Seattle What is it about the rich that they can’t ever say “enough is enough?” In the contemporary battles between millionaires and billionaires over who will collect how much of the lucrative television and advertising revenues, the owners seem ready to risk everything for the odd piece of loose change just at the peak of popularity of both the National Football League, following feel good championship seasons by everyone’s darlings, my own New Orleans Saints, and now one of the most exciting playoffs in the National Basketball Association now underway with among others the amazing Chris Paul (CP3!) and my own New Orleans Hornets (sorry, Mr. Phil “Cool Hand” Jackson on your goodbye tour!).
And, yes, I do realize that the NBA has not been as stupid (yet!?!) as the NFL, but dollars to donuts they are simply “me, too” on this and will go with the flow. If the NFL gets away with it, they will try as well, and if they don’t , well, they might actually bargain in good faith and make a deal when their contract comes up next year.
Meanwhile in the NFL rather than solving the mess at the table or for that matter on the field and recognizing that it’s about the players and the fans and not them, the whole drama keeps getting pushed from one court to another in an exercise of venue shopping rather than collective bargaining. This week the first judge out of the box, gave a big gain to the players even if not a solid score. Essentially the judge denied the NFL request for a temporary injunction against the players, ruling that the players were suffering “irrefutable harm” by not being able to play because of the unilateral lockout implemented by the owners. Of course the owners are going to ask for review and in this case the field judge looking at game tape is an appeals court. The judge’s decision was a strong one though, and momentum in these matters, like in games itself matters, because if the ball starts bouncing towards the players, the fans will all fall in line finally and the owners will be left with nothing but their greed when the gun sounds on this one.
Don’t get me wrong. The players are not blue collar stiffs out there nor are they the white collar warriors of Wisconsin or the teacher’s ranks, but if they keep staying on message as they are so far, even to the point of carefully downplaying their first court victory in order not to allow the public or their own teammates to get cocky and overconfident in a long fight, and stay united, then they might just send a powerful measure to corporate elites and the rich as well as to their brother and sister union members about fighting and winning, that is more important than any of them have ever proven on the field.
Then this is no longer just a game, but a life lesson, and that counts for a lot!