For quite some time now, all of the talk around the NFL has been focused on the labor situation and the potential, and now current NFL lockout. To my amazement, it appears as if the NFL believes that these discussions are between just two parties, the NFL and the NFLPA. The forgotten party in this is the most important party...the fans, fans who work all types of jobs from minimum wage to the most highly paid of professions. The fans that set their schedule around their favorite teams kickoff time, the mother that works two jobs and chooses to buy her son an extremely expensive and overpriced jersey of her son's favorite player, the father who grinds out 12+ hour workdays to be able to take his kids to the games.
The list of sacrifices goes on and on in each NFL fanbase in every city across America. Neither the owners nor players would have the billions to fight over if they didn't have a loyal fanbase willing to pay outrageous prices for tickets, merchandise, concessions, etc. So what happens when these fanbases lose this loyalty like MLB, the NBA and NHL fanbases did after their lockouts and strikes?
The worst part of the lockout is the excuses that are coming out from both sides via media, twitter, etc. “Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly. Think!” Fans don't care who's at fault, they care about football. The same Bears fans that pull for Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, also pulled for Walter Payton and Mike Singletary. These fans were here decades before the players and will remain decades after.
MEMO to the NFL and NFLPA: Please quit pointing fingers like grade school kids saying Roger did it or DeMaurice did it. I don't care who hit who first! Just fix it or this will be the fall of another great Empire. Like most great empires before this one, Greed and Jealousy will be the culprit in its collapse.
Check this out, this is what I mean. Here’s an open letter to NFL fans that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell sent out yesterday….
Dear NFL Fan,
When I wrote to you last on behalf of the NFL, we promised you that we would work tirelessly to find a collectively bargained solution to our differences with the players’ union. Subsequent to that letter to you, we agreed that the fastest way to a fair agreement was for everyone to work together through a mediation process. For the last three weeks I have personally attended every session of mediation, which is a process our clubs sincerely believe in.
Unfortunately, I have to tell you that earlier today the players’ union walked away from mediation and collective bargaining and has initiated litigation against the clubs. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, our clubs offered a deal today that, among other things, was designed to have no adverse financial impact on veteran players in the early years, and would have met the players’ financial demands in the latter years of the agreement.
The proposal we made included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee a reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
It was a deal that offered compromise, and would have ensured the well-being of our players and guaranteed the long-term future for the fans of the great game we all love so much. It was a deal where everyone would prosper.
We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.
While we are disappointed with the union’s actions, we remain steadfastly committed to reaching an agreement that serves the best interest of NFL players, clubs and fans, and thank you for your continued support of our league. First and foremost it is your passion for the game that drives us all, and we will not lose sight of this as we continue to work for a deal that works for everyone.
And to compound the problem, teams around the league are all trying to add their spin too. They are all doing it. If you're a season ticket holder of an NFL team, you've probably gotten an email statement from your teams owner. Here is one that was sent in by a reader from New York Jets Chairman & CEO, Woody Johnson, released just after Goodell’s letter went out….
“It may take longer than we all had hoped, but New York Jets fans should know that a deal will get done and I remain confident that there will be NFL football in 2011. Although I was very disappointed that the union chose legal maneuvering over negotiating, I am convinced that our differences can be resolved at the bargaining table. We care deeply about our players and will continue to work towards an agreement that is fair and reasonable for everyone – the fans, the players and the teams. The goal for the Jets will not change – we are committed to bringing you a championship.”
Everything is a public relations campaign with these guys. Any time that was spent issuing these statements should have been spent resolving the problem. Do these people think we are all morons? If you are as sick of the BS as I am, drop me an email, hit me up on twitter or leave a comment.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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