Saturday, March 19, 2011

This is all so petty and stupid

I've heard both sides of the argument.

I've heard fans and commentators take sides.

And I'm just sick of it.

On the one hand you have BILLIONARE owners who have taken our money in taxes to fund their stadiums. And taken money out of our pockets for tickets, concessions, parking, and merchandise. And they cry poor, oh boo hoo, woah is me. As they stand on their luxury yachts or on their private jets. F--- them all.

On the other hand you have the players. Nearly 100% of whom had NOTHING when they were in college, and suddenly they're millionares. And as a result, they become spoiled. They say ("Its modern day slavery") and do (like being at a nightclub with your posse and there's a shooting) kind of stupid things. Its a difficult fence to straddle with them - I feel for them to a point because they became rich overnight, many without much eductation, and they're just getting paid well because they happen to be good at a sport, and they themselves are just "lucky" to be there. But it is just a sport and seeing them get paid that well is ludicrous. And since they were represented by a union, I say F--- them all too.

We the fans are screwed in all of this. And we have no voice.

How about this compromise? Lower ticket prices. Lower the cost of merchandise. Cut your TV revenue by some percentage. Do away with charging at all to see the preseason games. Set a rookie wage scale with the midpoint in round 5, such that the average of all salaries is the median US income (ie, about $50k). The veteran players can make no more than $5 mil per year, and the total salary cap is $30 mil per team.

Setup a 401k for the players. 50% contribution by the owners, 50% by the players. The team can pay for long-term healthcare through a standard HMO, with the co-pay and dedcutible paid by the players.

And for the owners, their take is the same as the players. Say about $40 mil per team. They have to contribute to the players costs, and pay office and coaching salaries out of that.

Take an amount after that to fund research into injuries, and to look at better means to increase safety.

After that, an amount should be contributed to fund equipment for high schools and smaller colleges.

Any overage that's made in operations is placed into a fund at a banking institution, where the number is made public and accounted for. Owners can BORROW from it to fund constuction. But they have to pay it back WITH INTEREST. There has to be a means for players to borrow small amounts from it as well, but you don't want them walking away from their obligations.

And in this scenario, the players lose and the owners lose. But you and I win. No more stupid money out of our pockets.

This "sport" has ceased being that, and people are quibbling about large sums while you and I make very little, all the while providing for them.

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I still love football. But I'm hating the monster that has become the NFL. I've already started (and invite you to join) my protest:
(1) purchase no merchandise / wear no merchandise
(2) boycott the traditional advertisers (the ones during games on Sundays)
(3) spend no money on tickets now, or at all this season.

I'm thinking about expnading on all of this to span a longer time. I'll let you know.

And something else...a friend of mine had a son playing flag football this winter. On his team was Daunte Culpepper's son. Daunte, it turns out, is a pretty decent guy, very personable, and he seems to have gotten a raw deal from the NFL and the Dolphins. Maybe even I didn't realize it at the time...

So, for now my new team is the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions for whom Daunte is the QB. Rooting for them is kind of the antithesis of the NFL and Dolphins. Its an upstart league with a player who the Dolphins screwed over.
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The best part about living in America is you can boycott or not use a service you don't want to. It sounds like you are done with the NFL. It was nice reading your column. I'm sorry to hear you will not be writing anymore. Good luck in your future endeavors.


Thanks. I'm about *this* close to wrapping it up. But I am curious to see where this all nets out.

So stay tuned.


Dave - another perspective on the lucky players. They are the best in the world at what they do. The best in this country at anything and everything make a good to great living while they are the best. The best CEO's make hundreds of millions of dollars per year, the best plumber makes millions of dollars per year, etc, etc. The best players are the engine that drives a multi-billion dollar industry and people like you think they are lucky. They are not lucky they are good and talented and have worked hard as hell for 15 or more years to get where they are. If most of us worked as hard at our jobs as NFL players worked at theirs, we would make millions too. If we were as good at our jobs, whatever they are, we would make millions too.

Just because their job involves a multi billion dollar game that you probably played as a kid doesn't make them lucky to get paid what they do. Why begrudge it?


I wouldn't begrudge them - and never did before -as long as they are not being greedy with MY money.

They only have success because of you and me. If we didn't buy tickets and merchandise, they wouldn't be in the position to make millions.

Yes they are the best at what they do. And I enjoy watching them play. But when everyone starts acting like they are "entitled" and it becomes a rich man's game, its no longer a sport and really not so fun to watch.

As for them making millions for what they do, what about teachers who are "the best" or other professionals for whom the ceiling is much lower than a million? They're kids playing a game. What about the 100s of kids who come out of college who are just as good as the 53rd man on any roster, but can't/don't make it and have nothing to show for their years in college?

They opened this can of worms, not me....

But as I say, I want to see where this plays out. Maybe there's a reasonable conclusion and everyone will be contrite. Or maybe it all goes crazy and they actually lose part or all of the season.


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.