For months we were warned of it. But for a long time we ignored the possibility. But now, the 2011 NFL Lockout is officially a reality. The NFL owners and the NFLPA and players cannot, among other things, decide how to split the estimated nine billion dollars in revenue that was received this year from fans like you and me. While a lot of fans like you and me wish they would just reach a resolution already so that the games can continue next year, at the same time each side does have legitimate beefs with the other.
Perhaps if the owners and the NFLPA each made some kind of a concession to the other the process towards a resolution could speed up faster. We are talking seventh-grade diplomatic skills here, not debating with a foreign country over nuclear weapons. So, with that, the purpose of this slide show is to examine what types of concessions and compromises both the NFLPA and the owners can make so that we, the fans, get a 2011 NFL season.
First of all, the owners need to realize that the players do have legitimate concerns. While the argument could be made that it is their choice to make a living in the brutal NFL, the players usually have health problems for years after playing in the NFL. Furthermore, not every player is a superstar and they should have their own health care system if they do not already (or an improved one). In any comparable job, such as a high-level executive job or a career in a law firm, there is almost always a decent health care plan in place.
The owners should offer a type of pension plan for retired players that will help them with problems they encounter with their health and such because there are aging retired Hall-of-Fame caliber players who are having difficulties paying their bills.
Since the players' concerns should be heard, and from a fan's standpoint are warranted, the first thing the owners should consider is to take the proposed 18-game schedule off the table. The players are not interested in this change because they are the ones who subject their bodies to the punishment and grind of an NFL season.
The owners claim that they want the players to contribute a little more out of their salary because they are losing money. By some accounts there is about nine billion dollars in revenue. The owners need to be willing to share just where they are losing money in a better fashion. Although some who read this will argue that they do not see a need to share any of the revenue information with the players, who by most accounts are fairly well-off themselves, the owners usually have made their fortunes in other areas, such as oil, gas, and telecommunications.
If the owners would be willing to share their ten years of accounting books with the players---or at least offer the past five years as a compromise---it would go a long way.
Although many individuals side with the NFLPA, they must take into account the ordinary people that make the day-to-day operations of a football franchise a success while they are going after the owners. The clean-up crew. The maintenance people. The ushers. The security guards. The people at the ticket booth. The people who take care of the locker room. The receptionists to the GM, vice president, and other people in the upper offices.
The NFLPA should realize that while the players do have rights, so do these other people, whose livelihoods may be at stake.
Frankly, to the average fan, the idea of the NFLPA attempting to convince individuals who have worked their whole entire lives to make it to the NFL boycott the draft because of their beef with the owners only makes them look bad.
The immediate image that comes to this author's mind is one of a three year-old trying to hold her breath during a temper tantrum.
There is an old late 70's/early 80's pop rock hit song by Dave Mason that goes a little something like this, "there ain't no good guy, there ain't bad guy, there's only you and me and we just disagree..."
A lot of the ordinary people such as you and me are not happy over this situation, and while we wouldn't expect the NFLPA to promise the moon to get a new CBA in place, we do expect there to be a 2011-12 NFL season. Both the NFLPA and the owners need to realize, that in the end, they are only cutting their own throat, because even now, almost 20 years later, there are still people that have not become fans of the MLB again after their work stoppage in 1994.
Will these young fans still be interesting in the NFL after the lockout (squabble, hissy fit, insert your own descriptive word here) is over?
Both of sides of this drama need to put a halt to all of this right now and get back to the bargaining table. If both sides would use some degree of diplomacy in this situation, perhaps the other side would not "put a wall up" and would be more willing to listen to their concerns. As long as the owners and the players are not talking, nobody wins. The owners do not win, the players do not win, and the fans definitely do not win.