Like all of you, I was appalled to see the complete breakdown of negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA last week. I also realize the potential fallout from this issue hasn’t really hit home for me yet; after all, it’s off-season, I’m hearing and reading lots about the draft that will still happen (as of now) and of course, enjoying QB1’s tweets again. Between all of that and NASCAR, I hadn’t had much time to contemplate the possibility of no football this fall.

However, the back and forth between reps for the two groups this week have brought the lockout firmly into focus for me. (I realize this is millionaires vs. billionaires. I realize things in Japan are MUCH more important than whether there is a new CBA or not. But I love football. Deal with it.)

I have a sneaking sympathy for the NFLPA, because I think there are a few issues they are focusing on that are very important (health care after the player’s career is over, for one). Besides, Jerry Jones and Al Davis, in my opinion, are Satan’s offspring personified and I really don’t trust anything they say. That shades things a bit for me, I must admit.

Still, as I read the back and forth, it really hit me what this is like to watch.

I feel like I’m dealing with my sons. It seems like I just walked in the room and the two of them are in the middle of a heated dispute, both feeling wounded, angry with the other party, shouting things they don’t mean at each other and trying to get me to tell one that he’s right and one that he’s wrong.

Well, George Atallah, Greg Aiello, Jerry Jones, Drew Brees and anyone else who is trying to court me into your corner, let me set you straight on something.

I don’t care who started it. I don’t care who pushed first or poked back or said an unkind word. I don’t care if your tender little feelings are wounded. In fact, I don’t really care which one of you is lying. (Probably all of you to a certain extent, but I digress.)

I want you to sit down, shut up about who’s right or wrong, dry your tears and work this out. The NFL needs football players. Football players need teams to exist to get paid for doing something they love. You were meant to be together.


Don’t make me pull this car over!


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  • Interested bystander

    “The NFL needs football players. Football players need teams to exist to get paid for doing something they love”

    Well, kinda. There will ALWAYS,ALWAYS,ALWAYS be football players because they want to get paid to play a game they love. Right now there are only 31 owners.

    If there is no football in 2011, the owners will make money in their other businesses (how they got the team to begin with) and be fine. The players will take their quality educations that were given to them FOR FREE and will be forced to get a huge reality check in the real world.

    You are only as strong as your weakest member? I present you Antonio Cromartie.

    The players have zero chance and I personally welcome no season to make sure the players understand clearly their place at the table.

  • Interested bystander

    Classy that the author of this piece would go on Twitter to make sarcastic comments versus actually addressing the legitimate concerns raised by a commentator. I guess it is OK to write a piece like this, but yet pretend to be neutral on the whole subject.

  • djbonney138

    It reminds me of the SNL skit with Keenan Thompson, identify the problem, FIX IT, identify another problem FIX IT! Repeat as necessary until it is all fixed!

  • Mark

    Colleen let the mom trying to break up a fight between her kids come out :)

  • Jayme Joers

    This. :)

  • Ceallaigh

    I’ll come out up front and point out that I tend to fall on the side of the players if not for the long term health care issue. (I see the situation akin to the military. You go in and pay your pound of flesh, you’re compensated AND you receive service-related healthcare after you are done.)

    But neither side is doing itself any favors. Demonizing the other side just degrades into territorial pissing matches. So when y’all are done whizzing in the corners of the room, I’d like my football back, kthx.

    That said, NFL? Let’s dispense with trying to make the players look like ungrateful little children that need to have their noses rubbed in their mess after they’ve been declared naughty. Stop portraying them as petulant millionaires that are wiping their butts with $100 bills.

    And Players Association? Someone put a muzzle on Adrian Peterson. Enough with the obnoxious hyberbole. Next person that whips out the word slave, holocaust, crusade, and/or nazi when it pertains to none of the above is just itching for a fight and deserves to be smacked. Enough with trying to take away college kids’ day in the spotlight on draftday? You really think holding a junta party across the street with folding chairs and paper cups to mimic Draft Day is doing anyone any favors?

    And to Intersted Bystander: who are you? A Jerry Jones sock puppet? Enough with the sense of entitlement on behalf of the owners. Not to get as hyperbolic as Adrian Peterson, but players are not gladiators to be used with at will. They are not expendable as you like to reduce them to be. They are employees with rights as such. They don’t need to be “taught a lesson” as you assert. After all, it’s not the swankyass stadium that draws fans to games, (And Jerry? Was at the Super Bowl, your stadium blows. It has three total toilets,each about a half-mile apart and fake seats.) Let me remind you it’s what happens on the field that brings the paying consumers to your ego-driven shrines.

    Since I’m not a blogger here, I have no obligation to unbiased. I have thinky thoughts. Let me share them with you.

  • Colleen

    Okay, here goes:

    Interested Bystander – I find it interesting that someone who obviously FOLLOWS me (FOLLOWED?) on Twitter will not post real Twitter name or other identification but feels the need to hide behind an alias. I didn’t say you didn’t have a point, and I was joking, but you obviously seem to have a thin skin. Sorry that I offended you with my OPINION. I think.

    Daniel – haha. Fix it indeed!

    Mark – if I could get them in a room I’d smack the shit out of all of them. Even if I do sympathize with the players to a certain extent.

    Jayme – thanks. :)

    Kelly – Sock puppet….hahahahahaha! ;)

  • Ceallaigh

    btw, kind of feel bad for QB1. He posts one word: unity and gets ripped a new one.

    What’s he supposed to say? Screw you NFLPA? The guy is one of the Pack’s rep.

    And unity is a pretty good quality to have unlike idiots popping off about being a modern day slave. Why, yes, Adrian, I am still glaring at you and your poor choice of words.

  • Interested bystander

    My identity is irrelevant to the discussion. I did not say, “taught a lesson”. I said “knowing their place at the table”. Their place at the table isn’t next to the person who takes all of the financial risk.

    If NFL Players are so invaluable to the product and are so essential to maintain a ‘quality’ NFL, then why are college stadiums all over this country selling out in massive numbers, just like the NFL, during NFL season?

    And as far as injuries, the players are compensated ridiculously well for their sacrifice. Aren’t there vesting rights they receive as well for prolonged exposure? A pension? I would be interested to see where NFL player ranks among salaries for similar education levels. Of course, you could break those numbers down by age and race and really tell quite a story about how truly lucky NFL players are. It is not the owners fault that idiots like Johnny Jolly and Adam Jones are out there pissing it away money faster than they can make it, all while wasting a free college education.

    I hate Jerry Jones. Despise him. I would hate Al Davis too, but I have respect for the dead.

    There will always be players. Always. There are only 31 owners. Owners, it seems, are in short demand.

  • Colleen

    Your identity was relative to slamming me about my tweet though. Fess up. Or maybe you already unfollowed.

  • Ceallaigh

    So NFL players are expendable and there are chumps more than eager to take their place on the field…

    Here’s the deal. I lived in Green Bay during the last strike in 1986. You know what? The games were a chaotic mess with those scab replacements. And they were painfully boring in comparison. You could get tickets for pocket change, because people were practically giving them away.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love college football both of the small school and Division IA level. But it’s a totally different animal than the NFL. Like comparing apples and oranges.

    As for compensation, yes, the players have it good. But let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute and suppose the national health care legislation gets repealed and Boehner et al promise. That knee that needs to be replaced a few years after a linebacker has played his last down that has taken a beating first,has been scoped a half-dozen times is once again labeled a pre-existing condition that no future insurance company will cover for surgery.

    And just say we go back to that type of model of healthcare where even getting coverage can be denied because one is considered too much of a medical risk (used to happen all the time for people who had been diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease as a children.) What about NFL players like Aaron Rodgers who now has a reputation for taken a few on the head. Will all of this talk about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, would he when he’s forty be denied an entire health insurance policy even if he’s perfectly healthy because of a perceived higher risk of health problems later in life.

    Don’t fool yourself that this healthcare model scares a lot of players.

    Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of players aren’t millionaires. They have mortgages and student debt to pay (if not their own student loans, those of their spouses or eventually their children.) If the average tenure in the league is 3.5 years, then those making the league minimum (yes, ~$300K is still nothing to sneeze at) will likely not have enough to retire nor will they have enough to pay out of pocket if to cover a catestrophic medical bill (ie, cancer treatment, ICU stay,etc) And can anyone aside from a multi-millionaire be able to out of pocket for these types of unforseen expenses. There are many, many people in this country that file for “medical bankruptcy” each year.

    And I don’t buy your argument that they are lucky for what they have, or whatever you’re trying to argue. Yes, they are lucky. They have the opportunity to potentially make a lot of money relatively quick. They were pampered in college. They got free rides as you keep asserting (less so if playing at a small school.) But they are also signing on for ALL of the physical risk to keep the NFL afloat. And that assumption of risk should not only be rewarded in the ridiculously huge paycheck the owners pay up front, but should also be remembered when their bodies take a toll for that risk later in life.

  • Ceallaigh

    So what is “their place at the table”?

    Are they the naughty little children that need to stay one one end seen but not heard while the grown ups talk?

  • Interested bystander

    Scab Football? That type of football wasn’t even to the quality of the XFL. Your argument is that NFL players are irreplaceable? The sellouts at D1 stadiums across the country every weekend (clearly not the same quality) shows that Americans love football, and not just the exclusive NFL brand.

    So, a guy comes out of high school, gets a free college education, then goes to the NFL. On average he plays 3 years and makes a million dollars? Then he gets to use that free education in the real world, without having to pay it back? Sounds like a sweet deal to the rest of working stiffs. Even playing the league minimum at the league average is enough to set up most people for life, regardless of the free education.

    Injury concerns? If only players had a choice and free will to play football or not? Because it sounds to me like players are dragged out their homes, subjected to numerous injuries and then discarded. Whoops. In reality, it is the player’s choice. They agreed to play and take the fast money. I do not feel any sorrow to an old broke NFL player. It is their own fault. They chose to play and they chose to waste their money and deal with the health ramifications at a later point.

    Your defense about irreplaceable quality NFL football is inaccurate. Once again, there are thousands of players, only 31 owners.

    No players= the league that is hiring and will have no problem finding players. There will be a league.

    No owners= no league period.

    The place at the table? NOT next to the owner. The two entities are not equal, They just aren’t.

    However, I respect your opinion on this matter. Obviously it is a polarizing issue.

  • BigSnakeMan

    The only reason I lean ever so slightly to the players side on this one is that the NFL had a perfectly workable system in place that the owners decided to jettison because a few of them mismanaged themselves into ridiculous amount of debt in the name of chasing every last single dollar of profit. Then they act surprised that the players on whom they depend expect their cut. NFL franchises get tens of millions of dollars each year in TV money before they even sell a single ticket and yet still have the nerve to claim poverty (all the while scamming the public for taxpayer funded stadiums). It’s pretty easy to understand why the players assn. would be skeptical.

    I think Colleen sums it up pretty accurately when she characterizes it as a dispute between spoiled children.

    Just wake me when it’s over.

  • foundinidaho

    Are you saying my children are SPOILED, BSM? ;)

    As far as the “quality” issue goes, I will point out that few, if any, of the soccer fans I know (and on Twitter, I know a lot) watch MLS, i.e. the American, crappy version. They watch the European teams, which are stellar. Quality will win out. If they started a great league overseas and the one here sucked, it’s possible allegiances would switch. Or at least be very divided.

  • BigSnakeMan

    “Are you saying my children are SPOILED, BSM?”

    Of course they are. So are mine. ;P