It's been well-documented that the most important aspect of the negotiations that broke down last week between the NFL owners and players was the money. Specifically, how to split over $9 billion in revenue.
Shortly after news of the union's decertification and the NFL lockout came down, Bengals owner Mike Brown took to the media to say "that all the union cared about was the money and these other things certainly didn't matter enough." There were a number of issues on the table -- 18-game season, benefits for retired players and a rookie wage scale among them -- but Brown suggested the NFLPA only cared about the money.
In an interview with SB Nation on Thursday, Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL lead negotiator Jeff Pash discussed the money issue and Pash indicated that Brown's interpretation of the negotiations was correct.
"I don't know if many owners around the league feel [the same way] but I think Mike was reflecting what he heard in the mediation session. Late Friday afternoon in responding to the comprehensive proposal we had made to them, they didn't want to talk about anything other than what the cap numbers were. They didn't want to talk about the healthy and safety improvements. They didn't want to talk about the rookie system. They didn't want to talk about benefits. They didn't want to talk about improved pensions for retired players. They didn't want to talk about the drug program or the steroid program. They didn't want to talk about disciplinary matters. The only thing they wanted to talk about was the cap number."
As they say, there are two sides to every story. DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the now defunct NFLPA, told SB Nation in an interview last year that the players' number one priority is the health and safety of the players. According to the league's interpretation of last Friday's events, that wasn't their number one priority.
It's certainly not the first time -- nor the last time -- we have each side giving a completely different interpretation of the issues.