You all have probably heard by now that the NFL owners voted 31-0 (Al Davis abstained) to ratify the proposed collective bargaining agreement, and the players haven’t done so. There have been reports about some major last minute apprehension on the part of the players, which has brought on some major ‘just sign the deal!’ remarks from commentators, twitterers, etc. To which I say…..not really. To all of us fans, the NFL is a passion, an important part of our lives, a leisure activity, etc. Here’s what it is to the players:
Now some of us love our jobs, some of us hate them, some of us are on the fence. Some us are passionate about what we do for a living, and some of us come in for the check. And we all want to make as much money as can from our employer while our employer often wants to pay us the lowest amount possible. There are two big differences between us and NFL players:
1. They get paid a lot more, and 2. Their careers are a lot shorter. The average player lasts three to five years, while most of us will be working for somebody for decades. The players are being asked to ratify a ten year labor agreement, which means that it will outlast most of their careers. Think about that: the players are now about to vote on the working conditions that will be in place for the rest of their careers. If you had to vote on your working conditions for the next forty years, would you say yes that quickly? I sure wouldn’t. Put aside the contract numbers you see whenever these guys sign with a team and look at the people on the other side of the deal: the owners.
The owners get to make millions of dollars every year for several decades, with little to no threat of competition. They get heavily (sometimes fully) subsidized stadiums, lucrative television deals (which often result in a monetary loss for the networks), and all kinds of money from merchandise, parking, etc. They have a labor force that, on average, doesn’t stick around long enough to make any really big money. And they have a legion of sycophants in the media that trumpet their every move as genius. And oh yeah, the league is a 501c corporation (nonprofit), which means their $9 billion in revenue is TAX FREE. The payers pay income tax on their salaries, but the owners money is TAX FREE. Think about that for a minute.
The NFL is dam near risk free business; they are in no danger of going out of business like Borders or some local restaurant. It would take decades of horrendous decisions and probably some federal legislation for the NFL to be in any kind of trouble. Don’t believe anything the owners tell you about their financial situation. They’ve had it made for a long time and they just want more. Remember, they voted 30-2 to ratify the same labor agreement that was supposedly an abomination of biblical proportions.
NFL revenue is exploding and the owners want to get as much of the new money for themselves as possible; the players want to maintain what they’d been getting and get a piece of the new money. That’s called fair business. I don’t care that some of them make tens of millions of dollars; their employers make tens of billions off their labor. You are supposed to make the best and fairest deal you possibly can; you don’t just sign something because Joey from Long Island keeps calling WFAN to complain about you, or because the NFL’s house media guys rip you on television or in print. Why do we expect athletes and other entertainers to accept pay scales and working conditions that would the equivalent of us working full time for minimum wage in whatever jobs we have? And why do we hold up the owners as paragons of excellence because they’re lucky enough to be in a bulletproof business? Don’t fall for the okey doke, people!
Stay strong players, until you get the deal that’s best for you. Don’t worry about us; we’ll be fine whenever you get back.