I don’t know what is more annoying about the lockout, the fact that judges are involved at all, or that one judge makes a ruling and then it is overturned by a different group of judges. The lockout has been overturned in court! No, it hasn’t! It has for the time being! No, it really hasn’t! It looks like the latest courtroom decision has gone against the players. The owners get their permanent stay until some appeal is heard. Am I right in saying that no one is paying attention to this other than the owners, Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith? There’s only one question people want answered and that is, are they going to be playing in September?
All these hearings do is drag out the process and give people false hope. When the lockout was briefly lifted during the draft you saw exactly how pointless the involvement of the courts was. So players were allowed into the buildings. They could look at a play book, maybe watch a tape or two, but no one was allowed to work out. Not one single player got near a weight or anything that might cause an injury or guarantee an off-season work out clause. The owners let the players back in their exclusive country club, but then wouldn’t give them a tee time, a locker, a reservation in the dining room, or even the code to get into the gated parking area. They basically told the courts, you can rule whatever you want, but we’re not ending this thing until we get our way. There’s always somewhere else to go with an appeal, or whatever, and that buys time. That’s all the owners want. Wait these players out.
And the players should realize that the courts aren’t their best avenue here. Who has ever heard of something being resolved quickly through legal action? I know they are getting desperate, but this was nothing but false hope. The lifted lockout was overturned, now for good, and the appeal is probably not going to go their way either. The solution to this thing isn’t going to come from a judge. It’ll come when the sides get together and one side caves when they can’t hold out any longer. That side is almost certainly going to be the players. This is because the owners have more money, more power, and seem in this case to be a bunch of insufferable a-holes.
I was out at dinner the other night and there was a woman at a nearby table who seemed to be physically incapable of shutting her mouth. It was constantly open and any manner of nonsense continued to pour out of it at ridiculously high volumes. The most surprising thing was, the other five people at her table didn’t appear to be aware that they were sitting the most annoying person in Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’d catch bits of conversation, gems like: you know cats can get pregnant from two different male cats at the same time? And, did you know her daughter was named after an Ewok something or other? Anyway, getting back to my point, she spouts off that all professional athletes are overpaid–especially baseball players. Immediately I want to scream in her face, tell her to get a clue, to shut up, but I didn’t.
I realized, though, that most people don’t realize how rich the owners are and how profitable owning one of these teams can be (or at the very least it is buried in the back of their mind). I guess the constant publication of the players’ salaries puts those numbers on the tip of your tongue, but there is usually one guy signing all those checks. Someone just bought the Astros for 680 million dollars. The Astros! Most NFL owners are billionaires, the guy who sold the Astros turned over a 1/2 billion dollar profit on his original investment. The players are not overpaid. The owners can afford it, especially in the NFL, but they don’t want to just be able to afford it. They want the exponential growth. They want the obscene money. They want to keep the players at arm’s length. And, they probably will succeed.
The NFL owners have circled up, pulled in tightly around their billions, and they are going to protect their cash cows. The players have much less money, probably lack the conviction of the owners, and as evidenced by the ramblings of a local cat fertility expert…are nowhere near garnering any real support in the public. Sure, we might glance at an article about NFL players exploring other areas for income…but no one really cares. That’s the honest truth, isn’t it? People are just selfish. Play the damn game. They will eventually, the players will accept their fate, and we’ll get back to football–hopefully without the help of any more judges.