Michael McCann, a professor in sports law, wrote a summary of the conflict between the NFL Owners and Players that could serve as a primer for NFL fans everywhere when it comes to making sense of the legal maneuvering going on from both sides. It explains the complex processes and planning that goes on both behind the scenes and in the courts. His article is in a clear and concise list that any fan worth his salt should be able to understand and follow.
The sports parallels make his outline of the legal options and timelines read like a playbook for lawyers. It's kind of like a game plan but with laws instead of rules governing the offense and defense. Decisions will be looked at as scores. The more you win in court the more points you get. The Judges are the legal equivalent of refs blowing their own whistles and making calls.
The battle between the Owners and Players is a whole new twist on sports competition. It's a fascinating and exciting new kind of NFL game; the ridiculously rich trying to get richer. Both sides will clothe their arguments with lofty ideals about fairness and principles. Terms that serve as cover for what is ultimately obscene and unabashed greed. The entire concept makes sport of the law. Both sides will throw away millions to get even more millions. They will take thier arguments to the court of public opinion as well and hope to convince the fans to see it their way.
As both a sports fan and someone was has worked for years as a union rep at contract negotiations, McCann's list makes it easy to track the potential legal actions to come. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I had a lot of questions answered. After reading it I'm confident I know the players and what their positions are. And of course, as in all serious sports, I already know that the object is to win the game.
Lost in all this is any real concern from either side about the impact this situation will have on the people who really pay their salaries. The Fans.
I think most fans can honestly say they have never been asked if they want to settle or bargain for lower prices by any one from the NFL. We don't get to vote on any of the issues. Fans and their role in this this theater of the absurd is pretty much the same as always. We are spectators. Without the fans money professional sports leagues couldn't exist. But the NFL knows one thing... above all else. The fans will always be there... and so will their money. Nothing they do will change that.
Screwing the fans is something neither side seems to care much about. Sure a lot of fans will stop watching the NFL... for awhile. Both the Owners and the Players see that as collateral damage. After all, it's not like fans really have any say in the matter. They'll lose some fans but new ones will come along. There'll be no real negative economic impact as far as making money. When all is said and done they'll still fill the seats every week. The fans will forget or get over it.
But there are a few things fans can be sure of. One thing is that fans won't be making any money on the deal. Ticket prices won't be going down in the end for them. Everyone knows, no matter which side wins the money, it's the fans that will ultimately pay for it. In a lot of ways.
And when you think about it, all the money the NFL fans will save if there are no games may even be a good thing. About the only way the NFL won't make money is if they don't take it. The cost of a season ticket is like a second mortgage. A fan can buy a lot of nice stuff with the free money. But it won't last long. The Owners and Players know one thing. Fans will always be ready to give them what they ask when they're ready to play again. When will that be? Thats anyone's guess. The fans will just have to wait. Where else are they going to go?
It's just my opinion, but I think I speak for most fans. What the Owners and Players are doing might be legal, but, as far as the fans are concerned, it isn't right.