Labor Pains

March 28, 2011 § Leave a comment


As much as I want to just say “I don’t give a damn who’s to blame, I just want football next season,” that is kind of a stupid thing to say.  this whole scenario started five years ago. Then commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, did not want to end his tenure in 2006 with labor disputes. So at the last-minute he pushed through a deal, now at the expiration, that was extremely favorable to the NFLPA. As for 2011 the owners are creating the situation and have been taking steps for year to gain as much leverage in the process.

Owners poised for lockout

1 TV contracts – they got them in all guaranteed money. The owners get that revenue if there is a season or not. That is the primary source of revenue. More than tickets, concessions, and stadium advertising combined.

2 They hired the guy who was in charge of the NHL lockout a few years back, Bob Batterman.

3 They terminated the most recent CBA, which they did have the option in the last CBA after five years, but it was drafted for 7 years.

All of the actions of the owners lend to looking very childish. Instead of the realistic moving forward, their actions look to be the juvenile, self-centered type. Like they do not want a fair deal now, but to also recoup any losses due to the last CBA. That would just be the type of inexcusable behavior one would expect from the billionaires by winning the sperm lottery. They have no recourse against Paul Tagiliabue or most of the players that benefitted for the last 5 years (remember the average NFL career is less than 4 years) so they are seeking to punish this crop of players for what the last batch got away with.

Basically, if you were forced to overpay for something. Then a few years later for a replacement of that item you demand a reduction in the price, because you overpaid for the previous one. You are just stupid. Hence, the owners are stupid for the punitive nature of the negotiation process.

It is also understood that both sides of this are grossly overpaid for offering no real intrinsic value. However, market value for the most popular sport, by a huge margin, in the richest country in the world, and protected by anti-trust exemptions equals a ton of money for everyone involved. That is not enough to say “everyone’s overpaid, who cares who loses a little bit of money, just get a deal done.” As much as it should be the case, the words ‘should be’ have nothing to do business. Market value is all that matters and the word ‘deserve’ used when referring to pay scale is only used by whiners and other malcontents. I will probably never be a millionaire either, I at least have the decency to accept the realities of the world and not be callow enough as to be embittered by them.

On another point, for the players in regard to their overpayments for services, they have a built-in downside to their high pay. People, in general, treat professional athletes like pieces of meat, more so than any other profession. What other industry can you get hurt on the job, lose your job, and with no severance from that. If you blew out your ACL, and could not rehab back to 100%, would your entire city call you a worthless, overpaid piece of &%*$?

The NFLPA has been ultimately offering very middle of the road compromise-type suggestions that are getting shot down. The owners have used the past few years to stack the deck in this negotiation process, and will probably drag this out until the 11th hour to see how desperate the NFLPA can get. Really the owners have all of the cards. They are the ones locking out the players, they are the ones that have the financial ability to wait out an indefinite impasse (handing a contract of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to someone in their early twenties does not generally lead to sound fiscal decisions), they are the ones making all of the changes to the status quo.

For the future and other random thoughts…

If there is no new CBA by the regular beginning of training camp, I will probably never attend another game in my life. No ticket sales, concessions, jerseys or other money from me. That is all I have as retaliation, and I am okay with it.

Every entity that operates with anti-trust exemptions should be forced by the bylaws to make all finances available to the public. It should be a matter of public record and enforced with extreme fines. Complete transparency, fine to the point of operating at 10% loss, or complete dissolving of that entity all of the contractual obligations that exempted body is a party to, and stripped of legal rights and protections under said exemption.

Why not a 17 game season with 2 bye weeks? Most of the money comes from TV contracts, and that offers the same 19 weeks of televised games. While there is the increased danger involved in adding games to the schedule, it is exactly half the current proposal. Plus the additional bye week will give more healing time with players less likely to risk prolonged injury by coming back to the lineup too soon.

The NFLPA should try for compromises that increase the size of the shared revenue portion because that would divide the owners into small market versus large market teams. By presenting proposals that would increase the portion of the revenues that are shared among all teams it would create more benefit for the Green Bay’s and Buffalo’s to get a compromise deal done, it would also force a little bit further prying open of the financial books. Then, as one of the fringe benefits, it would drive Jerry Jones further to the brink of insanity.

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