NFL 2011–The Lockout is official

Football is not life and death, and yes the world is on fire.

Football is escapism, a respite from everything else.

So in that sense keeping everything in perspective, NFL events this weekend are a disaster for football fans.

Talks between owners and players broke down, and now there is officially a lockout. The union has voted to decertify, meaning that individual players can pursue individual antitrust claims in court.

This is very bad.

This might also be one of the only labor disputes in the last thirty years where the worker bees are not the bad guys.

This is not a greedy union situation. The players did not go on strike.

So to prevent a single NFL game from being canceled, let’s get a deal done right now before the 2011 Draft is affected.

I already proposed a deal, and I will propose it again.

Up the money off of the top that the NFL owners get to keep for itself from one billion dollars to 1.5 billion. The owners want 2 billion.

Of that extra 500 million, 10% must be spent on medical care for retired players. 10% must be sent on medical research including the effect of concussions and other brain injuries.

If the owners get 2 billion of of the top, that extra 1 billion should require that 20% of it go to medical research and 20% to retired players for medical care.

The rookie wage scale has to be reformed. It is out of whack. A 50 million dollar signing bonus before playing a single game cannot happen any time soon. Rookie salaries cannot exceed 5 times the league minimum salary. That should be the cap.

Speaking of caps, the salary cap must stay in place. It works by creating the competitive balance that makes any given Sunday a reality. The players have to accept the overall cap and the rookie cap.

Where the owners have to give in is with regards to the 16 game schedule. They want 18 games. Forget it. The game is too brutal and violent for any more wear and tear on the bodies of the players.

The players currently get 60% of the remaining revenues. Leave it alone. The owners will get an increased cut off of the top.

The National Football League is bigger and better than ever. Roger Goodell is presiding over the most successful sports empire in sports history. He inherited a gift from Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue. He must maintain it if he wants his legacy to be on their level one day.

Get a deal done. In 6 months, the NFL 2011 season is expected to kick off.

This must happen.


2 Responses to “NFL 2011–The Lockout is official”

  1. The owners are losing money on other endeavors and now want to loot the NFL to compensate. It’s no different than when after the repeal of Glass-Steagal and the subsequent tech-crash, insurance companies raised their rates and blamed tort law and such. The insurance companies lost a fortune in that crash. They simply shifted the burden. In the NFL’s case, the owners are claiming they are losing revenues but will not share with anyone exactly how. You can’t negotiate in a revenue sharing model without all sides knowing exactly where they and each other stand. The owners are trying to set a legal precedent here – the ostensive right of owners in a franchise to obscure their operations from each other. I hope the players can force the owners to the table by killing that dangerous and stupid idea. As owners in the NFL they must keep their books open.


  2. blacktygrrrr says:

    This is an excellent point and my leaving it out is an oversight.

    Private companies are no obligated to make their books public, but showing the numbers to a few people is not the same as widespread public domain.

    For example, in politics, sensitive national security information may be disseminated to a select few members of Congress on the Intelligence Committee. That does not mean the info is public. Severe punishments can and should come to those few trusted people who leak info.

    The owners can and should show their books to a select few union reps including Maurice Smith and the top player reps like Brees and Manning. Those players would not be allowed to discuss it with other players. Both sides could still quietly negotiate, the player reps would have the info, and anyone leaking the info would be punished.

    Of course, the owners could keep their books totally private by simply not asking for more money. One cannot plead poverty without proving it.

    Some of the owners are less concerned about the players knowing the truth than their fellow owners. Transparency among owners with each other is vital to prevent football becoming baseball and ruining the competitive balance.


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