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Broncos are willing to open their books


During last week’s squabble over financial transparency, a report emerged that some owners were willing to open their books fully and completely to the NFLPA*.

Count the Broncos among the willing.

CEO Joe Ellis said Saturday that the team has no qualms about letting the union see for itself the changes in financial performance since the last CBA was signed in 2006.

“If the league decides they want to open up the books of the Denver Broncos to present them to the union -- I don’t know if the league is into identifying individual clubs because they’re private businesses,” Ellis said, per Mike Klis of the Denver Post. “But with a neutral [auditor] to verify the fact that certain teams haven’t been operating as effectively as they did in the past, we’re a willing and able participant.’”

Ellis also complained about the union’s failure to even eyeball profitability data that the league had offered.

“We offered to show the union league-wide and club profitability data,” Ellis said. “Not only that it can be verified by a mutually agreed upon third-party auditor. This is the type of information we don’t share with each other. In other words, we aren’t allowed to see how other teams are doing specifically in terms of revenues and expenses. Everything is very formalized in terms of information we get from other clubs. Now the union didn’t even want to look at it.”

Ellis also joined the league-wide chorus of voices claiming that the NFLPA* didn’t want to negotiate at the bargaining table, but via the courts.

"[Owner] Pat [Bowlen] certainly believes they had no real good intention of negotiating and their goal all along was to go down the path of litigation,” Ellis said. “It’s extremely disappointing and it frustrates Pat. It makes him angry. He’s fully aware that it makes our friends, our constituents, our season-ticket holders and everybody who supports us angry and disappointing. But we can’t stop operating.” (Other than, you know, locking the players out.)

We still don’t know why any of this would make an owner “angry,” apart from the fact that some really rich people are very accustomed to getting their way, and they get “angry” on those rare occasions when they don’t. Both sides are attempting to use their full legal rights to get the best deal possible. The league thinks a better deal happens via collective bargaining. The players think a better deal happens via litigation. It would be nice if someone on either side of this fight would simply be honest about that reality, and not complain about it.

Either way, Saturday’s comments from guys like Pete Kendall and Joe Ellis suggest that there’s a middle ground that can be staked out for an acceptable financial disclosure that would then allow the talks to continue, regardless of the format in which they occur.

Hopefully, once everyone has thrown their tantrums and cleaned up after their pity parties, they can get back to work.