Veteran quarterback Batch expecting lockout
Charlie Batch stood on almost exactly at the same spot a year ago as he did Friday and warned about the possibility of a lockout and no football in the 2011 season.
"Last year, people laughed at me and said I didn't know what I was talking about," said Batch, the Steelers' representative to the NFL Players Association.
But the NFL owners locking out the players in March is becoming more and more a certainty in the veteran quarterback's eyes as he arrived at St. Vincent College for his 13th training camp.
"We're closer than ever to a lockout, and I don't think that's going to change," Batch said. "There haven't been any positive conversations relating to trying to get something done by the lockout (date of) March 1."
Batch blames the owners.
"It is not the players, and it is not the players versus the owners," Batch said. "It is the owners versus the owners because they don't want to split the money."
The 32 owners voted to open up the CBA in 2008 to try to negotiate a new one before the March 2011 deadline.
The owners want to scale back on the mandated 60 percent of the total gross revenue going to the players, citing increasing costs of business making it difficult for them to allow more than half of the revenue to go back to the players.
Batch wants to see the owners open their books to the NFLPA.
"We can't negotiate against ourselves," Batch said, "but the owners don't have to reveal their books because of the 501c6 status they have. They are a non-profit. If they don't reveal their books, then there won't be a positive result at the end of the day."
Batch said the owners are not motivated to negotiate because they will get revenues, even if there's no football.
DirecTV, which carries all Sunday afternoon NFL games, has to pay the league a billion dollars in rights — which equals $31 million per club — even if a lockout occurs.
"What is the rush for (the owners) to get it done?" Batch said. "They know they have $31 million (coming), and they cut the overhead from the players' salaries."
Batch doesn't see anyway around a lockout.
"Nobody wants to talk about the 2011 lockout because everybody is preparing for the 2010 season," Batch said. "(But) just imagine Sundays without Steelers. That is a real possibility."