In the Mix

July 27, 2011

The NFL Lockout – Who’s the Biggest *Player*

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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I mean that in the most socially casual way…

Because the exact details of the contract are not for public consumption, I’m not sure who – if anyone – got pimped. But, if you look at this strictly in dollars and cents, no one got pimped, they all still end up millionaires.

I think in the end, that’s what we the fans take away. This seems to have been a battle between the haves and the have-mores. I just want to break this down by pros and cons…

Pros: I for one am glad to see an organization negotiating in good faith to be on equal ground. I’m also glad to hear that this isn’t just about the $$$, but, about better long-term benefits for players and better health management for players. I think there were some additional changes to the rules as well to make the game safer. All good. But, I hope the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has also taken some steps to educate players about how to deal with MONEY.

Con: The players have successfully negotiated for their fair share of the pie, but, what are they going to do with it? They’ve shown great business acumen. But, how many of them will end up living close to the poverty line at some point after they leave the league despite the new provisions? Wouldn’t it have been better to invest some of the money for the future instead of buying 3 homes and 7 cars? What good is having had a Lamborghini if you now can’t walk? Some of these players are basically young kids making hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. Who’s showing them how not to blow it all in one sitting?

We’ve seen the stories about the players who retire, then later find out they have football-related injuries, can’t afford the health care costs and end up on government assistance. I find that unacceptable. No person who makes millions of dollars a year, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for an extended period of time should find themselves with a food stamp debit card. We all want to live well, but, many players take their good fortune to extremes. Being irresponsible with money shows bad judgement. I can only hope this process has shed some light on the responsibility attached to fighting for equality in compensation.

Con: The way this story is being reported in the news. The reporters who are telling this story forget they’re not talking to lawyers or union members or even people who work in a sports-related jobs. The average person has no idea what re-certification means. I didn’t know what they meant, so of course, I looked it up.

It just means when the contract between the players and the owners expired earlier this year, it also dissolved the players union. So, for the players to have a union again, they had to formally, legally, certify that they want to be a union and sign on the dotted line. You can be an association without being a union. Being a union gave them additional, legal rights they would not be able to exercise as an association.

I think it was just a matter of jargon. Some of it may be the usual – reporters trying to impress other news types instead of remembering, they’re doing these stories for the news consumer, not the competition. I mentioned this in a previous entry, but, they need to remember where they came from. Newsroom 101 – Keep it simple stupid.

Now for the more social take on this deal… WE GET OUR FOOTBALL SEASON!
For those of us who love NFL, we don’t care about the off season bickering – we just want our Sundays and Mondays in front of the TV, pulling for our teams. Go Browns!

Special note: For those of you who will be tempted to leave disparaging comments about the Browns on this entry, save your keystrokes for someone who will be damaged by them. I don’t care if the Browns win or lose – I’m a Browns fan for life. It was no joke when we fought to keep the Browns; Still no joke now. Football fans everywhere know this about Browns fans. Save your keystrokes…

But do comment on the NFL in general. I’m not stupid; I do have a backup team so that I can extend my season into the playoffs. Go Jets!

We’ll see you Sunday’s this Fall…