NFL's lockout saga. For those?who missed the interview, Trotter has a story on SI.com?that explains one reason?why the lockout may be days away from ending.

...slightly more than a year ago [NFLPA?Executive Director?DeMaurice Smith]?he received approval from the executive committee to secure insurance that would pay each player roughly $200,000 if there were no football in 2011.

Smith disclosed the fund to only a handful of people outside of the executive committee. However with negotiations seemingly at a standstill late Wednesday night, the decision was made to play one of their aces in the hole. So in the relative quiet of the sides' New York City bargaining room the next morning, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth informed the owners of the previously secret lockout fund.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News
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NFL.com?is reporting?that the economics of a new collective bargaining agreement appear to be done, including an agreement on the rookie wage scale that had dominated the headlines this week.?

The sides arrived for Friday's negotiations at 9 a.m., with an eye on building off momentum gathered during Thursday's marathon session. The date -- July 15 -- is significant because it's an internal deadline to save the preseason in its normal form that has sat for months. With the league's objective of presenting the full ownership group a completed proposal in Atlanta next Thursday, that deadline might be flexible, but the urgency has been turned up.

The plan is for talks to continue to chip away at some of the remaining issues throughout the meeting Friday, then work via conference call over the weekend before owners and players reconvene for their scheduled mediation before U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan in Minnesota on Tuesday, sources with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora.

There's still work to be done, but it's clear that the two sides are making progress.
Tags: New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News
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Yes, you read that title correctly. The NFL Lockout, which is now in its 125th dreadful day, is finally nearing it's end.

An agreement on a rookie wage scale has been cleared and the rest of the negotiations should conclude within the next few days. We're hearing the deal will be ratified by the owners at their meeting next Thursday in Atlanta.

From FOX Sports:

Tags: New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The NFL Network's Albert Breer is reporting that progress was made today - most notably with regard to the rookie wage scale - in the NFL's ongoing labor talks.

But there's plenty of work to be done, and it continued on Thursday morning. According to a source, big progress was made Thursday on the rookie wage scale. It appears that if the parties can work out a few minor issues, it could be solved soon.

Large groups representing each party entered and kicked off talks at 9 a.m. ET, looking to make the breakthroughs that have failed to come over the last week of meetings in Manhattan. That breakthrough may have come if indeed the rookie wage scale issue can be resolved.

Click here?to read more.
Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News
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A tooth extraction. The smell of Flushing Bay. Sitting through "Gangs of New York."

Classify it anyway you want, but the current NFL labor situation is causing many of us pain and discomfort like the aforementioned items.

The players and the media are beginning to lose their proverbial (insert you own word here) the past week. Players are doing and saying things that no one should ever have to hear and the media is churning it out like Nike churns out (insert your own word here).

Tags: John Fennelly, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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Welcome to day 123 of the NFL Lockout. Any news to report you ask? Sure, check our links below. But as WFAN radio host Joe Benigno says: "Wake me up when its over...just get it done!!!"

Rolle Itching to Get Back on Field

Giants' safety Antrel Rolle was brought in as a free agent last year (one of the lucky ones to land a big deal before the labor impasse) and he came through by delivering a Pro Bowl season. He is tired of sitting around waiting for the settlement to be announced. He wants to play.

Tags: 2011 New York Giants, Antrel Rolle, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News
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Yesterday, GFB's Rich Resch posted the latest lockout news,?reporting that a deal could be?in place by July?21. If that were to happen, ESPN?has put together a timeline of events that would likely occur following the end of the lockout.

July 21: Educate teams on new CBA rules and allow voluntary training.

July 25: Begin signing period for undrafted rookies and re-signing of free agents.

Tags: New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News
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The Giants will need to make some tough decisions this summer if they want to get under the salary cap. The cap will be lower than it was last year. Considerably lower.

That means there may not be enough dough to ink some of their internal free agents such as Kevin Boss, Steve Smith or Mathias Kiwanuka.

(..more)

Tags: New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, New York Jets, NFL, NFL Free Agency, NFL Labor News, Salary cap
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As my peer Charles Costello previously stated, the end to the lockout seems to be on the horizon.

According to an article released earlier today by Todd Porter of Cantonrep.com all signs point towards the annual Hall of Fame game being played on August 7th. So far that is the clearest sign that the lockout may be coming to an end.

Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, giants, Giants Football Blog, Giants News, Giants Training Camp, Kel Dansby, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The?NFL lockout continues. Is the end in sight? Football fans better hope so as it appears we've reached the 11th hour.

Talks resumed today?in New York City. July 15th seems to be the drop-dead date. If a deal can be reached before the end of next week, preferably sooner of course,?training camps should open on time and no preseason games will be?missed.

That includes the Hall of Fame Game on August?7th.?Providing a glimmer of hope, the folks in Canton are still planning on the game taking place?as scheduled.?Wishful thinking? Maybe. But there are signs that both sides understand the importance of getting?a deal done real soon.?

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News
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A group of retired NFL players filed a suit?against the league and its players?in a Minneapolis federal court?Monday night,?claiming to have been?excluded from the negotiating sessions that have taken place during the lockout.

The retired players are asking U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to end the mediation she ordered and allow them to return to the bargaining table. The suit claims that current players should not be allowed to bargain on behalf of the retired players. The retired players accuse the owners and players of pushing them aside in an attempt to maximize their profits.

"Through the settlement they are forging, the Brady plaintiffs, the NFLPA and the NFL defendants are conspiring to set retiree benefits and pension levels at artificially low levels," the complaint states.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Retirees
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Many pointed to July 4 as an important date in the NFL's labor talks. Not so much as a drop-dead date, but now that Independence Day will come and go with players still locked out, a lot of progress is going to have to be made in a short period of time if training camps are to begin on schedule.

Despite recent reports that negotiations have regressed, there?appeared to be signs of progress this week.?Four days of negotiations took place in Minneapolis, and commissioner Roger Goodell and the head of the players association DeMaurice Smith joined forces to address rookies in Florida. Still, the NFL's longest work stoppage continues.

"We'll continue to meet next week, and the goal is to get a deal done," Smith said yesterday.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News
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The NFL has company. From NBA.com:

Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players broke off on Thursday afternoon, prompting the league to announce that it will lock out the players when the current agreement expires at midnight. The lockout would effectively shutter the league and could end up jeopardizing parts or all of the 2011-12 season.

The last time the league went through a work stoppage, after the expiration of its deal with the players in July 1998, owners and players trudged through more than six months of fitful bargaining and sometimes contentious rhetoric before coming to an agreement in January 1999. The NBA season was sliced to 50 games that year.

Tags: NBA, NBA Labor News, NFL, NFL Labor News
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Here's the latest NFL news:

- Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith are in Florida this morning to speak to rookies at the NFLPA-run rookie symposium. Later today they'll head back to Minneapolis to continue labor talks. The two flew to Florida?on Tuesday?after the first of four days of talks.

- Terrell Owens is recovering from left knee surgery?to repair a torn?anterior cruciate ligament. The surgery was performed in April and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says Owens will be ready to play when the season starts.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL News
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From our friends at SeatGeek, the leading ticketing site that allows fans to compare ticket prices across all secondary markets and aggregates millions of tickets across 60,000+ events. As a result they are able to gather detailed data on industry trends. They took a look at 2011 ticket sales vs 2010 ticket sales for the NFL and noticed a huge decrease in sales and prices across all teams.

However, this decrease was even more dramatic for the Giants.

Up to June 20th of last year, Giants tickets were selling at an average of $242...this year, they are selling for an average of only $177.

Tags: 2011 New York Giants, Giants Tickets, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News, NFL, NFL Labor News
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Should Osi Umenyiora remain a Giant? That?s a more adequate question than, ?Will Osi Umenyiora be a Giant? ?

Osi is known to have off again on again seasons and though there is no questioning his current skills, he may be more of a luxury than a need at this point.

Tags: Giants Football Blog, Giants News, Justin Tuck, Kel Dansby, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants News, NFL Labor News, Osi Umenyiora
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Former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter is calling for Congress to intervene in the NFL's labor dispute saying that the cancellation of the 2011 season would disappoint fans and "have serious economic consequences." Specter uses numbers produced by?a consulting firm, Edgeworth Economics,?which estimates that $5 billion would be lost in addition to billions in TV revenue and millions in ticket sales if the season were to be cancelled.

"With this much at stake, the country should not sit back and wait for the players and owners to reach an agreement on their own," Specter wrote in an?Op-Ed?in Saturday's New York Times.?"Congress can ? and should ? intervene to force a resolution of the dispute."

Specter?explains how?"Congress has considerable leverage over the N.F.L. because it grants the league an antitrust exemption without which it could not operate as it currently does. The joint agreements among teams on matters like free agency and revenue sharing, as well as the league?s single national TV deal, would otherwise run afoul of federal antitrust laws, which prohibit businesses (in this case, individual teams) from making deals that reduce competition.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News
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The NFL labor negotiations are ongoing. That's all you need to know.

I guess we''ll have to wait outside for the white smoke to appear in order to know if an agreement has been reached.

In a joint statement released by the owners and players yesterday, the two sides have decided to keep any reports of progress on the down low.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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Giants CEO John Mara was once again at the head of the table as the owners and players met in New York for a series of private meetings.

The meeting were reportedly held on Long Island and were devoid of legal teams. This is the way things should be. folks. In this country labor disputes are settled through negotiation, not litigation - via conference room, not court room....

?NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week. Those discussions will continue.?- joint statement from the NFL and NFLPA on this week's meetings
NFL attendees at this week?s meetings: Commissioner Roger Goodell and labor committee members Jerry Richardson (Carolina), Clark Hunt (Kansas City), Robert Kraft (New England), John Mara (New York Giants) and Dean Spanos (San Diego). Representing the players: DeMaurice Smith, Kevin Mawae, Jeff Saturday, Mike Vrabel, Tony Richardson and Domonique Foxworth.

Tags: New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The league and its players wrapped up?two more days?of secret talks today, trying to end the three-month old lockout.

"NFL owners and players have engaged in further confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan this week," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said via Twitter. "Those discussions will continue."
Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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June 3rd came and went and football fans still have little to grasp onto today.

The three-justice panel heard more arguments in St. Louis yesterday, but when the session ended, there was more uncertainty in the air then when it started.

The owners are declaring their lockout is legal, and possess valid justification in locking out the players in any labor dispute. The players are standing their ground stating the union does not exist and therefore cannot engage in any collective bargaining process.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The NFL labor situation could finally reach a clearing this coming Friday.

That is when the courts will hear the latest - and perhaps final - appeal in this expedited process to legalize the owner's decision to lock out the players.

Should the 3-judge panel uphold the temporary stay on the lockout, it would seem the players would have no recourse but to return to bargaining table, this time with severely marginalized leverage.

Tags: New York Giants Blogs, NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The thousands of peripheral businesses and individuals that rely on a normal NFL schedule to make ends meet filed a brief this week outlining the effect the lockout will have on those businesses and?the impact that the preliminary injunction blocking the NFL?s lockout will have on the public interest

from NFL Lockout.com.....

A 44-member group of elected officials and business owners filed an amicus brief in support of the players on Tuesday, stating that a federal court made the correct decision to order an injunction to lift the lockout.

Tags: New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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New York Giants fans may not be in panic mode quite yet about the lockout and the possibility of missing a few games this season, but as the summer months pass I?m sure their anxiety will grow. Can you imagine an August without training camp or preseason games?

No face paint, no Eli Manning jerseys, and dare I say no game day libations!

Tags: 2011 New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, four one ent, giants, Jordan Vanica, Kel Dansby, New York City, New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News, NFC East, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
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The rookie symposium, scheduled?to begin on?June 26 in Canton, Ohio, has been cancelled due to the lockout, the NFL announced yesterday.

According to?league spokesman Greg Aiello, the decision was made because of "the uncertainty of the labor issues we are facing and the logistical challenges of conducting the symposium. The symposium is a large, complex event involving many professionals and others. In fairness, we could not continue to keep their commitment on hold."

The symposium teaches incoming rookies money management and life skills and allows them to meet current and former NFL players.

Tags: NFL, NFL Labor News, NFL Rookie Symposium
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What? More lockout stuff? You got anything else...?

Yesterday we heard from both sides of the aisle about the current labor situation.

NFLPA DeMaurice Smith, apparently looking ahead to a career in politics had this to say in front an audience at his alma mater, the University of Maryland:

Tags: New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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Yesterday, we heard a lot of nonsense from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Today, we get a written State of the Union from the Dean of NFL Owners, the Giants' John Mara.

Mara is a low-key, high-class individual who thinks before speaks. ?I have a boatload of respect for the man. I don't, however, relish the idea of Mara acting as the front man for the owners.

His "essay" today (released on Giants.com) titled "Time to Get Back to Football" is a well-written account of the current condition of our great game, but I believe it will do little to generate any movement towards a settlement.

Tags: 2011 New York Giants, John Mara, New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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In another episode of "say it and it will be so", NLFPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has once again misspoke in the media regarding the lockout.

Smith, in an interview on SiriusXM radio last night, consistently stated that the NFL was suing the players. That folks, is not the case.

Mr. Smith needs to get his facts straight. No wonder this lockout is a mess. One of the major principals is clueless about the facts!!

Tags: New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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With the lockout promising to continue indefinitely, football fans are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of the upcoming season being cancelled or compromised.

I understand their frustration. As a football writer and reporter, the one thing I am not comfortable doing is writing columns about U.S. labor law and practices. It is not my expertise.

In fact, it is none of our expertise. Labor laws are written so amorphously and ambiguously, each side has employed extensive law teams just to capture a gist of what they need to do next.

Tags: New York Giants, New York Giants Blogs, NFL Labor News, NFL Lockout
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The?Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals?granted a favorable ruling to NFL owners on Monday that will keep the lockout in place until a full appeal is heard on June 3. Meanwhile, Giants co-owner John Mara joined four other team owners in Minneapolis yesterday and agreed to?formulate a new proposal to make to the players.

The NFL issued the following statement:

"It is now time to devote all of our energy to reaching a comprehensive agreement that will improve the game for the benefit of current and retired players, teams, and, most importantly, the fans. This litigation has taken the parties away from the negotiating table where these issues should be resolved. We remain confident that the appellate court will determine that this is a labor dispute that should be governed by federal labor law. But the league and players, without further delay, should control their own destiny and decide the future of the NFL together through negotiation."
Tags: John Mara, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Labor News
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Yesterday, GFB posted audio from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as thoughts about Goodell's current?stance on the lockout. It's important to note that the players have a?far different take on all of this,?one they don't appear to be backing down from any time soon.

On Friday, DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Association, went on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. Here's one highlight of what he said:

"The players understand the fight that they?re in. Right now they don?t want to lay down and be forced to take a deal. They don?t believe that it?s fair. I can tell you that they resent being lied to. They resent being tricked. They resent the fact that the league has been found now twice to have violated the law. So those are the people that we?re inextricably tied to."
Click here?to listen to the entire interview.
Tags: DeMaurice Smith, NFL, NFL Labor News, WFAN
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