First of the month rant — June: It is time to worry about 2011 NFL season

Posted: 06/05/2011 in first of the month rant, football
Tags: , ,

It is now time to start worrying about whether or not the NFL season will kick off on time. Or if there will even be a season.

If the players and owners don’t begin making substantial progress in face-to-face negotiations, it’s going to be hard for training camps to be open seven weeks from now.

This is the month an agreement has to be reached. And the sooner in June, the better.

If July arrives and a settlement still hasn’t been reached, there’s no chance training camps open on time. None.

The free-agency period hasn’t even been held and while I’m sure there have been some behind-the-scenes deals made, general managers will want some type of time frame to sign players and finish putting training camp rosters together before camps open.

If you use last Friday’s court proceedings as a gauge, it’s going to take a monumental change in stances from both parties but mainly from the NFL to get something done without the season being delayed or possibly canceled.

The NFL is going to great lengths to protect its lockout and the players have again asked a federal appeals court to declare it illegal. This same court previously upheld the NFL’s lockout.

One of the judges admonished both sides and indicated that neither the players nor the owners are going to like it if the courts end up making the decision.

Hmmmm, I think the judges probably met for coffee prior to the proceedings and shook their heads over how filthy rich franchise owners can’t figure out how to share an estimated $9 billion in annual revenue with their workers.

Picture your place of employment raking in billions and billions of dollars and then locking you out one morning. Then start laughing about what a ridiculous notion it would be for the owners of your company to sacrifice the most important part of its calendar year while losing television and sponsorship deals.

Ludicrous, isn’t it?

Remember, being an NFL owner doesn’t mean you have intelligence. It means you either have a lot of money or you were born into a family with a lot of money. Guys and gals with $10,000 in the bank don’t own teams.

You watch how the owners have handled the labor situation and it’s obvious that many of these guys signing paychecks wouldn’t last in a typical cutthroat business. Being wealthy doesn’t automatically mean you’re wise and the 32 egotistical NFL owners have done a terrific job of reminding us all that many, many rich idiots permeate the planet.

Some of these owners are pretty heartless too. Numerous teams have put common workers on furloughs – the folks making five figures a year that live paycheck to paycheck and are innocent bystanders in the dispute – while continuing to badger fans about getting their season ticket deposit money in.

I’m guessing most fans getting those calls promptly use a line like this at some point in the call: How about you tell me when the season starts FIRST and then I’ll worry about cutting you guys a check?

I bet the next comment from the team employee on the phone includes something about losing your seating priority if you don’t re-up now.

Oh yeah, the NFL mantra at work – greed, greed and more greed.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has done a lot of commiserating with fans about the stalemate and often expressing how he understands their pain and frustrations. Well, it’s about time Goodell began acting like a leader in terms of getting the labor dispute settled.

Perhaps Roger hasn’t figured out yet that a lost 2011 season will be the defining mark on his legacy.

The social media age shows that more and more fans are clued into the spin-control methods of professional and college sports leagues. Pro sports leagues, teams and college athletic departments have long believed they can fool paying customers into believing nearly anything.

But this isn’t 1981 or 1991. This is 2011 and people aren’t buying the NFL’s spin control.

Fans know the owners opted out of the labor agreement in 2008 and have been preparing for a lockout ever since. They are aware the owners tried to bully the players into a subpar agreement and then instituted the lockout. Fans know the players want to show up to work and do all the normal offseason preparations but have been prevented by the owners.

Most of all, fans can’t believe a thriving industry that basically prints money at will would even risk the fallout.

Perhaps the fact that the NFL is so filthy rich is part of the problem. I attended the NFL’s Super Bowl party two nights before the January, 1998 game in San Diego and they threw away enough food at the end of the night to feed every Third World country for the ensuing six months.

The NFL’s version of reality doesn’t match everybody else’s. And if that doesn’t change this month, the 2011 season is officially in jeopardy.

Expecting the NFL to come to grips about reality? Yikes.

Yeah, it’s time to start worrying about whether or not there will be a 2011 season.

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