As a huge fan of the NFL, I am personally sick and tired of hearing about the back and forth squabbling that has been going on between the NFLPA and the NFL owners over the expiring collective bargaining agreement. The fact of the matter is I could care less what the new CBA looks like; I just want a full season without any lockouts or strikes.
However, my distaste for the subject rose to all new levels over the past few weeks as I have began to hear parties on both sides of the talks arguing that their side is what the fans want.
About a week or two ago, the NFLPA asked fans of the NFL to dedicate a tweet to showing that they are supporting the players in this dispute. Then yesterday, Kevin Mawae, an NFLPA representative made the statement that he could not sell an 18-game schedule, as it was not what the players want and it's not what the fans want.
In addition, I have heard league officials and representatives for the owners making statements accusing the NFLPA of playing games with the labor dispute in an attempt to move the proceeding to court. These comments would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that in many of these statements, the officials acted as though the only reason they were pushing so hard was because they did not want the fans to miss a single game of football next season.
Let's face it, neither side gives a hoot about what the fans want; each side has its own agenda and is using the fans in order to further it. The fans are not organized and as such no one can claim to know where they stand on these issues.
While I do not pretend to know what every NFL fan wants to happen with regards to the labor dispute, I can speak for those fans I know personally and the fact of the matter is THEY DON'T CARE.
Sure, some would like to see an 18-game schedule (it means more football), others want to see a rookie salary cap so there isn't another JaMarcus Russell tragedy and some want to see the NFL take better care of its retired players who are suffering from the effects of playing such a violent sport.
However, of all those fans who do have an opinion on how they would like to see these issues play out, not a single one of the fans I know cares anywhere near enough that they would be willing to risk a shortened season or even no season for them.
There is only one issue that fans of the NFL will agree unanimously on: we do not want a strike, we do not want a lockout, we just want to watch our teams compete in a full season.
While the fans are not a party to the labor disputes, our voices should be heard and taken into consideration. The NFL is one of the biggest, most successful moneymaking businesses in the world and without the fans it would be nothing.
The fans buy the merchandise, buy the season tickets and give television stations the high ratings, which in turn lead to major TV contracts for the NFL. Without a diehard fanbase such as the one the NFL currently has, the league would struggle to be as successful as it has been.
As many of you will remember, when the MLBPA went on strike in the early '90s, the fans did not come right back after the strike was over. MLB struggled with fan attendance the remainder of the season and for the next few seasons. The fans were rightfully upset as bickering amongst rich owners and well-paid players deprived hard-working fans of their entertainment. If the NFL is not careful, it might end up going the way of the MLB in the early '90s.
In an effort to show the NLFPA and owners that the fans are serious about not wanting this dispute to drag into the regular season, I have created a Facebook group with the same name as the title of this article. If you are so inclined, please go to Facebook and join so that the fans might finally have a voice in this issue.
Oh, and one last thing. GO RAIDERS! (Sorry, just had to do it)