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Ross raises serious questions in USA Today

The NFL spring meeting adjourned in Indianapolis on Wednesday but before he left town, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross talked to USA Today and addressed Miami's cost-cutting measures.

Look, the cost-cutting measure are what they are. Big business in America is hurting and it is taking measures to protect itself. So are local and state governments for that matter. It is a sad fact of life in today's bad economy and employees, such as those working for the Dolphins or Miami Herald for that matter, are always free to go work elsewhere if they are disgruntled about cost-cutting measures.

That said, the USA Today interview with Ross is eyebrow-raising for a couple of reasons.

First: Ross shows hints of a person suffering from buyer's remorse.

"The emotions of wanting to own a team were greater than the fact that this might be coming," Ross said of his purchase despite the looming lockout that everyone knew was coming. "You always figured that something like this, you know, it's going to get resolved. It's a question of when. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."

Ross paid $1.1 billion for the Dolphins in 2008-2009 and that investment dropped in value almost immediately as the economy tanked, particularly the real estate economy in South Florida. He's mentioned how that wasn't a great investment short-term. Wednesday, he mentioned how the work stoppage is not a great time to be an owner.

"Who the hell wants to own a team and not play?" he said. "It's about having a system that works. It's not about a bunch of greedy owners. It's a bunch of players looking to see how much they can really get."

And that leads me to troubling issue No. 2.

Ross doesn't call the NFL players greedy outright. But he implies the problem with getting a new collective bargaining agreement is, again, "a bunch of players looking to see how much they can really get."

Isn't that another way to say greedy?

Ross, who deals often with unions as a New York city businessman, is careful not to alienate them. But he's not quite as careful about alienating the players because apparently he doesn't equate their union with labor unions.

"We negotiate with unions all the time, and there are issues there," Ross said. "But they're not the same types of issues. When you're dealing with guys earning over $1 million a year — the average salary is, what, $1.87 million? — you're not talking about the same kind of labor issues. Are these really labor issues? These are not labor issues.

"There should be no sympathy in the labor movement in America for these ballplayers. It's a different deal."

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