Goldman Sachs just got a penalty flag in the pro football confrontation between billionaire team owners and millionaire players, the New York Post reported Friday.
Wall Street's most powerful investment bank, which is a behind-the-scenes adviser to wealthy owners of NFL teams, was called out Thursday for its involvement in a labor dispute that threatens to shut down the 2011 football season.
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Goldman's role was outlined by a union leader for the players -- himself a former Goldman executive who worked under CEO Lloyd Blankfein -- who chastised team owners for refusing to open their books during the increasingly contentious negotiations.
"It's hard to find that Goldman Sachs would ask any of its clients to do a deal without full transparency," said George Atallah, an assistant executive director of the players' union and a former senior analyst and trader at Goldman.
"I've worked for Goldman and know what it believes," he said. "So it's doubly disappointing to me that they are so respected but apparently won't advise their clients to observe the most basic tenet of business."
After nearly three dozen negotiating sessions, owners of the 32 NFL teams and officials of the NFL Players Association representing 1,900 players are not close to reaching a new collective bargaining pact to replace the one expiring March 3.
Kevin Mawae, the players' union president, said during a news conference that he doubts the two sides will reach a deal before the Super Bowl on Feb. 6. The lack of a deal would not affect the game but could wreck future seasons.