During the first part of the 2011 NFL offseason, the NFL owners and Players Association have been in a heated negotiating process that has left a bitter taste in everyone associated with the league.
According to sources through ESPN, the NFLPA plans to de-certify the CBA before it expires, essentially meaning that the players are taking the necessary steps to avoid being locked out.
By doing this, the players are doing all in their power to ensure a full season next year. This move will also allow the players to file anti-trust action against the owners in front of a US District Court Judge.
While the players and owners have been bickering back and forth, each trying to get a larger piece of the pie, the NFL fans have been helpless.
Granted, the NFL owners do provide the facilities and the means for players to do their job, while players provide the spectacle for millions to see. However, without tens of thousands of screaming, raucous fans that attend NFL games weekly and the many other fans that dedicate their time to watch games on television, the NFL would not be where it is today.
By acting like they are, the NFLPA and owners are making the fans an afterthought in their selfish display of money-hungry politics.
Not only is it bad that the NFL season is over, but it is equally as bad that fans can't look forward to all of the events that normally take place during the offseason.
While CBA talks do create traffic on the Internet, it is traffic for all of the wrong reasons. The most exciting times during the long NFL offseason are the start of the free-agency period and the several days of full NFL draft coverage in late April.
With an expiring CBA and an even less likely agreement before the NFL draft, the petty differences between these two groups of "upstanding" people are getting extremely old.
The NFL owners and players have put fans in the back seat, locked the doors and started on a collision course with uncertainty.
These two groups need to understand the implications that their actions will take. NFL fans aren't just some quiet, soft bunch.
Fans are the ones buying the jerseys, tickets and other merchandise. Fans are the ones willing to get their nose bloodied in their opponent's house just to prove a point.
They are the ones who will wear the logo of their team, win or lose. They ignore their wives, their kids and their jobs just to sit on the couch with the guys and enjoy a high-calorie diet.
When tempers flare on Sundays, the NFL is why. When triumph prevails on Sundays, the NFL is why.
Fans don't care whether it is raining, snowing or sleeting. They don't care that it is 100 degrees or zero degrees. There are very few things that will stop a football-hungry fan starving for action.
I cannot sit here and endorse the NFL or the players for their selfish actions. I will not sit here and respect their decisions.
No matter what, I will always love the NFL and the product it puts out. However, not all fans are as understanding as I am.
If the NFL is truly concerned about dollar signs, just wait until stadiums don't sell out and sales are down.
These two groups are pushing their luck with the fans. If they think these negotiations are ugly, just wait to see what happens when the fans take action.
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