Wednesday, March 08, 2006

NFL and Players Union Reach Agreement

And Raiders QB Kerry Collins remains with the Silver and Black. We''ll find out who's going where starting Friday. wire reports

GRAPEVINE, Texas (March 8, 2006) -- Labor peace was restored to the NFL when the owners agreed to the players union's proposal, extending the collective bargaining agreement for six years.

There were no further details on the agreement, or whether it includes expanded revenue sharing.

The vote was 30-2, with Buffalo and Cincinnati, two low-revenue teams, voting against the extension.

Free agency, put off twice by the protracted negotiations between the owners and players, now will start at 12:01 a.m. March 10.

"It was a good compromise," said Jim Irsay, owner of low-revenue Indianapolis. "We're happy with it -- 30-2 is a good vote."

The agreement comes after a week of on-again, off-again negotiations, culminating in a two-day owners meeting.

No agreement wouldn't have meant a work stoppage -- at least not for the next two years -- but it would have sent teams scrambling to get under a $94.5 million salary cap. That would have put a number of veterans on the street and it would've also limited the amount of money available for other free agents. And it would've led to an uncapped year in 2007.

Now the cap is expected to go up by as much as $10 million with an extension of the CBA in place.

The real debate was between the owners themselves on the important issue of expanded revenue sharing.

The revenue debate involves low-income teams such as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Indianapolis who say high-revenue teams -- Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia, for instance -- should contribute proportionately to the player pool because they can earn far more in nonfootball income such as advertising and local radio rights.

Those high-revenue teams might contribute only 10 percent of their outside money compared with 50 percent or more for low-revenue teams.

"Some teams are contributing a little more than others," Redskins owner Dan Synder said. "This is really a win-win."

Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has insisted throughout more than a year of negotiations that the division between owners must be resolved before agreement could be reached on a contract extension.

Barry Bonds: SF Chronicle Reporters' Attempt at Dismissing Bonds Comments About Racism are Culturally Insensitive

The news about the new book "Game of Shadows," which reportedly presents evidence of San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds use of steroids includes some comments that should be reviewed and removed. The one I'm focused on now is this excerpt from the book, and which I obtained at

"As he sometimes did when he was in a particularly bleak mood, Bonds was channeling racial attitudes picked up from his father, the former Giants star Bobby Bonds, and his godfather, the great Willie Mays, both African-American ballplayers who had experienced virulent racism while starting their professional careers in the Jim Crow South. Barry Bonds himself had never seen anything remotely like that: He had grown up in an affluent white suburb of San Francisco, and his best boyhood friend, his first wife and his present girlfriend all were white. When Bonds railed about McGwire, he didn't articulate who "they" were, or how the supposed conspiracy to rig the home run record was being carried out. "

This underscores what I think is the real motivating factor behind the production of the book: a dislike for Barry as one who's "arrogantly black." Just because the reporters -- Mark Fairanu-Wada and Lance Williams -- are both not black, is no real excuse for them to write that garbage above.

I, like many African Americans, have grown up in schools that were mostly white, dated European American women, and have friends who are not black. But that does not mean we don't experience racism. Racism is a form of rejection. It doesn't have to be expressed by someone calling a black person a name, but by simply being excluded. It could come in the form of someone walking past you to ask somone white for directions. It could rise when a person moves away from you immediately as you sit down next to them at a public transit stop.

There are countless examples.

That may have been what Barry was trying to explain to his girlfriend, who may have been too culturally immature to understand what he was explaining. Moreover, the Chronicle's reporters didn't bother to report that his girlfriend was white, and they didn't attempt to dig to determine her understanding of what he was saying. This reads like a smear job.

But what hurts so much is to see the reporters obvious insentivity toward the problems faced by African American placed in the black and white of a major book.

For me, it further taints their work.

Houston Texans Sign G Steve Mc Kinney and Plan To Go After Rams Isaac Bruce

This is from the Houston Chronicle's John Mc Clain. It also explains that The Texans will use the same zone blocking system that Denver used.

Here's the article, in case the Chron fails to maintain the link:

Although the start of free agency has been delayed a second time as owners and the NFL Players Association try to extend the collective bargaining agreement, it has not kept the Texans from doing business.

Although the Texans had no problem getting under the $94.5 million salary cap, general manager Charley Casserly will enter free agency with more revenue to spend because of the cap dollars freed up Tuesday by guard Steve McKinney's deal.

McKinney agreed on a four-year extension worth $9 million, including a $2 million bonus. It saves the Texans $2.2 million.

Meanwhile, the Texans are one of many teams interested in former St. Louis receiver Isaac Bruce, who was waived by the Rams when he declined to take a pay cut.

Although the Rams are hoping to re-sign Bruce, 33, he's going to test the market once the NFL allows free agency.

Because Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford will be unrestricted free agents, receiver is one of the Texans' priority positions this offseason. Without an extension of the CBA that would increase the salary cap at least another $10 million, it might be a long shot for the Texans to sign Bruce, who was limited to 36 catches for 525 yards and three touchdowns last season.

If the owners, who are meeting in a Dallas suburb, reject the union's latest proposal today, free agency will begin and teams can start bringing in players on Thursday.

Casserly and coach Gary Kubiak will be looking for help at receiver, tight end, defensive end, offensive line and linebacker.

The Texans tore up the last year of the five-year contract McKinney signed when he left Indianapolis for Houston in 2002 and gave him a new four-year deal. He was scheduled to make a base salary of almost $4 million.

"I was happy to do it, and it worked out to where it was fair to both sides," McKinney said. "I'm glad it's over so I can concentrate on football. I'm excited about our new coaches, and I'm fired up to start playing again and helping this team make the playoffs."

McKinney has two new offensive line coaches in Mike Sherman and John Benton. The Texans will play the same zone blocking scheme that Denver has made successful.

"I can't tell you how much it means to a new staff to have a veteran like Steve," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He was very unselfish last season when he moved from center to guard. We watched film of every play last season, and he just played so darn hard on all of them. Steve means a lot to what we hope to accomplish this season."

NFL Considering Union's Revenue Sharing Proposal In Dallas Now

After what was reported by ESPN's John Clayton to be a stirring speech by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the NFL's 32 owners are discussing the revenue sharing proposal presented by NFL PA Exec Director Gene Upshaw. The deadline for a deal is today.

More later.

The Balboa Theatre in San Francisco Showing All Oscar-Nom Documentary Shorts

The Balboa Theatre ( ) is showing all the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts through Thursday. Our own Dan Krauss and Steve Okazaki will be speaking after select screenings.

Through Thursday, March 9:


The rarely seen short documentary category hits the big screen. All 4 nominated shorts on one program. Filmakers in person. Details below.

The Mushroom Club -Steve Okazaki examines the terrible personal toll that followed the bombing of Hiroshima 60 years ago; 10 people whose lives were marked by the explosion are profiled. 35min.

A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin -Corinne Marrinan and Eric Simonson explore the lasting impact of radio broadcasting legend Norman Corwin's work focusing on his landmark "On a Note of Triumph," which aired on the evening of VE Day. 40min. OSCAR WINNER (2:55), 5:45, 8:35

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club -Dan Krauss- After shooting an award-winning photograph that captured the full horror of starvation in the Sudan, South African photojournalist Kevin Carter found himself tormented by doubts about the ethical implication of his work. 27 min

God Sleeps in Rwanda - Kimberlee Acquaro and Stacy Sherman - The genocide that devastated Rwanda in 1994 also left in its wake a population that was suddenly 70% female. Five courageous women struggle to rebuild their lives in a society still reeling from its bloody recent history. 30min. (1:40), 4:30, 7:20

Intermission between each pairing. -
One admission price for all 4 films.

Dan Krauss, director of THE DEATH OF KEVIN CARTER
will speak Wednesday after the 7:20 showing.

Steve Okazaki, director of THE MUSHROOM CLUB,
will speak Thursday after 8:35 showing.

More information on the nominees:

3630 Balboa Street at 37th Avenue.
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 221-8184

"24" Clobbering "The Apprentice" in The Monday Ratings Race

Monday, I watched the terrific episode of "24" and didn't even realize "The Apprentice" was on the other channel -- and I'm an Apprentice fan! I just realized I missed it today, and decided to check to determine how "The Apprentice" performed in the ratings against "24."

As I suspected, it got clobbered.

I think the problem is that Apprentice fans are used to seeing the show on Thursdays, and it's been this way since it first aired. Changing this pattern was a big mistake for NBC. If a popular show is just that, and it's held a particular day and time slot for several years, then moving it may kill it.

Look, the Winter Olympics weren't big in the ratings, so a lot of Apprentice fans may have missed the memo that the show was coming on Monday and not Thursday.

Move it back. I like "24."

Natalie Portman Rap: It's Hard To Be Natalie

This video of an SNL skit's all over the place and was even removed from YouTube for copywrite violations! Click here to see Natalie Portman bust out a rap to make Ice Cube proud. It's totally funny.