Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The Bears aren’t volunteering to provide financial transparency to the NFL Players Association. But team president Ted Phillips said the Bears have nothing to hide if the NFL believes opening the books is necessary to gain a collective-bargaining agreement.
“If the league feels, to get a deal done, they need to release [financials], we’re on board,” Phillips said. “I’m actually proud of how we operate our club. We think we do a good job, revenue-wise and expense- wise.”
The NFLPA has insisted on 10 years of detailed financial information for all 32 teams because owners have asked for players to give back $1 billion.
The books of the Green Bay Packers, the league’s only publicly owned team, are available, but the NFLPA has made clear that’s not enough.
Given the success of the NFL, teams are reluctant to reveal their spending, opening themselves up to criticism from players, fans or even government agencies.
Some have suggested family-owned teams, with members on the payroll, could have something to hide. But Phillips said the Bears don’t have any issues. Six of the nine members of the board of directors are McCaskeys.
“Whatever the league feels is right is good [with us],” Phillips said.
Players have repeatedly said owners gave them no alternative but to decertify, while owners have repeatedly said the players walked away from the negotiating table.
At the owners meetings Tuesday in New Orleans, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league is prepared to defend itself in court but preferred a different approach.
“It’s clearly going to be solved in litigation,” Goodell said. “The faster we can get back to negotiation, the faster we can get an agreement.”