Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The NFL Lockout Remains & The Owners Gain Ground

It’s May 17th and the NFL lockout remains.  The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the NFL owners yesterday to keep the NFL lockout in place until the entire appeal can be heard by the same three judges on June 3rd.  It seems as though the writing is on the wall for the NFL players, the 8th Circuit Court is a conservative court that will side with the NFL on June 3rd.  What are the options and ramifications of the June 3rd court date?

After the owners win their appeal on June 3rd they will gain the upper hand.  The ball will be placed in the hands of the players to decide if they are willing to negotiate with the owners and get a deal done.  The only other option for the players is to appeal the 8th Circuit’s decision and have their appeal heard in front of all 13 circuit judges.  This could bring these hearings and negotiations into July and the risk of losing part of the NFL 2011 season would be almost certain.  If the players were to win that appeal, there were rumors that the NFL owners would then dismantle the league like the players dismantled the union.  If this were to happen then the entire 2011 NFL season could be lost. 

It’s not in the best interest of the owners or the players to have this drag out into the season.  The players will lose paychecks and the owners will lose NFL fans.  The lockout has already taken its toll on the NFL fan base.  The season that never ends has ended, after the draft the NFL has become an after thought and no one really cares.  All the fan base wants to see is football come September.   The closer we get to July, when NFL training camps usually start the more and more likely it gets that an NFL season would be delayed.

The players have stated that all they want to do is play football, they are for the fans.  If this were the case they would have signed the last minute offer on March 11th and the NFL would be moving forward.  It’s understood that the players don’t want to lose any money, but the bottom line is they’re the employees and the owners are the employers.  If any one in the private sector is asked to take a pay cut because their employer is losing money, they don’t ask the person that writes their paychecks to open their books.  In fact, most companies have cut their workforce, left salaries frozen and asked their remaining employees to work harder for the same, all while raking in record profits behind the cloche of struggling. 

The NFL players make very nice salaries to play a game for a living.  They work very hard to stay in a very tough game, but that’s all the NFL is, a game.  The players can choose to go work in a cubicle and make 40k a year working 50 + hours a week.  They are not forced to work for the NFL so they shouldn’t force the NFL owners to do anything.  In the end the players work 10 years and retire in their mid thirties with millions in the bank.  Sorry, but other then professional sports, there is no other industry where someone can work for a decade and never have to work again. 

I have to place more blame on the players for the NFL mess right now.  The owners aren’t saints in all of this, but they are the employers.  The owners weren’t asking Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady to take a pay cut or give up any money.  They wanted more money in their pockets and that notion shouldn’t have been questioned or forced into court. 

All of this can be resolved if the players swallow their pride, re-unionize and come back to the bargaining table.  In the end the players will cost themselves more and more if this drags on.  They will become divided once paychecks start being lost and the owners will gain even more of an upper hand.  The NFL owners are more prepared for this to drag out then the players are, billionaires can wait out millionaires, but the ones that will ultimately suffer are the guys making that 40k a year that will be missing out on football come September.

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