I think it is easy to see the parallels. The NFLPA is the Public Unions leading the charge to keep collective bargaining in place for the workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. The NFL owners are the state legislators.
The simple fact that the players are in a union hurts them in the eyes of the NFL fan just as the public unions are sustaining damage in the eyes of the taxpayer. We don’t want to see the sport we love to watch and follow year round interrupted for one day or for one year. We want our football.
We, the fans, are the taxpayers in the states. We don’t want people to lose their job and we don’t want our schools shut down, but we desperately want a level economic playing field for all. I don’t mind some of my local taxes going to support public workers, but their tax percentage should reflect mine. We buy our health insurance separate as a family and I am responsible for my retirement. I feel it should be the same across the board. If the unions can negotiate wages that allow them to do the same, then that is the solution.
I personally think the answer in the NFL negotiation is a salary rate for years played set up by position played. The longer you stay in the league the more you should get paid. That would eliminate the rookie wages that are ridiculous and pay the veterans who have done their job well for a long time. Also, as physical as the game is, there has to be a medical system in place for veterans so we can stop situations like Dave Duerson and former Steeler center Mike Webster from happening. There is no reason to fight over this. This is ridiculous.
Football is a violent game, but it is a game and because of their position the owners need to show leadership and be the driving force behind the medical treatment and pensions for veterans. The players should contribute an equal percentage of their wages to the same program just like the public unions should contribute equal amounts.
Finally, it should be mandatory as part of the CBA that a percentage of the player’s wages be allocated to personal retirement programs that are separate from the pensions. This would be a nice step in eliminating veterans who find themselves broke financially and broken spiritually as they get older.
There is too much money and too much support for the game worldwide for this situation to not be fixed. I feel the owners have a better negotiating position in the eyes of the public just because of current times, but that cannot be a reason for not showing long term leadership and making things right.