Goodell thinks labor dispute will be settled

Published 11:13 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — Commissioner Roger Goodell told Cincinnati Bengals season tickets holders on Wednesday that “not enough negotiation is going on.”

Goodell is convinced the owners and players can settle their differences if they can get out of the courtroom.

The NFL’s labor dispute was the most popular topic Wednesday during a conference call that lasted more than a half-hour. Goodell has done similar question-and-answer sessions with ticket holders of other teams.

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The league has locked out the players as part of their dispute over a collective bargaining agreement. A federal appeals court has scheduled a June 3 hearing on whether the lockout should be allowed to continue.

“It’s more litigation right now and I think that’s unfortunate,” Goodell said. “I think we need to get back to negotiations because that’s how this will get settled.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson in Minnesota issued an injunction lifting the lockout on April 25. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then put a temporary hold on the order, meaning that players can’t work out or sign contracts with any team. The players are asking the appeals court to uphold Nelson’s decision ending the lockout.

Goodell didn’t provide any new details about the labor dispute. He told Alberta Davis, the first caller, that he was positive the season would be played once litigation ended.

“Once we get back to negotiations, we can settle our differences,” Goodell said.

“There is an opportunity for us here to continue to grow this game and address the issues. But the sooner we get back to the negotiation table, the more we can address those issues in a timely fashion and get to what everyone wants, which is football.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also participated in the conference call after Goodell was finished. Lewis declined to tell season ticket holders whether the Bengals are willing to trade quarterback Carson Palmer, who wants to leave one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises.

Palmer asked the team to trade him after a 4-12 season. The Bengals have only two winning records in the last 20 years.

Lewis accepted a contract extension this offseason even though owner Mike Brown said there would be no significant change in how the franchise is run.

Palmer then told the team he’ll retire if he’s not traded. The Bengals took quarterback Andy Dalton from TCU in the second round of the draft last month, preparing to play without Palmer.

“I’ve talked with Carson a number of times and he just feels like his time here is over,” Lewis said. “He chose the best thing for him is to go retire and be with his family. That’s a decision any player can make. The good thing for us is that this decision was made early on, so we’ve been able to plan accordingly and go forward accordingly.”