NFLPA Decertifies; Labor War Is On

The NFL Players Association filed for decertification Friday, which means the labor battle between the union and the league is headed for a courtroom.

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, said ``significant differences’’ remain between the two sides, despite a new proposal earlier Friday by the owners. Smith said the union was willing to hold off on decertification and agree to yet another extension if the owners would provide them with 10 years worth of team-by-team financial information. The league declined.

About 5:15, federal mediator George Cohen came out of the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and issued this statement;

``A wide variety of issues, both economic and work-related, were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner, consistent of what one would expect to take place in a constructive collective bargaining setting. Those differences were explored at length. A consensus emerged on a number of them, and on others, differences were narrowed and focused.

``Regrettably however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve at this time, strongly held competing views that separate them on core issues. In these circumstances, after carefully reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered judgment of yours truly that no constructive purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue mediation at this time. For our part, the agency stays ready, willing and able to help the parties continue to facilitate any future discussions should they request that of us.’’