Friday, February 11, 2011

NFL's 2011-12 Season Cancelled?

Superbowl XLV isn't even a week old yet instead of hearing about the Green Bay Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, all I hear about on these various sports networks is talk about the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL owners and the Players Association that is set to expire March 3rd. The NFL said it would not comment on CBA meetings at this point. The league did confirm that Commissioner Roger Godell has cancelled an owners meeting scheduled for next Tuesday in Philadelphia. 

The first negotiations between the Players Association and the owners took place on February 5th the Saturday before the Superbowl. The two sides then met again on Wednesday and Thursday's meeting was cancelled. Apparently, the two sides aren't even close to agreeing on several issues, one of them is rookie wage scale and length of contracts. The union wants a four year maximum contract for rookies drafted in the first three rounds and a three year max for rookies drafted in rounds after that. The union also included a limit on financial incentives and salary escalators included in rookie deals. However, the NFL wants a five year wage scale with base salary escalators basically eliminating individual negotiations of rookie contracts. 

George Atallah, the Players Association spokesman said, "We wish we were negotiating today, that's all I can say." After the meetings were cancelled, the union brought in a beer vendor from Ford Field in Detroit as part of a news conference in Washington, D.C. aimed at demonstrating the effects a lockout would have on the economy. John Marler, who has worked at the stadium since 2007 said, "Football and other major sporting events are some of the only things that bring people to downtown Detroit after 5pm."

Kimberly Freeman Brown, executive director of American Rights at Work, said a lockout would have an impact on 150,000 jobs and cause more than $160 million in lost revenue to every city with an NFL team. When asked about a potential work stoppage she said its "something that could potentially have devastating consequences on our quality of life and our mental health." When asked about the news conference Players Association spokesman George Atallah said, "It is important for us to stand with the people who are here on this panel, not for any publicity issue or publicity stunt. This is real for us, this is a reality that these people face."

I am trying to be empathetic and see both sides well actually three sides. The owners of the teams who of course want more money and want to pay less and from what I understand, they were presented with a 50/50 proposal of advertising revenue and walked right out of the meeting. If that is true I completely understand, you can't go 50/50 with an owner because they can just replace you with someone who will accept less. The players who are already screwed because yeah they have million dollar contracts but those contracts can be rewritten and are full of so many incentives that are put further down the road that the actual contract isn't really what it is. 

Like for instance Donovan McNabb's $78 million dollar contract extension with the Washington Redskins could reach $88 million if every single incentive is reached but Washington can also get away with paying him $4 million if they decide to severe ties with McNabb. $78 million down to $4 million? Yeah because that makes sense. My mother is a lawyer and she can't explain that one to me. I do side with the players on the amount of games played, the NFL wants to increase the current season from 16 games to 18 and they would do this by cutting the 4 preseason games down to 2. These guys already pay an incredible price with their bodies so I would hate to see what two more games would mean to an injury report but it's all about the benjamins...most things are.

Speaking of benjamins, the fans, what do they think of a potential lockout? they probably are aware of the situation but they're too busy making a living for their families to really speak their minds. Most fans are priced out of premium games and playoffs, I mean you'd have to mortgage your home if you had a family of four attending this year's superbowl. The average concession price was $89! Thats what happens when little Johnnie wants a $13 popcorn and a 20 oz pepsi for $9 bucks! $6 hotdogs and $6 peanuts. The fans are the little guy and the little guy always gets screwed. Don't say you care about the fans when face value tickets are going for $800 in the nose bleed section. This is between millionaires and billionaires and like it or not, we have no say... 

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