The NFLPA has decertified and will challenge the team owners in court. Both sides have revved back up their posturing and the NFLPA Executive Director fired the first salvo with his six-minute diatribe last week claiming that the owners don’t trust the players. I believe the owners trust the players as people and as their employees, but the owners don’t trust the union. I wouldn’t either.
For the past twenty-four years, since the 1987 lockout, both the owners and players have seen the game they love, and the game that their country loves most, turn into a multibillion dollar worldwide sport. Almost 1/8 of the world’s population watches the Super Bowl and there is no way of knowing how many people follow the games on the internet with the live feeds now available. Yet, we come to the cliff again because the Union wants to see the owners books. That will never happen and it never should. DeMaurice Smith said in his speech to reporters that any business where the owners of the business tell the employees, (paraphrasing) “you have to do your job or you will be let go” is unfair and a business like that will never succeed. It is obvious DeMaurice Smith is unfamiliar with Capitalism.
Unions were created for worker protection and for working standards. They were not created to see ownership’s financials. I have no right and no business asking my owner for his financials because I was thankful that he decided to hire me. I, like the majority of the United States, work everyday trying to grow that same business because I believe in what we are doing. The play for seeing the financials has nothing to do with working conditions but it does have everything to do with the growth of the union.
As I have written before, a union can only achieve what ownership is willing to give it. The manuever to see the financials is about the union learning how much money is behind curtain number three that they could possibly get their hands on. I wrote previously that one of the solutions would be for the owners to pony up money for retired players and veterans and their offer to the union included an 82 million dollar fund to veterans (see video)NFL Labor Pains. The offer by the owners addresses rookie salaries, veterans and other areas they are willing to concede to union. It is a fair offer.
NFL Network Analyst Michael Lombardi is entirely correct when he says that this is about seeing the financials. He also makes an astute assessment that Gene Upshaw, the late NFLPA Executive Director and great Oakland Raider offensive lineman, guided the union to where it is today by not seeing the books. The owners don’t want to see a lockout. They want football because they have put their lives on the line financially for this game and do everyday so the players can play and the fans can come and watch. Without an owner of any business willing to risk his financial position there are no jobs for anyone either in sports or business.
Long gone are the days when the players had second jobs or went to Graduate School after the season. It is all about the money now, and now it is a reality that the union is fighting for more control; if this were not so, there would be no reason to not accept the owners offer.