Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Lockout Message

So the NFL negotiations have ended for the weekend, and won't resume until Monday, because why the hell would you want to hurry such a thing now, really.
Today, as part of my day job, I read a piece that looked at things from a media buyer's point of view, and the marvelously simple-minded take on it was that this is just a matter of how athletes make too much money. As if athletes do anything on this earth, really, other than take the money that the owners are willing to pay, of their own free will.

Now, consider this as a business, and not as a matter of millionaires playing a game, because the amount of money that labor makes isn't really germane to a damn thing here. We are talking about individually owned franchises that almost inevitably sell for more than they were bought for. We are also talking about a business in which no team -- not a stinking one -- has failed and gone under. The worst thing that happens is that a league takes over a team and the poor ex-owner just doesn't get to make as big of a profit as usual.

My heart bleeds. Yours too, I imagine. And may we all find opportunities in life to be so abundant.

There is no corollary, to my knowledge, of how a labor force that does not enjoy lifetime contracts, tenure or benefits that are beyond the pale of sanity, for affiliates that constantly appreciate in value, has ever gotten to the point where they have to give back money as part of a clearly colluded act of bad faith negotiation. The NFL makes tons of money; the NBA could if the owners simply stopped making breathtakingly stupid contract decisions, or existed in an atmosphere where anything short of a championship is seen as a failure.

The only reason this is not seen as a completely cut and dried case of management malfeasance is that the media that would report on this is, completely and utterly, complicit and corrupt. The top four broadcast networks all televise the NFL. The largest sports network also televises the NBA, as does a host of regional networks and Turner's properties. There is no mainstream news organization that is not in bed with these people, and those that aren't want to make nice with the owners anyway, since they are the ones with the tickets, the locker room access, the All-Star Games and Super Bowl celebrations and so on, and so on.

The owners have the fun houses; the players are simply passing through. The media are supposed to protect the public interest; the public interest is that games are played. The owners are, in two out of three of the major leagues in this country, preventing that from happening. And no one, outside of you and me and others whose opinion and dollars do not spend nearly far enough to carry any importance, is calling them on it.

Remember this the next time you hear that the media is liberal, that it exists to do anything more than protect old money. Remember this the next time you hear how we absolutely, positively need to make hard choices in which we cut the living benefits of the aged poor, rather than do anything to lose military expenditures or return income taxes on the wealthy to anything but their current historically low rates.

The owners are here to screw you. The media are not telling you the truth. And the players and public are going to take it without lube. For as long as the owners want, and the media allows. And anyone who tells you different and isn't getting paid... is a damned fool. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Play me out, Frank.


snd_dsgnr said...

To a certain extent one can understand the owners point when it comes to the NBA. There are teams that lose money, even the player's union when arguing about the accounting methods used by the league admit that there are at least a few teams in the red.

Additionally there is something unseemly about the current setup in the NBA that allows a player to sign a big contract coming off of a career year, and then proceed to sleepwalk through the next few years knowing that the team is stuck with him.

With the NFL though, there is absolutely no legitimate excuse on the owner's side for this lockout. None. They're making more money than they've ever made, there's already a relatively hard cap in place to limit salary growth, and contracts are not guaranteed. They're making money hand over fist and it could be argued that they've already been screwing over the players in the process.

The NFL lockout is as baldfaced a money grab on the part of a group of already supremely wealthy men as I've seen in my life. They haven't even really attempted to disguise it as anything else.

DMtShooter said...

If you sign a bad character guy to a big contract and he dogs it, that's just bad coaching + bad GM work. Plenty of guys signed big money deals and kept trying; if you miss this as a pattern, it's as much a fault of the team as the dog.

Ever notice how only labor is overpaid?

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