Players' Solidarity on Field Does Not Help NFL's Off-Field Money Issues

Nick Mordowanec@NickMordoCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2010

New Orleans Saints
New Orleans SaintsRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Last night was months in the making.

Two good football teams met last night to open the 2010 NFL campaign, including one of the teams which eventually won the Lombardi Trophy. It was intended to be a night of celebration for the fans in the stands at the Louisiana Superdome, not to mention for all professional football fans worldwide.

With all the happiness filling the air of the stadium, players from both the New Orleans Saints and Minneosta Vikings had to go and give onlookers—both in the seats and on their couches—a queasy feeling in the pit of their stomachs by proudly putting their index fingers as high into the air as they could, almost symbolically as to say We are sticking together and not accepting the owners' intentions to give us decreased salaries.

It was an image which never had to happen, and it looked as phony as it looked planned. As a potential lockout looms for America's most popular league, the first game of the season—on national television no less—is not the right time or place to reveal your intentions at the negotiating table.

It's just not what NFL fans want to see or be reminded of. especially when the opening kickoff has yet to occur. Fans don't want to think about what could possibly happen after the current season ends; they want to enjoy a pastime in which they have an opportunity to currently cheer.

Now, I'm not saying the players are wrong for seeking a fair line between the players and owners because, frankly, the potential lockout has more to do with the owners than the players. The men in charge want more money while the guys in pads want a fair shake, and this schism may result in a worst-case scenario for everyone involved: franchises, players, and most importantly, the fans.

There is no denying the NFL is the current king of athletic entertainment in the United States. Hell, even when a pair of NFL teams play overseas a sold-out crowd is there to take in the sight.

But when players make an announcement like they did last night in New Orleans, whether it be a verbal comment or a  physical gesture, it puts the fear of a work stoppage into the minds of the all-important fans. They are the ones who pay big money to come see games (while already thinking the athletes they come to watch are overpaid), but they also tune in at home. 

It sends the wrong message and would not be tolerated in any other area of work, but professional sports are handled in a completely different manner.

So what am I really asking? To put in as simple of terms as I possibly can, DON'T REMIND ME ABOUT THE LOCKOUT. Most of us think it's going to happen already, so why remind us every week of what would otherwise be a fantastic NFL season?

It's already hard enough rooting for the Detroit Lions every year.