Ed Garvey, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said today his union does not want a strike and still believes it can negotiate a concept of getting a gross percentage of league revenues to pay players.
In an interview with reporters from The Washington Post Friday, Jack Donlan, the NFL's negotiator, attacked the union's financial figures on NFL revenues, said he thought the percentage-of-gross concept was nonnegotiable and also said, "I get the impression a strike is an objective by them."
In an interview today, Garvey said, "At some point they are going to have to stop their personal attacks on me and start responding to the substantive issues. When you read their publications and hear what they say, you begin to wonder if they don't believe that all they have to do is attack Garvey.
"Their own response to the concept is a contradiction. We're saying 55 percent. They're already arguing that it's 44 percent. What we should be arguing is the proper percentage.
"They also have not come up with a coherent response to our position yet. They say, 'No, we are not going to be partners.' They are not going to give us the financial information, that our figures are wrong but, 'No, we won't let you see the owners' figures.'
"The union is not talking strike. We say let's get this thing going. Our negotiating committee (members have) all agreed not to take a job in the offseason so we can get this thing resolved. Nobody should be talking strike.
"They also said in 1970 they'd never discuss the powers of the commissioner. In '74 they said they would never agree to impartial arbitration or altering the Rozelle rule. They did. And they will negotiate over part of the gross. It's only a matter of time."
Donlan also said he had sent Garvey a letter inviting the union to allow an accountant to check a league report submitted to Congress and in the Los Angeles antitrust trial involving the Oakland Raiders that shows the NFL paid players 43.9 percent of its gross.
Garvey, who has been in the Detroit area since Tuesday, said he had not seen the letter, though his secretary had read it to him. He also said he couldn't understand why Donlan sent the letter to Washington and did not deliver it himself this week.
"Under his rules," Garvey said, "the accountant isn't even allowed to take notes. We also don't think their figures are very meaningful because they are sent in by the individual clubs (by the Arthur Anderson accounting firm). The club sends in what it wants to send.
"Anyway, we know 95 percent of their figures anyway. All we want to know is the other 5 percent. We don't want to know whether they're paying an owner, for example, Georgia Rosenbloom (Frontiere) of the Rams a million dollars in salary. We just want to see their revenue figures."