Jackson, MS – Not to disparage the company where I was employed or labored for eleven of my most athletic and professionally productive years, but I’m just saying…, “show me the books”.
This Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is getting a little “Re-donkcluious”, “come on Man”. No football this fall? What’s really going on and who are the players, is the real question for most avid football fans. From the grass roots of the impasse there are some serious implications for the Power Brokers (owners), Players (active), and pundits (players retired). Let me dissect this quagmire, which has digressed into a metaphor for what the NFL or Management Council (owners) believes is truth or fairness. While at the same time the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) under the relatively new leadership of Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Attorney, continue to espouse in certain uncertain terms their representation of active players. Who’s representing whom? The NFLPA decertified as a union after the owners refused to make full disclosure of all finances in an attempt to take 1 Billion off the top before slicing the pie. The NFLPA decertification was simply termed a sham and power move to apply pressure to return to the negotiation table by the owners. The NFLPA further acerbated or leveraged their position (depending on which side you are on and how the courts ultimately rule) by filing an injunction and an Anti-trust law suit to get owners to lift the lockout imposed on March 11, when labor talks roared to a stand. The NFLPA filings and individual players like a Middle-Tennessee Draft eligible wide receiver Tuesday’s filing of an Anti-trust lawsuit against the owners asserting the league has created an anticompetitive market continues to widen the impasse. The owners and players are seeing the middle from opposite ends of the spectrum as the owners view the impasse as Labor Law while the players contend its simply anti-trust rules. To capture Charles Barkley’s “I don’t know and I maybe wrong” anthem. While working during the off-season back in the day we did not get strike pay, 401-K, severance pay that did not affect pension and other amenities afforded players today and it is still not enough. However, as a labor Rep for management at Chevrolet Motor Division-Tonawanda Motor Plant near Buffalo, labor law said, machinist could not paint the machine which they operated all day. The owners in this case General Motors were okay with that and the union also. What made this a harmonious; for the most part arrangement was General Motors had other competitors out there where that painter could shop his wares if he desired. General Motors was not a monopoly and not subject to anti-trust violations, whereas, the NFL is the only game in town at 9 billion and counting. – “I maybe wrong – but I doubt it”.
Then there is the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLAL) recently reorganized under new Executive Director George Martin, former player with the New York Football Giants. Each of these entities NFL, NFLPA and NFLAL are seemingly vying for the allegiance of the body of brothers, united we stand. Unity seems a distant truth that must be embraced if the victims, the fans, who ultimately created this behemoth, will get their reward of NFL football this fall. This 9 BILLION dollar monster called the NFL which has morphed from its infancy to this three headed monster. Long gone are the days when a family of four could enjoy the likes of Broadway Joe Namath, Green Bay’s Bart Star, and Chicago’s Gale Sayers or Walter Payton, for around a hundred bucks: tickets, a burger, a brewski and a parking pass included. George Martin has meet with pundits (retired players) from the NFLPA-Retired Player Group in Florida, after he spoke to the NFL owners at a recent league meeting in New Orleans. George lamented that the meeting did not go as well with the retired players. He described the atmosphere as “defiant, accusatory, and outright disrespectful. Those of us at the grassroots level see a different picture as retired players. Some face years of alienation by the universities that exploited them for four years as colligate athletes, earning millions for the hollowed sanctuaries, while many never received the promised degree upon leaving for the perceived riches of the NFL. Yet others have been yoked into business deals by unscrupulous predators praying on the name of a future hall of famer then fleeing when the money runs out. The greeting George received should sound the alarm loud and clear that something is drastically wrong with the league and needs to be fixed from the bottom-up.
The case is being heard in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, by the Honorable Susan Nelson who is new to the Federal Bench in Minnesota appointed by President Obama. Should Judge Nelson rule in favor of the owners forcing the players to accept the union and be bound by labor laws then would all work forces be obligated to unionize, Wall-mart would definitely have a say in the matter. Then on the other hand should the Judge rule in the players favor and lift the lockout and the teams resumed preparation for the season. What happens to free agency and where or what teams do free agents report to and what happens to the franchise players and the salary cap?
By definition the term Robber Baron in today’s vernacular relate to any businessman or banker who uses questionable practices to become powerful or wealthy.
The NFL – Last of the Late Great Robber Barons?
“I maybe wrong – but I doubt it”