The NFL owners have locked out the players as of this Saturday, March 12. Both sides are fighting over, what else, money. On April 6, NFL owners and players will take their case to a court hearing.
In the meantime, fans of the NFL sit and wait.
Wait to see what will happen at the NFL Draft.
Wait to see if games are going to be played.
Wait to see if they will get their season-ticket holder money back if games are indeed canceled.
I am one of thousands of season-ticket holders of the local NFL chapter, the New England Patriots. I have been a paying customer for 17 years, and I have witnessed the franchise evolve from mediocrity to NFL superiority.
Going to Foxboro on Sundays has been interwoven into my DNA; it's part of who I am.
Now, greed may take that away from me. I personally side with the players in this, because I can't relate to millionaires and billionaires.
I am just a blue-collar worker in a white-collar world. I work hard for everything I get. I have been laid off twice, but I always found a way to brush myself off and get back on my feet.
Through all of these financial hiccups in my life, I could not bring myself to let my seats in Section 336 go. I knew I would never get them back because of a waiting list in the tens of thousands. I struggled, but it was well worth it to me. Going to Patriots games allowed me to "escape" the hardships I was enduring in my life.
I am now a homeowner and a husband. I have more bills and more responsibilities, but remain a loyal Patriots fan/customer.
However, this year has been quite frustrating. I was contacted by a fellow fan in Section 130, and he wanted me to write about this season-ticket holder hostage situation.
The Patriots expect me and fellow season-ticket holders to pay for a product that may never take the field this season. They want payment in full, or you lose your tickets. No exceptions. I don't know how many people pay for a product/service that may not be delivered to them.
I received the following email from the Kraft family to "ease my pain" and quell the feeling of uncertainty:
As a Season Ticket Holder, you hold an elite position among Patriots fans, so we wanted to communicate directly with you regarding the recent expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement—the contract between the league and the labor union representing the players.
As you may know, for the past three weeks, the NFL and the players' union have been in mediation working to ensure a healthy future for the National Football League. Going into the negotiations, we remained very optimistic that an agreement could be reached if both sides were committed to negotiating.
Last week, the league and the owners presented the players' union with a comprehensive proposal that we believe was fair and benefited both parties. We hoped it would serve as a basis to continue negotiating in good faith toward a final agreement. This proposal gave the players many benefits and off-season scheduling changes that they had been seeking. It also offered a 14% increase in compensation, representing a total of $19-20 billion over the next four seasons. Unfortunately, the players' union walked away from mediation and the ongoing negotiations last Friday, without responding to this proposal. Rather than working collaboratively, they chose to initiate litigation against the clubs.
While disappointed by their action to decertify and file a lawsuit, we remain confident that an agreement will be reached and that the 2011 season will be played. The NFL, the owners and the New England Patriots organization remain committed to collective bargaining and reaching a new agreement with the players' union.
We know that many Season Ticket Holders are feeling frustrated by our inability to finalize a deal with the players' union. We apologize for any role we played in that. Please know that we are working diligently to assure that NFL operations get back to "normal" as soon as possible.
As always, we greatly appreciate your support of the Patriots and will continue to keep you informed of any developments as they arise. We encourage you to stay up-to-date on the progress of these negotiations via www.nfllabor.com. If you have any other questions, please contact the ticket office at 508-543-1776 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience and understanding."
"We know that many Season Ticket Holders are feeling frustrated by our inability to finalize a deal with the players' union. We apologize for any role we played in that. Please know that we are working diligently to assure that NFL operations get back to "normal" as soon as possible."
This is by far my favorite part of the "personal" email.
The Krafts know we are frustrated, but rather than combat those feelings of frustration, they frustrate us even more by asking for money in a time of uncertainty. Instead of extending the payment deadline or at least explain the refund policy, they play the "owners should be viewed as ambassadors of the people" card.
I still have not received one single communication about what is going to happen to my money if they don't play. I actually found out from Michael Felger and Scott Zolak on 98.5 the Sports Hub that we will receive a full refund of the game ticket and one percent interest.
Wow! 89 cents on my $89 ticket. God bless your souls! I wish my credit card company charged me that much interest!
As a loyal customer of the Patriots for almost two decades, wouldn't you think the ownership would be a little bit compassionate? They have billions of dollars under their mattresses, and I have to roll coins to pay for my season tickets.
I hope you enjoy rolling around in my money as I watch you wage your war of greed against the players.