NFL

ProFootballTalk Just Doesn't Get NFL Labor Situation

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I read ProFootballTalk a lot.  I check in daily.  I learned about Ryan Grant's season ending injury before just about everyone else in my office thanks to PFT.  It was the first place I read about Chris Cooley ripping Philly for trading McNabb.  As a guy in about half-a-dozen fantasy leagues, I rely upon it.

But, Jesus Christ, there are times, especially in the context of the continuing labor strife brewing under the surface, that they are ridiculous pains in the you know what.

Most recently, among reports that the TV ratings for the NFL's opening weekend this past weekend is the best one they've had since the strike-shortened year in 1987, PFT lead writer Mike Florio wrote:

And perhaps the NFL and the NFLPA should take note of that fact.  It's taken 23 years since the last work stoppage to come close to the total Week One viewership enjoyed in the last Week One before football went away for a while.  So maybe the two sides should work toward preventing another work stoppage.

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In another post, Florio writes about the possibility of a lockout by owners in this way:  "The mere fact that the possibility of taking our NFL football away is being used as leverage to help one side or the other get rich even faster should be enough to get us riled up.  If that possibility ever becomes reality, we all should be prepared to make our displeasure known.  Loudly."

If you've ever read "Dean" David Broder's political writing in the Washington Post, you may see a similarity here--a wise sage, this Mike Florio, who thinks that the problem with the two sides who have borderline intractable differences is that they don't understand that they should be working together.  "Holy cow," DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell presumably exclaim in unison.  "We never thought of that!"

Let's be clear here about who the bad actors are.  It is the owners who are trying to take money back from their players, even as the nature of their traumatic brain injuries become more and more clear.  It is the ownership of the Super Bowl hopefuls in San Diego that decided they'll punish the 7,000 folks who decided not to buy overpriced nosebleed seats for the home opener by making sure the game is blacked out in their local market.  Ask the Jet fans who find themselves assigned to nosebleed season tickets, after generations of great seats.  It's the "doctors" who decided to let Stewart Bradley back into the game after he came off the field a mess.

Did I mention that Florio said that the NFL had to "tweak" concussion procedures after that?  Tweak!

Florio gets worse when he attempts to delve into the politics of the labor issue.  The NFLPA, wisely by anyone who knows even a little about the power of labor solidarity, has enlisted other unions to their side.  Florio, because he understands politics so well, presumes that the NFLPA banding together with other unions is the equivalent of endorsing Nancy Pelosi:  "Even if the red/blue split among football fans is 50-50, the union's decision to openly recruit unions like the AFL-CIO and FOP could alienate half of the fan base.  And with the ever-swinging pendulum of voter discontent poised to push plenty of Republicans into Congress on November 2, the decision of the union to behave like a traditional union could end up being a huge mistake come 2011."

Get that?  Unions are exclusively the realm of liberals.  That's freaking hilarious!  Yes, the AFL-CIO has a tendency to vote Democratic, mainly because the Democrats don't actively campaign on fucking them over.  However, the idea that the fan base of the NFL would think less of the NFLPA for getting labor solidarity is comically stupid.  I'm guessing most Americans have a pretty good opinion of the Fraternal Order of Police, regardless of whether they voted Democrat or Republican in their last local election.

I wonder if Florio has spent time on a work site with say, the United Brothers of Carpenters--those crazy freaking liberals!  Why to hear them talk--it's far past time for DADT to be repealed, and why hasn't Obama gotten a 2-State Solution worked out in Palestine already!?  Union membership doesn't automatically equal "Blue" in our current political parlance, and anyone who doesn't get that really shouldn't be opining on labor issues at all.  Stick to injury reports and funny videos from training camp.

The idea that this is millionaires vs. billionaires is true, but not helpful.  What side should any sane person be on?  As Dave Zirin said, "You root for the player...because nobody ever paid $80 for a ticket to watch Jerry Jones run down the sideline."

Just cover the facts, ProFootballTalk.  You kind of suck at everything else.