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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



March 12, 2011 at 11:32 AM

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Chester Pitts: 'We're not trying to kill the golden goose'

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Offensive lineman Chester Pitts is the Seahawks player representative for the NFL Players Association. You can follow Pitts' Twitter feed here.

He attended some of the mediated negotiating sessions, and on Friday night, he appeared on Sirius Radio (Sirius NFL Radio, Ch. 124) with a show that included Bryan McGovern, Jim Miller and Gil Brandt, a former league personnel executive with the Cowboys.

The interview started out with a reference to the fact that Pitts is scheduled to become a free agent, so the current work stoppage could be costing him.

Pitts: "Well, you know what. This is how I look at it. I've had the opportunity to be a part of this league for nine years. The opportunity that I have would never have transpired if there weren't men before me that worked hard, sacrificed, had to go through strife. All those things that took place, without them, I don't have this opportunity. So you know what, maybe fighting the good fight today does hurt my pockets a little bit, but through it all, I've been smart with my money. I'm prepared for the lockout. Whatever happens, kind of happens, but I have no problem with giving a little or falling on the sword so to speak for the greater good of the players today and the players behind me because the players before me did it for me."

Q: Well, Chester, give us your thoughts because you seem pretty solidified in that the NFLPA is unified right now with the decision to decertify. When you look at this offer from the NFL owners today, this looks like a pretty good deal. Lifetime benefits, all the things that the players wanted. Two more years and then decide on an 18-game schedule. You look at $82 million for the retired players that was thrown out there. But ultimately, you're union decides to decertify.

Pitts: "There's no question about it. At the end of the day, the owners have expected us to make a concession. Whether it was $1 or whether it was $1 billion, you don't make a concession without justification. That's the way business is done. You'd be a fool to ever go out and just because someone says, 'Trust me, this is a good deal,' to take that deal. Ask Warren Buffet how many times he was like, 'No, no, no, go ahead, just write the check. I trust the guy. I don't need to see the books.' So that's kind of first and foremost.

"How could it ever make sense for us to do a deal today where we would be making less money than we made two years ago when everything that we know and everything that we've seen trends upward, not downward. Again, if there was any form of real, legitimate justification as to why we should, of course we would. We're not trying to kill the league. We're not trying to kill the golden goose. All we want is what is fair, and it makes no sense to go backwards without any justification."

Q: Chester, some of what you're talking about there, the owners unwillingness to open the books. We talk about financial disclosure and what exactly the union is dealing with when you start dividing up the revenues. How big a part is that when we talk about financial disclosure.

Pitts: Well, financial disclosure is everything when you want to go backward. There has been a lot of sitting on the high horse, making the statement, 'The books never needed to be opened any time before. We've always done these deals and never had to open the books.' But by the same token, we've never gone backwards as a PA. The PA has never gone backward. We've always trended upwards because the league has grown and the league has made more money, and the revenues have gone up. Everything has gone up. Everything. So again, what kind of sense would it make to go backwards with no justification.

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