CHICAGO (WSCR) — Bears kicker Robbie Gould says the Bears and the rest of the NFL players want to play, and accuses team owners of wanting to lock out the players all along.
Gould had been the Bears’ rep for the NFL Players’ Union, before the union decertified after talks broke off.
He told 670 The Score’s Zach Zaidman and Connor McKnight that without the union, he remains a “player advocate,” and he wants the lockout to end as soon as possible.
LISTEN: The Full Interview with Robbie Gould
“We want to play. The Bears want to play, and all my teammates want to play. We’ve said that from the beginning,” Gould said.
He said the players want team owners to open their books and prove they are losing 18 percent of their revenues, and the players will negotiate and find out a way to make up that 18 percent.
Gould also claimed the owners never wanted to strike a deal with the players, and had sought a lockout all along.
“I just think, you know, obviously, everyone is disappointed in both sides the players are disappointed, because we didn’t feel the owners really wanted to get a deal done,” he said.
He added that the players will not concede to the owners’ demands for increasing the season to 18 games.
Currently, it takes three years for a player to become “vested” with long-term health care, pensions and other benefits. With the current 16-game season, an NFL player’s lifespan is 3.2 years, but with 18 games, that longevity will surely decrease, Gould said.
The owners imposed the lockout on the players Saturday, essentially shutting down operations. That came hours after talks broke off and the union dissolved itself, meaning players no longer are protected under labor law but instead are now allowed to take their chances in federal court under antitrust law.
The lockout, a right management has to shut down a business when a CBA expires, means there can be no communication between the teams and current NFL players; no players – including those drafted in April – can be signed; teams won’t pay for players’ health insurance.
Meanwhile, nine NFL players, including superstar quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, and one college player headed for the pros filed a class-action lawsuit in Minnesota and asked for a preliminary injunction to block a lockout, even before it went into effect.
The NFL has enjoyed labor peace since a 1987 strike by the players, but now next season could be jeopardized, depending on what happens in court.
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