United They Stand:NFL Players Triumph, Owners Make Senseless Promises

Chuck StanecContributor IIIApril 26, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11:  NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith (3rd L, wearing hat) walks with a group of player representatives as they arrive for labor talks at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 11, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a labor dispute as a deadline looms at the end of a seven day extension of talks.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Yesterday, Judge Susan Nelson ruled that the NFL Lockout was illegal and allowed players to return to work. The ruling came down around 6 p.m. EST Monday and only moments later, the NFL owners released their own statement.

The statement said that the owners "promise" to file a timely appeal, and they felt the Eighth Circuit Court would rule in their favor granting a stay of Judge Nelson's 89-page decision.


Now they are just insulting us. How can the owners ostensibly lash out through the media, to us—the fans—and promise to file an appeal that puts the lockout back in force? Do they think we are idiots? Are they trying to get us on their side?

In the biggest legal victory, not just for the players but the fans, work can resume. Players can show up to their facilities and get down to business. Coaches can meet with players and break in the playbook. Business may not be resuming as usual, but at least it is resuming.

Somehow, the NFL owners and their representatives think promising us an appeal and have the lockout reinforced is something we want as fans. Are they kidding?

For the first time in my life, I'm finally seeing the players do the right thing and not just saying it.

How many times have you found yourself sitting with friends, maybe throwing back a cold one and announcing that you'd "play the game for free"? I've lost count. I said once that I'd play the game of football for a case of beer and a hotdog.

The NFLPA sued the owners so they could play. They went to battle with them in a court of law to do the one thing they are the best at—playing football.

If anything, this small victory only endears the players more to the fans. For the first time, the fans may be on the side of the players because the players are the ones interested in getting back to football.

If they owners want to start promising things to us, why not start with lowering ticket prices making it more affordable for a mother and/or father to take their children to a game?

How about promise to make concessions less expensive? How about promise to do any number of things that benefit the fans rather than argue over $9 billion and how they need an extra $1 billion in the split?

You know what you can do with your extra $1 billion? Like Chevy Chase said in Christmas Vacation, "Bend over and I'll show ya."

When it comes down to it, we pay the owners and not the players. We pay the owners for our tickets, our food and drinks, the jerseys, shirts and other memorabilia.  We don't pay the players, the owners do and we pay the owners.

Then, the owners have the audacity to ask for more from us? They ask us to be OK with no football.  Maybe they should ask us to stop breathing while they are at it.

With 100 percent conviction, I can tell you, if the league canceled the season and I found out about a flag football game going down at a local high school field between the Browns and Steelers, I would be there—and I'd happily pay for it.

The owners are spitting in our faces and telling us it's rain.

What used to be a very even line in the sand is no more. Where fans used to be split, they have come together. It's now 32 owners versus the world, and after yesterday, put another slash on the side of the world.

The best thing the owners could do now is to not promise any of us anything. In the words of Danny Noonan's girlfriend in Caddyshack, "Thanks for nothing."