When Good Business Goes Bad: The NFL Players Association

Earlier this month, I published a post on how the NFL Season would be cancelled in 2011.  I must admit, that statement is a far out one, even though players and staff are currently involved in a lockout (which means no business can be conducted) but with what I read today, I have no doubt that the NFL will forever be changed.  That change, will most certainly be negative.

To give you a quick recap, the players and owners have been fighting for the past 15 years on how the revenue of the league should be distributed.  The owners are entitled to 40%, the players 40% and the remaining 20% is what everyone is after.  A few months of negotiating in 2011 could not solve the problem and on March 11th 2011, a work stoppage was created.  Until the collective bargaining agreement (the contact between players and owners) is agreed upon, the stoppage will continue.  Considering how far apart negotiations are, professional football may be closed for a while.  Hell, the last proposal the owners sent over before the deadline was not even read by the players.  It was simply thrown away!

I argued that while both sides are to blame for this mess, the owners must ultimately win the battle in order to see progress in the NFL.  I guess you could say I sided with the owners plight, in that rising stadium costs, increased salaries for poor performance and inflation should allow them to receive a larger chunk of the debated 20%.  We are talking about $9 billion here so it’s a substantial reason to be negotiating.  After reading the latest move by the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), I now want the owners to obliterate the players.

Earlier today, the NFLPA has announced a boycott of the 2011 NFL Draft.  For those not familiar with the NFL Draft, it’s an experience that the best college athletes never forget. Each year, the top 20 or so potential draftees are invited to New York City, where they await their name to be called by the team that drafted them.  When called, the athlete puts on the hat of the team that chose them, steps up to the podium to accept a new NFL jersey with their name embossed on it and smiles for the camera as a picture is taken with commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL Draft is completed over a two-day span and considering the amount of time each team has to draft, the top 20 athletes spend a few hours in limbo waiting to hear their name.  Family is also invited to come and join the party.

College athletes spend years in school training hard, studying and learning.  Not a day goes by where they don’t dream of the day they will be drafted by an NFL team.  Essentially, with the NFLPA demanding players not show up for the draft, they’ve taken that experience away.  The NFLPA is also currently working to exclude in home views of players when they are drafted so that the only contact to draftees is through social media.  I guess you can consider the new crop of college athletes a pawn in the negotiation process.

The NFL has already said they will still invite the players and their families to New York, and it’s up to them to decide whether or not to attend.  I have no doubt every single player will abide by the wishes of the NFLPA, because to cross the picket line is to cross every NFL player.  Shame on you NFLPA for taking this once in a lifetime experience away from these kids simply to prove you have power.  With the draft one month away, I hope some sense is knocked into the brass of the NFLPA, but considering their actions of the last 3 months, that’s never going to happen.

One last note for anyone confused as to how the NFL Draft still goes on even though there is a lockout: Consider it a quirk of the collective bargaining agreement.

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