It’s time to get off the fence. I’ve heard, ad nauseam, the case for both sides in the labor dispute. I have come to a conclusion and I don’t think it’s going to be popular.
Let me preface this by saying that if the fans could somehow form a third party in this dispute, my allegiance would be firmly in their court.
It’s generally agreed that whoever appears to get the upper hand between the players and the owners, fans will be roundly screwed underwhelmed. We will be paying more no matter who wins. Bet on it.
It’s seems abundantly clear to everyone except the two parties involved that the league’s entire wealth is predicated on fan spending. And fans have a single plank in their platform; Keep the game a level playing field.
Baseball has demonstrated that giving financial power to a few big markets is a surefire way to deflate the game in smaller markets (see: Kansas City). And don’t get me started on the luxury tax.
So who gets my greatly anticipated and valued vote of confidence in the NFL labor dispute?
Why? They own the league. It is theirs and not ours or the players. If your boss wants to change things at your job, be it salaries, working conditions, hours, location, etc., it’s their prerogative (see: Bobby Brown).
No one has the right to play in the NFL any more than they have the right to choose any other job. Period.
And this anti-trust stuff is laughable. Go form a new league if you don’t like the NFL rules. Go on, do it.
“But who will pay our exorbitant salaries?” players say.
The short answer is, “No one.”
Listen, I want players to be compensated well. They provide a great product that earns a ton of dough for the owners. But does anyone outside of the NFLPA believe they are poorly paid “slave labor”? (see: Rashard Mendenhall)
When I hear stuff like that from millionaires it makes my stomach turn.
Players, if you can make more money taking your skills to the CFL, UFL, AFL, or becoming a Subway Sandwich Artist, then go. That’s how the free market works. You are worth what you can convince someone else to pay you.
And here is a news flash. Everyone is replaceable. Everyone. Even Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can be replaced. Their replacement likely won’t play as well, but they can be replaced. Fans will get over it if they feel the integrity and long-term health of the game prevails.
I also hear some players talk about themselves like gladiators sacrificing for the mobs in Rome. Baloney. For every player in the NFL, there are a hundred players who didn’t quite make it who would trade places in a heartbeat.
I don’t recall stories of gladiators begging to get tossed to the lions. They were forced labor, not volunteer millionaires.
My one soft spot is for the old veterans who played in another era and made nowhere near the money and suffered crippling injuries with little or no recovery assistance. If today’s players want to sway me, lead your argument with policies to help the old guard, not policies on how to further stuff your pockets.
So call me a Capitalist pig.
I just hope I don’t run into Mike Vrabel in a dark alley.