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Which is right side of NFL labor dispute? Our side

The NFL labor dispute is, to put it delicately, crap.

The sides are vying for your support of their cause now and I would advise you to do to them what both have done to you -- turn your back on them. Dismiss them both. Be disgusted by both. Disagree with both. In a tug-of-war over money, collapse the middle of the rope and make them both pay!

I know, most media have come down on the side of the players, while fewer have agreed with owners. I cannot find a tent in either camp.

Owners are crying the economic collapse that befell the country just over two years ago made the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed in 2006, obsolete. They argue they are in financial pain. Yet, they don't want a fully transparent review of their financials by their employees to prove what they're saying is completely true.

I suspect this is because the owners are crying poverty while still turning a profit. They're still flying their private jetliners, still collecting enormous sums from TV revenue, still enjoying overwhelming popularity at the turnstiles, still watching their franchises rise in value, and most notably, still making gobs money.

I present to you the last Super Bowl in Dallas. The same NFL which is asking players for a substantial give-back and rollback of shared revenues made a record amount of money from its latest championship game. It was a financial monster compared to other Super Bowls, a league source is telling me. That, and that alone, is the reason the Super Bowl will likely return to Dallas within a decade or so.

Money. Lots of it.

So how is a league that pays its commissioner $12 million annually hurting for money, again? How is a $9 billion business that is perpetually in the black strapped for cash?

The players, meanwhile, have tried to bind themselves to a bogus class-warfare argument that is specious at best, and an outright lie at worst. Their argument is that they are fine with the last agreement and all they want is the continued good of the game. Their argument is that it is the greedy owners who are asking for give-backs, thus it's the owners ruining things for the fans. They reject the notion that this fight pits millionaires versus billionaires because many of them don't make a million dollars. Their argument is they're just faithful employees trying to do good work at a fair wage.

And that is ridiculous.

First, the economy did tank in late 2008 and throughout 2009. It's not very much better now. The price of doing business is up. Business all around the country are cutting back. That affects workers. Some got laid off. Some got furloughed. Some got fired because their jobs disappeared. Business in America is hurting to some degree or another.

So what makes NFL players believe they should be immune from those truths affecting practically everyone else?

I also have a hard time buying the players' classic class-warfare approach when, indeed, they are paid more now, enjoy more power now, collect more benefits now, and have more opportunities outside the sport now than they've ever had in their history. I have a hard time buying these guys are just like you and me. These guys are at a level the average American cannot even begin to comprehend.

The union filed a lawsuit against the league on Friday. Among the faces of that suit were Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Let's see, last I saw Brady, he was vacationing in Rio De Janiero with his super model wife. Yeah, he's hurting. Last I saw Manning, he was a cartoon figure on a Reebok commercial that his multi-million-dollar endorsement contract allows him to do, thereby augmenting his multi-million-dollar NFL contract.

And what about the schlubs at the bottom of the salary totem pole, you ask? The NFL minimum salary in 2010 was $310,000.

Despite collecting more than that, New York Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson felt compelled to move himself, his wife and his baby in with his mom recently because he was worried he wouldn't be able to make ends meet during a strike or lockout.

It was sobering that this grown man is so concerned about his family's immediate future. But I really wonder what he did with the $390,000 he made last year. Or the estimated $410,200 he collected in 2009 as a rookie -- signing bonus included, of course.

Think about this for a second: How long do you think you can live on $800,200? Suppose Slauson spent half of that the past two years. If he were to pay himself $200,000 per year -- a comfortable living by any standard -- he could wait out an NFL lockout or strike for two years.

Oh, and when this labor crap is over and everyone is earning again, Slauson still has $1 million left on the final two years of his contract.

Other players? They're not hurting, folks.

Go on twitter and search out 100 or so NFL players on the social media site. Their timelines show they're flying to the NBA All-Star weekend, they're traveling abroad, they're buying cars, they're going back and forth between their in-season and off-season homes.

How many of you have spent the past couple of months doing that?

These guys don't live in the real world but they want you to believe they're like you to gain your support and sympathy. The financial gap between them and you is as wide, in most cases, as the athletic gap between them and you. (And I know that's wide because I doubt any of you can run a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash and bench press 225 pounds 20 times.)

I say all that to say this: This labor dispute will get resolved. It is ultimately about money and the only reason it is happening now is because this is the dead time for money in the league. Players aren't getting paid their base salaries now and owners aren't collecting game-day revunues.

To put this labor dispute in real-world terms, it would be like 9-to-5 workers striking and a factory owner locking the doors of the plant at around midnight and calling that a shutdown.

Me? I'll start worrying about this thing around 8:59 a.m., or about the time work is actually supposed to begin. That's when folks are actually going to start being invested in the situation because their money will then be at stake.

All the barking you hear about NFL lockout and union decertification has, frankly, no bite. It is a negotiation tactic between the parties. And when they turn to you for support, shouting that the game is at risk, it is basic, straight-up fear-mongering.

Me? I have a hard time being upset that the millionaires are upset about income in their post-career years. You know what? Live off the money you earned and hopefully saved during those God-gifted years you had in the league. Or, here's a real radical idea, do like the rest of us and get a job. A real job. One that pays less than $100,000 a year like the rest of us. Use that college education that your athletic skills got you for free.

Me? I also have a hard time feeling compassion for the owners. Are you kidding me? These guys were sooooo invested in these negotiations, a majority of them never attended a mediation session for whatever reason. These guys all own franchises worth between $700 million and $1.5 billion. Sell if you don't think the business is lucrative enough. Get out!

Me? I think I'll concern myself with things that actually matter right now. The Middle East is on fire. Significant portions of the Far East are under water and under threat of nuclear plant meltdowns. Politicans over here are crooks and liars. In South Florida, a little girl was found murdered in the back of pick up truck. Those are real problems, folks, not this NFL labor strife.

I'm more concerned with what's happening on FOX and CNN than on ESPN and NFL Network. I'll concern myself with my faith and my family. My football? It will not go away despite all the rhetoric and legal wrangling you'll be hearing in the coming weeks.

Football will be back in the Fall as surely as the seasons will change. That's when it'll be time to root for someone again. Now, during this ludicrous labor dispute? I refuse to back either side.

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>THE PLAYERS IS FOOTBALL.
----------------------------
And you is stuuuupid.

Had to weigh in on this because in all the commentary I've read, one important point keeps getting overlooked: the owners really don't have to care what the players think. Think of the owners as 32 of the richest people in the country. The value of owning a sports team has nothing to do with profits and losses, any more than the value of an owner's Ferrari collection or yachts or horse farms. Owners collect these things as toys. Anyone who thinks that football (or soccer or any other pro athlete) players are anything more to an owner than another thoroughbred racehorse doesn't understand the mindset of the wealthy at that level. Only in Green Bay does the profitability of the franchise make a difference to the economy of the community. I remember the replacement games of 1987 (whatever happened to Kyle Mackey?) and people still paid to see those players. As fans, we have no influence on the process. As long as we get our football fix, what difference does it make?

dr. Roberts,

You should be a little more careful when you try to explain Socialism. You are rather ignorant on the subject of government and its many forms. You should get your facts straight.

Socialism is a form of government not a business structure. A government is the only entity that has the right to use force (waive a gun in your face). A socialist government enacts laws and rules that private business must follow. A socialist government steals property (money) from its producers and gives to its non-producers. A “true” capitalist government leaves business owners and citizenry free to pursue their own interests and keep the fruits of their labor. I say “true” because most people think America is a capitalist form of government. We were capitalist for approximately 100 years but that ended when the progressives took power in the early 1900’s.

The business owners decided (there was no use of force by the government) to structure the NFL in a way that encouraged consistency and stability by sharing revenue. It is not socialistic. People who work for the NFL chose to work for the NFL; there was no force. Everyone who bought an NFL team did so on their own free will, again no force.

Stop trying to fool the ignorant into thinking Socialism is a good thing for humanity by relating it to the NFL. When you don’t know something you shouldn’t pretend to know. If you do think you know what you are talking about it time to seriously open a book (non-socialist) and learn. You are certainly not a doctor and you demean the title for those that actually worked for it, unlike you.

Remember Hitler (a socialist) killed 12 million of his own, Stalin (a socialist) killed 20-30 million of his own and Mao (a socialist) killed 40 – 60 million of his own. Pol Pot (a socialist) killed 2 million of his own.

I think this is a total of 2 (maybe 3) posts EVER, that I liked by you, Mando! Good job. 2 (or 3) out of hundreds ain't too shabby.

But more importantly, you should use whatever pull in the industry you have to get this particular angle out in the open more, because you're right. Screw these money hungry jerk offs who are all trying to relate to the "every-man". None of them will ever know what it's like to be an "every-man", and yet they have the nerve to act like they do.

I side with the players on this one. And, in an attempt to be "fair" Armando shows his ignorance of basic economics and what happened. Even if the economy did tank in 2008, that means nothing if the NFL continued to prosper. It is their bottom line that matters. As for the cost of business going up - that is BS. Companies had to cut back because of less demand, which is not a problem with the NFL as it's product is actually more in demand. This means the NFL's cost of doing business has actually gone down.

If the owners suffered any during this downturn it is because they made bad investments with the money it earned and if that is so, then the cost should be shouldered by the owners, not the players.

Awesome! Could not say it any better. See you in August for training camp morons; cause if it goes longer than that they are dumber than I think. And I think they are pretty freakn stupid now!

Paul,

Unfortunately you showed you do not have a clue about economics. It’s called inflation. It hit every American; rich or poor. Armando didn’t attempt to be fair. He tried to paint an accurate portrayal of the facts. Yes the NFL continued to prosper but the dollars they brought in were worth less. Almost all Americans (with any net worth) try and use debt to offset their income. When inflation rears its ugly head it affects those investments. I would go into a further analysis but I know it will be a futile effort because you will have no clue what I am talking about. I probably lost you at inflation.

“Even if the economy did tank in 2008, that means nothing if the NFL continued to prosper. It is their bottom line that matters. As for the cost of business going up - that is BS.” This is a moronic statement. The dollars are worth less you twit. Yes they are collecting dollars with little value. Did you ever hear your grandmother say she could by a candy bar for a nickel? Our money was worth more, now it is worth less. Over the past 10 years the dollar has lost 30% of its value. We are on course to lose another 30% in the next 1 to 2 years.

“Companies had to cut back because of less demand, which is not a problem with the NFL as it's product is actually more in demand.”

Yes there is more demand but the dollars are worth less.

“This means the NFL's cost of doing business has actually gone down.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong… and STUPID! The cost goes up every year idiot. Did electricity go down? Did insurance go down? Do the players wanna be paid less? Did all the other employees get pay cuts in the NFL? Every expense increased making the cost of business more expensive.

Do us a favor Paul, stick you head back in the sand and let the big boys talk money. Don’t worry Paul they made something to help people like you… it’s called a BOOK! They even make one on economics so you don’t have to embarrass yourself on the blog next time.

Paul,

I forgot to mention the major increases in taxes that the owners pay. Since we are in a recession all governments want more tax revenue. To review for you little guy… taxes are an expense… when all your expenses go up the overall expense of doing business goes up. This is a compete contradiction to your statement about expenses decreasing. Get a clue and stop pretending to know what you are talking about.

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