Fans have a severe ostrich-like attitude about this lockout. The two articles I have written about this have gone largely unread, 90 percent less than my others, because I keep hammering on the fact the 2011 season is probably history, and possibly 2012 too.
Unpleasant news? Yes. Accurate. I think so.
And increasingly so. Edward DeBono, a brilliant professor, asked himself one day, "Why do smart people think so poorly?" His answer: "They learn to argue, not think."
His solution: work together on the pluses of an argument; the minuses; and then the interesting points. He underscored that smart people make their largest contribution in the interesting point area, not in the "pluses" or "minuses."
Robert Kraft thinks very clearly. He has been saying over and over again: "We should be able to work this out." We need to get away from the theater of it all. We need to get rid of the lawyers, and by implication, the advocates, and get the business people working head to head to resolve matters.
This approach also avoids a lot of yelling....
So, let's look at the pluses about why the players will lose and the season might disappear.
First, companies are worth about 15-20 percent more if not unionized. This may be right or wrong, but it is true. So it makes it worth $100 million or more for each owner to try to eliminate the union. That is no small number folks. Even for billionaires. And remember, the union is decertified now, so does NOT exist. The owners only need a "tie" to keep it that way. Much easier to get in a chess game, and this is rather like that, than a win.
Secondly, as Robert Kraft says, this is one of the best businesses to be in. So, why wouldn't an owner seek to keep it intact and grow it?
Thirdly, who needs a bunch of mouthy kids giving you a hard time? Your own kids can do that.
Fourth, what good is being a billionaire if you can't strut your stuff.
First, nature abhors a vacuum and people will find something else to do with their time. Sports are 24/7 now.
Secondly, the toxic environment will detract from revenues around the game, such as TV rights and licensing deals.
Third, smaller market teams will have more attendance problems. Visiting Jacksonville to see the Jags and Eagles last year, we scored a couple of tickets below face value. There will be more of that if and when the games begin again.
Fourth, the players may win.
First, everyone is getting bored by this.
Secondly, if they do play, lots more injuries will occur because players won't be in shape as they have been in past years.
Third, the whole thing isn't as much fun as it used to be.
Fourth, time and patience benefits the owners: they have decades to win; the players, only years.
In sum, the players are a bit like the Palestinians, expecting someone, anyone, to help them get what they want. The Israeli's are in control. The Palestinians want something the Israeli's have; the Israeli's don't want anything the Palestinians have.That makes it an almost unwinnable game.
The players and owners are in the same situation. The owners can wait the players out for a few years with no real loss. When the owners drop the hammer, they can get cut rate talent for quite some time.
Again, remember DeBono. It is not about arguing; it is about determining the pluses, minuses, and interesting points.
The owners win just like Israel unless they fold. And Israel has been at it 63 years, getting stronger by the decade.
One suggestion for each side: the owners do best by standing pat; the players do best by hiring a real union, the UAW or Teamsters—they never would have let this happen. If they can fix the car industry, to everyone's advantage, this is a piece of cake.