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Fourth and Twenty-Eight

March 11, 2011
tags: ,

The next deadline in the NFL negotiations hits at the end of the day, and some are more hopeful than others that there will be a deal.  I’m not positive, but I’ve also had a bad week.  So I’ll just let others predict while I watch and learn.

There’s a nice post at NRO on this from Duncan Currie, and I’d encourage you to go read it if you haven’t seen it yet.  Just in case you think I’m a complete right-wing corporate shill, and that NRO is the same, I thought I’d comment on the gist of his article:

Barring another short-term extension, the CBA will expire later tonight. Disgusted fans shaking their heads at the ongoing labor spat may be excused for condemning NFL athletes as ungrateful, tone-deaf millionaires. Yet I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Buzz Bissinger, Rick Reilly, and Bill Simmons: The biggest problem in these negotiations is owner greed, not player greed.

The NFL, to my mind, runs like an old club where the owners hide behind some legal protections and claim poverty while they essentially pull in loads of money often at taxpayer expense.  When I see the owners paying for stadiums out of their own pocket on a regular basis, and taking on the real risks of business, then I’ll believe they’re trying to run a company and not a money operation.  So I’m with all four above authors in terms of that conclusion.

That said…

Let’s all be clear that sane people start ventures in order to make money.  If an NFL owner thinks that the best long-term revenue opportunity is created when someone else gives you money while you make lots of your own, then that owner is just doing what comes naturally.  So the players and the fans have enabled this in the first place.

And that said…

The people I really side with here are the fans.  Football, as any sport, is put on by the players, managed by the owners, and guided by the league for the pleasure of the fan.  The fans are the ones that are paying to see the games, watching so the advertisers will pay more, and the like.  So when someone asks me if I side with the owners or the players… well, I side with the people who are really paying the bills.  I still think that both the owners and the players need to remember that they serve a customer base that’s wondering why this is all so drawn out.  I’m not saying there’s no merit to either side, but I still wonder if any of the people in the negotiating room are thinking that they can all win eventually and still alienate the people who pay.

Updated 3/12: Ed Morrissey has a letter from Roger Goddell, which I also received.  I like his comments better than mine, so I’ll just send you there.

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