This time of year we should be talking about free agency and the draft when it comes to the NFL. Instead, we're wondering if there will even be games played come September because of undeniable and repulsive greed displayed by the owners in the league — not unlike that of our Wall Street pals a few years past.
My taking offense to the pending NFL labor-strike lies somewhere near the risk of the country's most popular professional sports league putting its players out of work during the worst recession in almost a century. It really strikes a nerve after considering the league and its owners were already profiting $9 billion prior to the current dispute over a new Collective-Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
One of the key points of the negotiations is how to divide revenues — or what percentage of the money goes back into paying the players (the product) and how much the owners get to pocket. Before, the owners were receiving $1 billion off the top for "stadium upkeep". Now, they're asking for another billion.
Last I heard, Arrowhead Stadium and numerous other venues across the country were being paid for with taxpayer money.
And that handful of millions (with an M, not a B) Clark Hunt threw in to get a piece of the renovated-Arrowhead pie? Oh, you didn't think that first billion covered the cost?
This is high-level greed, folks. No other way around it. But that's not all.
After a year full of discomfort and unease formed from an in-year rule change (an unprecedented helmet-to-helmet hit policy that put players on alert with fines and suspensions), somehow, Commissioner Roger Goodell and his bandits are maneuvering to disallow the players extended health insurance through their retirement. Oh, that and they'd like them to play two more games (18-game schedule) so the owners can profit MORE.
Sadly, this comes in the wake of former NFL player, Dave Duerson, who took his own life by shooting himself in the chest, hoping his brain could be examined for damage caused by playing football.
The hypocrisy here is astonishing.
The owners have pushed for a rookie wage scale, which makes sense. The obstacle there is where the money-saved would go. It's likely the players would compromise and go for a restriction on rookie contracts if that money were to help retired players' benefits. Unfortunately, that billion extra off the top the owners are so desperately in need of has to come from somewhere. Hence the stand-off.
In 2008, the owners opted out of the CBA (effective this month) with little fear of a work-stoppage. They'd already worked a deal with the television networks where, in the event of a lockout, that money would still flow right into their greedy hands. Luckily, in an anti-trust claim last week, the players won a ruling which forbids the owners from obtaining that money if there's a work-stoppage.
Goodell and his bandits were scheming this all along. It's become quantity over quality. Money over morality. Absolute-Power over respect.
Now, an already restless fanbase (attendance was down for a fourth straight year last season) has no choice but to sit and wait and hope for a resolution to a non-existent problem — all in the name of arrogance and greed.
Similar men helped collapse our economy. Very few of them were held accountable. The crooks running our favorite sports league into the ground are no different.