2011 NFL Lockout: Detroit Lions Staff Pay Cuts Unwarranted and Unwise

Pancho SmithCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks on from the side line during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field on September 26, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Vikings defeated the Lions 24-10.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Just when many Lions fans have finally begun to allow themselves to feel proud of their team once again after it has been AWOL from the playoffs for over a decade, the owner of our franchise decides to throw ice water on our enthusiasm.

It turns out that Bill Ford Sr. (you know, the guy responsible for inflicting Matt Millen on the Motor City for eight long, long years) is one of only seven owners to inflict lockout-related punishment on their front office and coaching staff.

According to a June 13th story by the Associated Press, the Lions are among only seven NFL teams to institute pay cuts and/or unpaid furloughs for its front office and coaching staff personnel.

The other penny-wise-but-pound-foolish franchises are Miami, Buffalo, the Jets, Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Arizona.

The same article informs us that:

"Several team owners, particularly John Mara of the Giants, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf, and Jim Irsay of the Colts, have been adamant about avoiding such reductions.

"I try to stay focused in the now."

"I just don't anticipate that sort of thing," Irsay said. "My feeling is I'm interested in good morale around here. I look at someone who's making $40,000, $50,000 a year, who has rent to pay, and I don't see it for me as an owner to be asking them for anything."

Contrast that statement with the one attributed by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press to the Lions President Tom Lewand, who recently said:

"As I’ve said repeatedly, any decisions we’ve made, the impact will start with me, with Jim, with Martin and extend through the organization."

"And proportionately, it is affecting the entire organization, starting with us. ... As I said before, the kind of sacrifices that Bill Ford has made in his professional career is the same kind of sentiment that’s carried throughout our organization during difficult times.”


Why punish Mayhew and Schwartz? And especially, why penalize the rest of the Lions staff?

Not even close to proportional.

Sorry. Are fans supposed to believe that Bill Ford, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, is on any basis, equivalent to the guys making $40,000 to $50,000 a year in his football organization that he is squeezing now for money?

Ludicrous. Needs to be immediately corrected.

Pay them Bill. Now. You will never be one of the guys we really root for, especially not now. Don’t even try to equate your circumstances with any others. It won’t work and will only hurt your credibility.

The very least that you can do to convince us that the Lions are on an upward trajectory is to ensure us that you give a damn about the morale of your front office and coaching staff by continuing to pay them during this period of uncertainty!

You’re a very rich man. Our Lions staff and front office guys are not. Stop punishing them!

Are you listening, Bill Ford Jr.?