A New Wrinkle In The CBA

When it comes to the NFL labor dispute, its no secret whose side I’m on.  Under “political views” on my facebook page I pledge my loyalty to whichever party endorses my plan to have the NFL owners publicly flogged.  And I mean that.  If the “Carrot Top For President” party promised me a flogging they’d have my vote.  So while I may not have written about the CBA in a while, you can be sure it is still very much on my mind. 

(cut to a shot of me walking my dog.  I bend down to pick up her poo.  As I look at it, the brown turd fades into an image of Goodell and Clark Hunt shaking hands.  My good-natured smile slowly shifts to a scowl of rage.  Cue Willie Nelson’s “You Were Always On My Mind”)

I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing about collective bargaining, but I’m equally sure it still merits discussion.  This is an extremely important time for the future of the NFL.  Conflict can be the greatest initiator of progress.  It has often proven itself thus over the course of our history as a species.  Progress isn’t a foregone conclusion in this case.  It never is.  But this lockout has afforded us a unique opportunity to take a good hard look at what is really going on behind the scenes in the NFL.  We owe it to ourselves to carpe this diem.

If nothing the owners have done so far has made you angry, fine.  I don’t understand you, but I won’t question your right to feel how you feel, either.  We are different, and we think different thoughts.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Variety is the stuff of life.

One thing I’ve been trying to work on in recent weeks is not letting my dislike of the owners blind me to transgressions by the players.  In other words, to subject the players to the same scrutiny I subject my enemies the owners to.  I think its important to at least attempt this.  Too often in the blogosphere I see people accuse each other of making this political.  But when someone makes that accusation, its pretty clear they’re thinking along party lines as well, right?  Because if someone disagrees with their point of view, it must be politically motivated.  I’m not limiting this behavior to one side or another.  I’m just saying that wherever it occurs, its counterproductive.

more pontification from your boy Big Matt after the jump:

If the owners admitted wrongdoing, apologized for their actions, and appeared as though they were willing to do what it takes to start the season in a timely fashion, they would win me over.  Now, I realize the first two things seem impossible.  I’m just saying, the line does exist. 

We all like to think we’re on the side of truth, but truth doesn’t follow one side around and ignore the other.  It is, in my mind, theoretically possible for the owners to become right and the players to become wrong.  I think it highly unlikely, but there is a less than zero chance.  My support won’t be with the players no matter what they do.  It is with them now because:

A) The owners opted out of the old CBA.

B) The owners locked the players out.

C) The owners tried to claim they weren’t making enough money, but have been consistently unwilling to prove it.  We’re supposed to, I don’t know, take them on faith, I guess.  “I believe ‘em, yo.  I don’t know why, but I do.”

D) The owners violated their agreement, and thus broke the law, in their negotiations with the television networks, as ruled by Judge David Doty.

E) The owners are attempting to engage in an illegal lockout of the players, as ruled by Judge Susan Nelson.

F) The owners’ spin campaign has been aggressive, relentless, and I feel it insults our intelligence.  This is consistent with their usual modus operandi.  The players, on the other hand, seem confident that the truth (and law) is on their side.  Rather than fling desperate propaganda, they’re content to let the facts and the United States legal system do their talking for them. 

G) I was offended by Roger Goodell using a tragedy to shield himself from boos at the NFL draft.  And if you don’t think thats what he did, well, I don’t really know what to say to you.  You can invent excuses for Goodell if you want to.  I was there.  It was revolting.  Read Paddy’s article.  One thing I’d like to add is that the way Goodell blurted out “the storms…..in the South” was really pretty half-assed.  Despicable behavior like that will earn frowns from me no matter which side its on.  I’ve been critical of DeMaurice Smith too, but in my mind this was far worse than anything he’s done. 

H) On a personal level, I do not like the owners I’m familiar with.  Except ours, obviously.  He’s a real man of the people.  A modern-day Robin Hood, that one.  Except instead of robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, he…..well, you see where I’m going with that. 

I) I pay my $ to watch the players play, not to watch the owners own.  Since Clark Hunt has contributed literally nothing to my enjoyment of football, I’m not inclined to take his side in this dispute.   

J) I don’t want to see all these Chiefs players that I love go through the same struggles other former players are currently enduring.  That would be heartbreaking to watch. 

Now, you may not agree with some of those reasons.  But one thing you’ll notice is none of them are politically oriented.  If you still support the owners, I’m not going to call you stupid, or attack your point of view as meaningless.  But I really would like to see your list of reasons.  And keep in mind, things like “they’re the owners, they can do what they want” and “capitalism is what made this country great” are purely political reasons.  The giveaway is that they can be applied to any labor struggle.  My reasons are all specific to this one. 

Maybe the players have engaged in slimy behavior and I’m just unaware of it.  In that case, let your boy know!  Tell me what the players have done that has offended you.  I will read your comments and consider them carefully.  I really will.  I’m giving a no snark guarantee on the replies, too. 

As I said before, I’m willing to change my tune on the owners if they admit wrongdoing and change their ways.  Are those of you who support them willing to be as flexible?  Is there a line that, once crossed, would cause them to lose your support?  I would imagine if they completely shut down the league that would probably do the trick, right?

According to Mike Florio, that may be exactly what they’re planning.

We’re hearing initial rumblings pointing to the possibility that a loss by the league at the appellate level will prompt the owners to completely shut down all business operations until the players agree to a new labor deal.  The thinking is that, if the owners cease all operations, the NFL would not be violating the court order because there would be no lockout.

As we hear it, the league accepts the reality that it will take a lot of heat if it pursues this path (and a lot of that heat will be emanating from this web address), but it could end up being the only way to squeeze the players into accepting the owners’ terms, especially if the Eighth Circuit agrees with Judge Nelson.

As of right now, this is just a rumor.  But if it does indeed come to this, I have to think that would be the final tipping point for any halfway reasonable/intelligent human being still supporting the owners.  This course of action would mean that after losing three straight rulings, the owners would still rather shut down the league than open their books or comply with federal law.  Think about that for a second.  Now think of a way to justify it.  I’m all ears.

Tags: Roger Goodell

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