Where the hell is Teddy Roosevelt when you need him? The NFL is one big walking, talking trust that needs busting.
I confess that I did not know why the NFL teams were voting to de-certify the union. I thought maybe they were being struck with Virginia fever. Here, we are a right to work state, and unions are not very popular. I kept seeing headlines about different teams voting to de-certify the players’ union. So I thought maybe they were showing their dissatisfaction with the hard-line stance taken by the players’ union.
Nope. After looking into it, they are doing it so that when the owners and the players union come to an impasse and the owners lock out the players next year (God forbid), then the non-unionized players can sue the owners. Here’s a concise explanation:
“De-certification would strip the union of its collective bargaining rights on behalf of the players, so the move might seem counter-intuitive. But since antitrust laws exempt NFL owners from being sued by unions that are negotiating CBAs, de-certification would in essence eliminate the union and allow players to sue the NFL in the event of a lockout — giving them potential leverage in their dispute with the owners.”
Now, I must admit that when the baseball players struck back in 199? (I can’t recall the exact year, but I know where I lived so it was 1994 or before), I vowed then and there to never watch another baseball game again. And I haven’t. Haven’t missed it in the least. And I used to be a die-hard Tigers fan. The only time I see even glimpses of baseball games are when I’m playing poker and the host puts it on, or walking through airports, etc.
But I don’t think I could do that with my beloved football. I’ve always been more partial to football. And I was young back then and foolish.
And I’ll be honest again. I side with the players over the fat, rich, spoiled owners. Take the Lions, for instance. The Ford family purchased the team for $4.5 million back in 1964. Now the team is supposedly valued by Forbes at $872 million. I don’t know about that but I know the team must be worth a boatload YACHT load of money because “Ford Field” was built in 2002 for $430 million.
With that caveat that I am firmly on the side of the players, I still think that they should listen to John Doe in tweaking the system. First, fix the rookie pay scale. As much as I love Mr. Suh and Mr. Stafford, they are getting paid way too much compared to other players. Both those gentlemen have contracts that together total over $100 million while other rookies make the minimum ($285,000 in 2007). I think it is a pretty crappy union that makes some mega-millionaires while others get paid peanuts.
As long as these fat f#$&ers have a monopoly over something that so many Americans love, at least they ought to have to tweak their rules to keep fans happy. Set a ceiling on tickets. Force all teams to absolutely share income. The criticism of such a rule is that it would punish good owners and reward bad owners. But just institute a rule that says if you allow your team to be run into the ground by the Matt Millens and Russ Thomases of the world, you forfeit your team and it gets sold to somebody else. The thing that I hated most about baseball is how the New York Yankees could just swoop in a purchase all the best players. (I still hate the damn Yankees!)
I’d also make the owners get rid of the salary cap. Every team would get the exact same amount of money (okay, maybe let them keep their own concession and parking revenues, etc. And reward the Division champs and Super Bowl teams with a few million bonus), and they are free to spend it however they choose. If they spend wisely, as the Steelers do, they get to keep the leftover as profit. If they are fools such as Dan Snyder and they overpay for the fat Alberts of the world, then that will be reflected in their bottom line. But no team would have a huge advantage over any other.
And for God’s sake they should all work together to take care of the retired players. No NFL player should have to go bankrupt and live as a cripple for the rest of his life with all the money that is made on football today.
Oh, and force colleges to pay college players their fair share. No, wait, that is a rant for another day!