CBS Refuses to Run NFL Player Union Ad

AFC Championship: New York Jets v Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Wallace - 2011
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Union officials imply that CBS yanked the commercial, which addresses the stalled contract talks between the players union and team owners, in deference to the NFL.

CBS has refused to run a commercial for the NFL's player union about stalled contract talks with team owners.

The 60-second commercial was set to air once Saturday after the 2 p.m. kickoff of the players' All-Star game on CBS' College Sports Network -- the day before the Super Bowl.

CBS is one of four networks that combined to pay the league $4 billion a year for television rights to air the game, and union officials have implied the ad was yanked because of the networks' ties to the NFL.

"We're totally annoyed and irritated that we're not allowed to use the time we've been allotted during the game," George Atallah, assistant executive director of the players' union, told the New York Post of the ad, which he was informed wouldn't run because of "the content."

The collective bargaining agreement between team owners expires March 4. Both sides are trying to avoid a shutdown and loss of games next season.

They're negotiating in the new a contract an updated way to split revenue, a rookie wage scale and a longer, 18-game season plus health benefits for injuries sustained from the extra field contact.

Company insiders told the Post that CBS' executives decided to reject the spot -- estimated to cost about $60,000 -- because it "crossed the line of fairness." A source said the channel was nervous about having to "air the owners' views as well as the players."

The ad shows a dark stadiums, empty locker rooms, somber fans and a message, "Let Them Play."

"It's not like a young boy saying 'let us play' is that controversial," Atallah told the Washington Post. Watch below.

The games' TV rights deal is said to be in the high six figures, according to the NY Post, and was agreed to by the players' union, CBS College Sports and the game's promoter, Overtime Sports Southeast. Two minutes of airtime for players' commercial messages and promotional activities were set aside.

Atallah claims that team owners are using the $4 billion earned from broadcast deals to break the union.

A lockout would endanger the league's business model of distributing revenue evenly among its 32 teams.

A CBS spokesperson declined to comment.