UPDATE: “The NFL and the NFL Players Association have mutually agreed to a seven-day extension of the collective bargaining agreement, and the sides will resume labor negotiations Monday under the continued supervision of federal mediator George Cohen.” Read more
When it comes labor lockouts and sports, having to pick between millionaires (players) and billionaires (owners), I normally fall into the category of supporting neither. I just want to see the sport played as regularly scheduled and how the players and owners divvy up what we the fans spend collectively on their product is not a concern to us. No matter which side you think is right, or neither, lockouts also affect the fans and the communities they live in. All the jobs created for residents at their teams stadium and the taxes collected by the cities that teams call home would be gone with a lockout. And all for what? So billionaires can have more money in the bank at the expense of the players and fans? One of the biggest complaints from NFL owners concerning the collective bargaining agreement is they need more money, an extra $1 billion of the top, to build new stadiums. This translates to the owners making more money for themselves with bigger stadiums with more luxury seats, concessions and teams selling personal seat licenses. Nothing will guarantee your team will turn into a winner with a new stadium while at the same time the owners also use taxpayer money to build the new stadiums.
The looming lockout is a fight the NFL owners picked at their own accord and stenches with greed. The players were happy with the 60/40 revenue sharing (players get 40%) with the current CBA that was split after NFL owners took $1 billion of the top. Now the owners want another billion. This alone is greed by the owners. If this was just about the owners wanting more money before the revenue spilt I would have been in the ‘I support neither side’ group. I think the owners and players could work out what that the extra number would be if that was the only issue facing them. However the owners not only want the extra money off the top but they also want a rookie wage scale (which I support) and to extend the regular season from 16 games to 18 while cutting out two preseason games, among other issues. What I don’t get is how NFL owners have the nerve to ask the players to play more games in a brutal sport while reducing their overall revenue share earning less. What do you think the owners reaction would be if the players came to them and said we want to get paid more while playing less games? The owners would laugh and wave the players away with such a ridiculous offer.
On the other side, the players are happy with how things work now. Some get paid ridiculous amounts to play football, some are overpaid busts and some are overpaid a@#holes but a majority earn the pay they receive. Hell even the overpaid ones deserve what they earn because the only protection they have is a helmet with a chinstrap and pads in a brutal sport we all pay to watch. Yes, players know what they are signing up for when they play professional football but you can’t marginalize the players by asking them to get paid less while increasing their chances for serious injuries. NFL owners don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to players health when they retire. Only recently, because of pressure, did the NFL start paying more for retired players benefits. Whether you are an NFL legend or the average player you will suffer from injuries long after you have retired from the NFL all without knowing how much of your health benefits will be covered by billionaire owners who made hundreds of millions off of you. Simply put NFL players deserve what they get paid.
My guess for how long the NFL lockout will last is June/July. I have nothing to back that time frame up other than it is my educated guess. However with how greedy the owners have been and the NFL players union unwilling to expose players to a get paid less, play more system it will take the treat of the owners losing out on billions of dollars and the players closer to losing out on next season and their game checks for the 2011 season to be played. Which side will give in first is anyone’s guess but NFL owners and players should take notice: We, the NFL fans and our support for the league should not be taken for granted if there is no 2011 season played.