If you caught the beginning of last night's game or heard the Mike and Mike show on ESPN this morning, you know what the Saints and Vikings' players did just before their game last night. For those of you who don't, a representative group of players from both teams stepped onto the field and raised their index fingers to the sky in a show of union solidarity. This, of course, is the players' reaction to the fact they're facing a lockout by the owners if a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) isn't reached before April, 2011.
Football fans identify with their favorite players until they're reminded that these guys make millions and yet are making demands for a bigger piece of the pie. Fans can't relate to the owners one bit, because they're billionaires. Both the players and the owners realize John Q and Jane Q Public pay their outrageous salaries, Yet, we can't just pick up and jet around the country to attend a party, concert, or political function on a whim. We face our reality; the owners and players have their reality. The last thing fans want is a reminder of the great divide between those realities. No teams' fans feel this more than Washington Redskins' fans.
For more than ten years the Redskins have been on life-support, but only if you're talking on-field performance. Yet, from 2002 through 2009, the Redskins have set new annual league attendance records. The Redskins bring in the league's highest gross revenue. And oh, by the way, Redskins' fans face the worst commute to their stadium on game days. Yet, we're loyal like dogs to our team.
So, here's a message to Redskins' players: Don't do it. Don't you dare walk out on your home field Sunday night and point your fingers toward the sky to demonstrate union solidarity. Your fans don't care, and they don't deserve to be used as props in the NFLPA's struggle with the owners. Clearly, Mike Golic gets this; clearly Marcellis Wiley doesn't.
Redskins' players, if you want to do the finger-pointing thing in week 3 when you play the Rams in St. Louis, more power to you. Walk out there and point like there's no tomorrow. Just know that 90% of NFL fans still won't identify with your struggle, no matter what you do. Your message won't get through. You might as well show your middle fingers, seriously. It's none of our business until a lock-out actually happens. Then, we'll care. Until then, entertain us and try to win a championship. Whatever you do, don't get in the fans' faces, as Mr. Wiley claimed you're trying to do. Most of all, don't you dare impose on that sacred event known as Dallas week. That would be outright blasphemy. All Skins' fans care to think about Sunday is WE WANT DALLAS. Do us all a favor and leave it at that.
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