I love football. I hope it goes away for a year or two.
Articles on CBA negotiations, decertification and revenue sharing have just begun to dominate the sites bookmarked on my web browser and many experts predict a long road to hoe for football fans. Maybe it’s a pessimistic approach, but I’ve already reached the end of my road.
I realize I’m jumping the gun a bit here and that there’s still plenty of time for the owners and the players union to shake hands and share a pie, but I’m angry already.
Just because we all knew a dispute was coming doesn’t mean there has to be a dispute.
We’ve been through the lock-out /strike shuffle before many times as sports fans. If there is a work stoppage in the NFL, everyone knows that football will be back. It’s just a matter of whether or not the latest battle will drag out long enough to postpone our Sundays. If there is no NFL football for a while, I can take it.
There isn’t a single person involved in these labor negotiations who gives a damn about the fans. In my opinion, there isn’t one owner, one commissioner, one player, one lawyer who actually is worried about anything other than making money. Otherwise, there would always be football.
If negotiations go well and there is an agreement reached soon, I will be a happy football fan. I am really hoping to enjoy April’s draft without the looming thought of the third overall pick possibly having to wait a year to play for my favorite team. The owners and players both stand to lose a lot of money if the season is delayed or missed. Perhaps that threat may expedite signatures and ratification.
If not, good. I’ll be fine. I have a life. I have other sports. I’ll get over a lack of NFL football by the middle of September. As frustrated millionaire players use the media to point fingers at billionaire owners, citing a need to take care of their families, I’ll be busy spending time with mine. My heart will glow with the realization that some of that money being lost will never be recovered. I hope the process hits them all where it hurts.
I’ve given a lot of my money and emotion to sports. I’ll never forget sneaking my Walkman into the Hills Department store bathroom I was cleaning in 1994, tuning in to WGR 550 to get updates on the NHL lockout and praying that there would be hockey. It was a pathetic scene. I won’t be that person again. I can’t care that much anymore.
I do realize that a lockout would not only hurt the wealthy. There are plenty of people employed by these organizations who cannot afford to go a month without a check. For these people, there is no war chest. I hope for a resolution for them alone, and I think it’s sad that the people who least can afford to be hurt by this greed will be the first ones sent home to sweat it out.
This isn’t one of those idle threats about never watching the NFL again. I’m not going to stop wearing officially licensed gear while taking in a Sunday ticket or two. I just refuse to be a hostage. I’m going on the offensive. I want there to be a lockout. If I have to clog up my sportscasts with labor news and read stories about the two sides breaking negotiations for a 2-hour lunch, I want both sides to pay. I want players and owners to be unhappy.
I want Paul Allen’s stadium to sit empty on the first Sunday after Labor Day, echoing with the silence from thousands of 12-dollars beers going unsold. I want Ray Lewis to fret over the thought of missing the end of his career because of a few percentage points. I can’t say I don’t care, because I do care. I care for everyone involved to be punished. This dispute doesn’t have to come to a lockout. Fans pay a lot of money to watch and enjoy a game. It’s disrespectful for the league and its players to be so greedy to not have taken care of this matter sooner. It is, after all, the fans’ money that they are dividing.
So, go ahead and fight over our money, guys. We’re not going anywhere. I sincerely wish you all to refuse us your football league. Do me a favor, though and shut up. I don’t care to hear how it’s going. Just tell me when it’s over.