I was surprised to see that the NFL has released their preseason schedule for the 2011-2012 season. Seems like a pretty bold move for a league who is currently being taken to court by its own players.
“Business as usual,” is what I was told by my season ticket representative when I asked why they were still requiring payments even though nobody is working. It is a “work” stoppage, so why should I be required to pay when the company I am paying is not working? I was assured a refund for any games canceled due to the current work stoppage. I was also assured that there would be no replacement players ala 1987 as this was a work stoppage and not a strike.
It would be one thing if they were simply requiring a deposit, however, they expect the payment in full by the end of June.
Fans are being taken for granted. The league and players are arguing so much amongst themselves that the 9 billion dollars they have been bickering over may have already turned into 8.5, and with every passing day, it gets just a little bit lower. If the season does not start on time, that number will drop faster than a pass thrown to Jerramy Stephens.
I like football better when it’s a sport and not a soap opera. One might find less drama in a junior high, girls’ bathroom than in the current NFL, and these forced mediations are going to only make things worse. I saw this quote in the Seattle Times about a weekago:
“While owners’ attorneys have declared mediation is most effectively done over the sides’ collective-bargaining disagreements, the players argue that working to settle the lawsuit filed by standout quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and other players is the best route to strike labor peace.”
It sounds like the two sides are even farther apart now than they were when negotions broke off the last time. They are currently fighting about what they want to fight about. This is a train wreck in the making. Bothe the owners and players have become so consumed with the revenue that they have neglected to remember its source: the fans.
I still picked up my tickets this year, but it was different. I had to convince myself to buy them for the first time. It was difficult to justify spending that much money on something that doesn’t seem to even acknowledge my existence. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt this way before and far worse: Supersonics R.I.P., but the NFL has been so good for so long, that I sometimes forgot that it was a business. The NFL had become great at sweeping things under the rug such as player life expectancy and concussion issues which have only recently been addressed by the NFL. And let’s not forget the hidden issue concerning performance enhancing drugs in the NFL which the owners have recently brought to the table as a result of the players court case against them.
I sure do miss the NFL, and I sincerely hope that this issue is resolved in a timely fashion.
As a fan of the NFL, I still have hope.
As a former NBA fan who has been tossed to the side and forgotten because I wasn’t willing to build a 3rd 500 million dollar facility in Seattle during one of the worst economic times in the past century, I have very little hope that this will get better before it gets a whole lot worse.
During this next round of negotiations, I am really hoping for the NFL and its Players to wake up and realize that they need each other. As far as the fans go, I stopped caring when everybody made 10 times as much money as I did and still couldn’t figure it out. All I know is that I am still paying for a product that does not exist and am feeling worse about it everyday.