Saturday, July 23, 2011

A thought about the labor discord

I read an article in ESPN earlier today that got me to thinking.  It was about how we as fans are being "held hostage" by football, and how we seem to clamor to sides in this struggle.
The author pointed to the Stockholm Syndrome.  And that seems oddly apt.  To quote from Wikipedia:
In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon whereinhostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors; sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.

Because in a sense, we make judgements and feel sympathy for one side or the other.  We might say "oh those owners have done everything they can, and its their money after all" or "the players are just out to make a living"  .... and both arguments are laughable.  But we use them because we're caught in the middle.  We want someone to end this nonsense.  

In the end, we don't care who "wins" or "loses" in this fight.  We just want our freakin' football, nothing more.  A couple of years from now - when we've moved on and the game is as big as ever - we will have forgotten the millionaires vs billionaires, and simply wonder why it is that we can't afford to take a family of four to a game.


Get 'em before they're gone...

Single-game tickets for the Dolphins go on sale today!  Go out there and spend $50 or more to secure your seat to a game that may not happen (or may not happen "on schedule").  Give the owners some of your hard-earned money to show your support for this labor dispute!

Or - just forget the whole thing and join me in support of not going to games and not buying merchandise. 

And if you can't do that, at least consider buying a ticket from a reseller such as StubHub, where you won't pay the MSRP. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

The lockout rolls on

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Contrary to some reports...the lockout is NOT over

There are several factors preventing the lockout from ending:

(1) the players have to agree to terms of the CBA,
(2) the court must approve the settlement,
and (3) the players have to decide what to do about re-certification.

When all of those happen, then the lockout *likely* will be lifted. Its "likely" because if they remain a trade association, the owners may not agree to open their doors. If they go to a manual vote (which they've talked about), it could take a week or more to get everyone on-board. The owners could open the doors in anticipation of the re-certification.

But no one knows when/if/how it might all come together.

May you live in interesting times

As I understand it, the owners have not voted on the CBA yet today, and may not.

The players have also said they will not vote on it today.

So, there goes the prospect of them opening up camps starting tomorrow, and I would argue that they will lose at least one, and maybe two, preseason weeks, including the Hall of Fame game.

At the forefront today are a few "minor" issues that likely will become major ones.  Isn't that always the way?

And a very specific issue around the NFL PA as a trade association as opposed to a union.  The owners want the players to vote for recertification, thus exempting them from anti-trust cases, class action suits, and the like.  It would also ensure there is uniformity among the rules in place for each NFL team (otherwise a team could penalize a player for something that another team might not; and that would undoubtedly create more work for lawyers).

The players say they might move to recertify, but that they would like to move slowly, meaning weeks, not days - to show the world that the decertification was not a sham as the owners claimed (this is important because in the next round of negotiations in a decade, it *will* come up).  Or they might choose to remain a trade association.  If they do choose to recertify, the owners will not open training camp until that happens.  If they don't....who knows? 

So the optimism we felt a day or so ago may be replaced by some more waiting.  And remember that the judge still needs to close the legal cases, and the mediator needs to approve the agreement.  So we're still days away, methinks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The new CBA

The players were given the details of the new CBA.

There was some contention that this drive to get it done *today* was turning off some of the player reps.

Now I've heard that they have voted (and it was a no) and that they haven't voted.

A source tells me that in fact they voted on taking extra time to review the CBA, rather than being so quick to judge something that will rule their careers for the next decade.

Weird o Rama

I read about the dolphins selling jets gear at the team store. And I had to get me a jt jets jersey. Or not. 

As luck would have it, I had to go to the stadium to get marlins tickets. 

On the way over I was listening to Gino Torettas show and he was railing about it. 

I got there and a lady was changing out some of the merchandise. There was a lot of dolphins gear, some marlins stuff, and an empty rack. But no jets gear. 

So I left and listened to Gino on the way back. He called the store and they said they were selling off whatever they had at 50% off but wouldn't come on air. He sent over an intern and when he got there they had just put out a bunch of stuff from various teams - it was a mishmash and it was all marked down. 

Nobody would answer his his questions other than to say they were trying to get rid of it. 

Gino then called the team stores for the patriots and jets and asked if they had ever or would ever sell any dolphins (or other teams) merchandise. They emphatically said no. 

How weird is that?  I guess they stand for nothing?  Or maybe this was a parcels idea?

A caller suggested that this was the only way the dolphins might make money since the team is do bad. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I do love watching football..

Like many of you, I love football.  I couldn't get enough it, and would have watched it year-round.  And at various times, it was more-or-less possible.  We've had the USFL, the World League, the XFL, and even Arena Football.  I even used to go and watch a local semi-pro team play.  And I've generally enjoyed them as they started and stopped at times that had them play year-round.

But over the years, I developed a sort of distaste for mediocre football.  I want competitive games.  I want games with some purpose.  I want to see the starters playing as much as they can.

These other leagues don't fill that need.  And the preseason is useless.  The last few years, I would watch maybe a quarter of any nationally televised game, and a little more than that of the dolphins.  But I found it to be more of a drudge than fun, and saw my viewing decline somewhat naturally.

More recently, with the absence of these other leagues, and the NFL (and college) having large gaps in time with nothing filling it, I strayed from football.  I always liked hockey, and started watching their playoffs more intently.  I've been watching more soccer - believe it or not it is a *GREAT* sport (never thought I'd say that!)... And growing up I loathed baseball, but over the last few years, I've taken an interest in the MLB, and in particular, the Marlins.  There's a fair amount of "fun" in their games.  The players are somewhat approachable.  And the games are affordable for an outing. 

And this year, given the lockout, these other games have kind of filled the need for "sport."  

I still want good football.  I will watch big college matchups, or NFL games that strike my fancy.  But I am being truthful when I say I won't watch the preseason.  I'd rather catch a baseball or soccer game that might be on.  Really.

That's not to say I won't read about the dolphins game, since the reporters HAVE to be there.  And I will watch the hilights on sportscenter or wherever.  But that's about it.  I just can't bring myself to do it.

But to be fair, the last couple of seasons, my kids have gotten free tickets to a dolphins preseason game for some reason or another, and I've found myself at a game with a couple of dads and a bunch of kids.  If they came home and asked if they could go I would at least consider it - not for the game but for the fun aspect of being out there with my kids and hanging with a couple of friends.

A couple of followup items

The NFL and players want to wrap up all of their legal cases (including anti-trust) by Monday, and submit their proposed CBA to the various judges and mediator on Monday, prior to it being ratified.  And then ratify it on Thursday.  And the union would re-certify itself.

They will give teams an exclusive 72-hour period to re-sign their own free-agents that would run Friday-Sunday.  Training camps would open next Monday...

So why would the players agree?  Because essentially they got everything they wanted: a little under 50% of the gross profits, unfettered free agency, a salary floor (meaning teams have to spend approximately 90% of the cap), as well as greatly reduced mini-camps and workouts, the elimination of "2-a-days" (two practices a day during training camp), and the elimination of contact in almost every practice.

The owners feel the deal is more fair, because they have a harder salary cap (meaning there will be less funny business, keeping the playing field level), coupled with 50% of the gross profits, out of which comes some money for the stadium improvements.  And they got their rookie wage scale, so Cam Newton will not get $60 million in guarantees - he'll get a more modest sum and if he works out, then great, otherwise, the team is not on the hook for ungodly sums of money.

There's no word on the 18-game schedule at this point.

But, there are still a couple of potential snags.  There are a few lesser items that they will meet with the mediator about on Monday.  And the retired players group will not agree to settle any of their suits, and still don't feel they are being recognized or represented.  Carl Eller's group (the one that joined the anti-trust suit) will go ahead with a lawsuit that will be heard a day or two after the first preseason "game."  He's not looking to undo the deal, but wants his fair share - meaning he wants to undo the deal...