The NFL Crises: Doc Thompson Attacks “Collective Bargaining” and wants to start a sports union!

With the NFL Labor Dispute looming the largest casualty of this “collective bargaining” issue between the players and the NFL owners is the fans.

Doc Thompson discusses many of the NFL issues and introduces the concept of a sports fan union to protect the fans from labor disputes.

Here are the issues involved in the NFL Labor dispute. You can see the original article here from John McClain.

Key issues in the NFL labor dispute:

Q: What is the difference between a lockout and a strike?
A: The owners lock out the players. The players go on strike. The players went on strike in 1982 and 1987.
Q: What are the primary issues behind a lockout?
A: The NFL generates approximately $9 billion a year. The owners take $1 billion off the top for expenses. The players get 59.6 percent of the remaining revenue. The owners believe that’s too much. The owners want to take another $1 billion off the top. The owners also want an 18-game schedule and a rookie wage scale that would cap salaries for draft choices. No top pick would be guaranteed $50 million, as St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford was last year.
Q: What happens when the lockout begins?
A: There can be no contact between players and their teams. They’re not supposed to communicate. No players will be signed, including rookies, and no trades can be made.
Q: What about players who are undergoing treatment for injuries?
A: Players are on their own, but teams were able to set up a place for players to undergo rehabilitation.
Q: What about players working out, lifting weights and doing what would have been organized team activities?
A: Players are on their own as far as finding a place to lift and work out. Eventually, they’ll practice on their own. When the lock-out ends, those in the best shape should start faster.
Q: How long is the lockout likely to last and could we miss games?
A: The NFL lost seven games in 1982 and four in 1987 because of player strikes. This time, both sides would lose a lot of money. Some owners are determined to get back a large portion of revenue that goes to players. The players will have to give something back.
Q: Will there be a draft in April?
A: Yes. Players aren’t union members until they sign and pay dues.
Q: Can drafted players sign?
A: No.
Q: Can other players sign?
A: No.
Q: When do players start losing money?
A: Those with roster bonuses in March won’t be paid. That’s more than $200 million. Players draw game checks over 17 weeks, starting when the regular season begins in September.
Q: Won’t the 500 players who’d be free agents and those who would have gotten the $200 million in roster bonuses force the union to make a deal?
A: They might try to, but they’ve been warned for two years to save their money. The union will do a deal when it believes it has the best one possible.
Q: What about the ruling this week that the owners can’t spend the television network money they’re getting?
A: A special master ruled in favor of the owners. The players filed an appeal. Federal Judge David Doty ruled in favor of the players, saying the owners can’t spend the money. For instance, owners need money to make payments on their stadiums, practice facilities, etc. They’ll have to find other revenue. The owners will appeal Doty’s ruling, which could take months.
Q: Will it help for the union to decertify?
A: Every team gave the union the right to decertify. Unions can’t sue their bosses. If there’s no union, the players can sue the owners and hope they win in court. That’s a risky business for both sides. If players decertify, they can always reform as a union.
Q: Is there any individual in the NFL who has the power and respect to influence both sides and help get a deal done?
A: In 1982 and 1987, Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney played an instrumental role in helping settle the player strikes. But he’s older, and he’s the ambassador to Ireland and may not have another fight in him. Rooney said during the playoffs he was against the 18-game schedule because the players don’t want it, and he’d rather make less money than force it down the players’ throats. No wonder the players respect him so much. As it stands now, commissioner Roger Goodell is the most likely candidate because he’s respected by both sides.

The shame in all this discussion is that the fans just want to look forward to football. Most people who spend their Sunday afternoons drinking beer and watching football would be willing to give an arm and a leg to have the opportunity to play professional football, let alone be paid so well that they’d never have to work again.

The NFL situation better be solved soon, but I don’t have faith in a resolution. I personally think that the owners will lock out the season because the upfront costs of rookie players is just too great, and there isn’t any way the owners can guarantee that the money will find its way to veteran players. And my thoughts about “collective bargaining” are the same as they are for the public sector workers. I’m not a fan.

My advice to the players is to take what the owners offer and get on the practice field and start playing football, because the fans want their football. Give it to them!

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior