Monday, March 21, 2011

A followup comment

One of my readers (ranadicus) posted a comment that was very well articulated, and I wanted to share it and respond as a full post:

Anybody who talks about millionaires Vs billionaires is missing the reason for the work stoppage.

My biggest question, and one that has yet to be answered, is what exactly do the players want? In '87 they wanted free agency, a fair opportunity to recieve honest value for their services. In 2011 do they just want more money? Do they think they're going to get a court ordered raise?

Remember it was the players who, by their own admission, walked away from negotiations not the owners. Owners who as business men negotiate deals all day every day. As business men that's all they do, that's their life. Why would they suddenly stop now? To go to litigation in the liberal court system that's given players everything they have ever asked for? That's what the owners wanted? That's their master plan?

Look, there are two ways to make a name for yourself, by building something up and by tearing something down. The labor stoppage is because DeMaurice Smith is the latter. Just ask Takeo Spikes who has already said the plan is to return in August. We haven't had a hearing yet and they already have their return planned?

This is about D-Smith milking the labor shortage for all it's worth before the players abandon him when they start to miss their game checks. Don't be surprised to see the players suddenly come back to the table in August for no apparant reason, regardless of the court rulings, and sign a similiar CBA to what they already had. Also, don't be surprised to see D-Smith running for an office somewhere (likely the U.S. House) in 2012.

It is true that D-Smith has intentions to run for office. He said as much before he became the NFLPA grand poohbah. He saw this as a stepping stone, and certainly he has made his mark; whether that's good or bad is debatable.

I'd also like to remind everyone that the players as a group aren't necessarily the most well-informed about what's going on. They play the game and get paid, but they might not know (or care) about the bigger picture. The NFL was saying the players got 70% of the pay in the last CBA. The players wanted to make it more fair, but an independent audit showed that they actually get less than 53%. The owners - being businessmen - took some chargeouts out of the mix to get to 70% and the players were "surprised" to see the actual number. I'm not convinced that they know what they want at this point, other than to make the same amount and be taken care of after their playing days. Their leadership is leading them down a path, be it good or bad.

The business owners want to keep their status as the people who bring us football and make lots of money and get tax breaks and what not; and they keep their books closed.

Clearly, there's a lot of political grandstanding happening. The courts have already been asked to step in, and its only a matter of time before congress inserts themselves into it. You have people on both sides of the union argument (its good! its bad!) stating their opinion because the NFL has (or had?) a union and its a hotly debated topic overall these days.

I've heard several players say that they're glad for the break. No "voluntary" workouts this year. I have no doubt that there will be no more than one game missed. But in the meantime, football is not the escape that it should be. Sport is supposed to be fun and take us away from the "real world," and yet this year it is part of the real world. And I find that disturbing.

I miss the triteness of who is the better QB - Fiedler or Huard, and what's the story between Jimmy and Danny and will Ricky be in a tent in Australia?
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I think it's important to note that the players may (or may not have) "walked away from the table" a few weeks ago, but it was the owners who opted out of the CBA in the first place.

The players were happy with the old deal but the owners want them to take a pay cut. The players want to know why they need to take a cut, but the owners won't show them the "unedited" accounting books. All of the other stuff- benefits for vets, extra games, player safety, etc. is just smoke and mirrors - this is about money at the end of the day.

I'm not taking sides here - just wanted to point that out so we all understand what's going on.