To The Players Of The NFL

To the players of the NFL,

So the NFL owners wouldn’t give in and show you their books huh?  That sucks.  I mean, don’t feel bad, my boss wouldn’t open up their books and show me either.  In fact, they simply stared at me like I was crazy.  Imagine that.  Of course, I can’t sue them for that.  So now the NFL will likely try and lock all of you players out and you will file an “Anti-trust” lawsuit against them because for now, your not a union.  Even though when all of this is over you will simply re-form the union.  Maybe one of you can explain that to me.  How can you be a union only when it serves your purpose and then not be a union when it doesn’t serve your purpose knowing that you will simply become a union again when it does?

In the meantime, we as fans, your customers whom without would make your careers obsolete, get to start watching baseball again.  You know the sport that had a work stoppage and thus lost the title of “America’s game” when a slew of their fans simply didn’t return making the NFL the most successful professional sport in the world.

I do have some questions for you though.

Maybe one of you could answer them (my email is located in the “ABOUT” section).  See I really have no problem with you making $285,000 as a rookie or first year player at league minimum or a veteran making more than that at league minimum.  I also don’t have a problem with some of you “millionaires” making far more money than you probably should (and likely perform at…right Albert H.?)  It’s the entertainment industry and you should get paid to put your body out there like you do.

One of your fellow co-workers said via Twitter yesterday that at no time did the players ask for more money, that’s a fact according to Drew Brees.  But is it not also true that at the outset of this issue a little more than two weeks ago, a member of the NFLPA team conceded that the players got the better deal during the last CBA negotiations?  So why would you ask for more money and why would you not expect the owners to try and gain some of that money back?  Without having to open their books?

By your own admission they (the owners) got screwed.

This brings me to the question of the salary cap. Why does it go up each year? I hear it’s to adjust for inflation.  If so, then why is it that the salary cap will go up 4 to 8 million annually for inflation but the owners don’t get more back off that 9 billion to adjust for their operating expenses? Which by the way also increase each year due to inflation.

Seems a little unfair to me.

I also hear that, according to DeMaurice Smith that the players and “fans” don’t want an 18 game schedule.  I think it would be great to add two more games, increase the rosters, and add another bye week.  But that’s just me.  I know, I know, there is an issue of player safety.  After all, players are getting seriously injured playing this game.  But of course you knew that was a job hazard coming in correct?  But I guess my question about it is this:  If the players are so worried about getting injured in those “2 extra games” then why is it that they take so much exception to rules implemented, not by the NFLPA, but by the NFL to curb issues with say, hits on defenseless receivers?  I mean, according to James Harrison, he simply can’t do his job and should consider quitting because he can’t go for someone’s head without getting fined.

Isn’t that a rule instituted to protect you players from undue injuries?

Seriously?  Does that make sense to you?  It doesn’t to me.  Players don’t want to play two more games because they could get hurt but they don’t agree with the NFL putting measures in place to protect the players from that actually happening.  It was also said that the players wanted a longer off-season with less mandatory workouts.  But isn’t that part of conditioning so that you don’t get injured throughout the season?  Correct me if I am wrong here.

Another issue that I heard about was a rookie salary cap and that one I simply don’t understand.  Maybe it’s just my opinion but does a rookie really need to be guaranteed some 20 to 25 million without stepping on an NFL field (which by the way, the owners maintain for you)?  I’m just saying.  See what gets me here is that the rookie wages count against the teams caps.  So if the salary cap is 130 million and a team pays out 10 million to rookies under a rookie cap, then 120 million is still available to pay veterans.  Correct?  And considering that the owners must spend a minimum of 85 % of each years cap, how is that money not going to anyone but the veterans?

The way I see it from my chair here is that if a team is going to spend 130 million why should any player care who they spend it on?  I mean it would make sense to me to lower the outrageous money paid to the top half of the first round in the draft thus allowing teams to spend more re-signing their own players or in free agency.  Again, that’s just me.

I do realize that there is probably a lot more to this CBA stuff that I simply am not privy too.  That’s fine, I understand that.  I mean is the NFL wanting to cut your insurance benefits?  The last I heard the NFL was willing to spend more money on retired players, is that wrong?  If so, that sounds like a good thing to me.

So I guess what I am asking is this.  Why the hell should I support you, the players, in this soon to be litigated labor dispute?  Why should I shell out my money for NFL Sunday Ticket, or season tickets, or player jerseys, or, well you get the idea.  See the gas prices are the same for me as they are for you only I don’t make any where near what you do and while neither of us make anything close to what the owners make, the fact is they have all the risk.

See, it’s really like this.  You are a great athlete and you got a college education to go with it.  In many cases with a full scholarship because of your athletic ability.  So if the NFL suddenly ceased to exist or ran into dire financial straights, you would have a degree to fall back on.  The owners on the other hand, invest their own money into buying the team, paying your salary, the coaches salary, staff salary, attendants salary, stadium employees,  upgrades to your locker-rooms to make you comfortable, your medical expenses, retirement, stadium upgrades, and literally food to feed you with and yet rely on you to perform at a level that will get people like me to buy tickets, pay for parking, by food and beer, merchandise, and everything else in between.  And only 53 of you win the Super Bowl each year.

So given all that, if the NFL suddenly folded like say the UFL, who would take the investment hit?  Surely not you, because you don’t invest your own money in the stadium or the team.  You invest it in restaurants and vintage automobiles…I kid.  Of course the local fan populace would take a hit.  I mean we would still  have to pay the taxes for the new stadium renovations…even if no one, like you, were playing in the stadiums.  Correct?  I mean, you don’t pony up money to help the owners pay for stadium or training facility upgrades, do you?

So can one of you, any one of you, please explain to me in real terms, why it is that I should support you in this endeavor you are about to undertake?  Knowing damn well that when this all gets sorted out by the courts and the next CBA is done, and you all go back to being a union, and games are going to be played again, that I, the fan, will have to pay more out of my pocket to keep you happy and more out of my pocket to keep the owners in a position to pay you and continue to operate.

Just one of you.

I can’t and won’t speak for all fans.  But I do speak for myself as a fan.  And until YOU, the players, convince me otherwise, I’m sorry, on the field, I support you 100 % but off the field, this go around, I don’t support you at all.

Topics: NFL, NFL CBA, NFL Lockout, NFLPA, Players Decertify Union

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  • idahomer

    I second this motion..

  • daytonadolfan

    Hear! Hear! Thank you for stating, so eloquently, what a lot of us are feeling.

  • onole1

    Nice job Brian…I am with you on this.

  • Eric Post

    Brian,

    I am 100% behind you on this one (on most issues TBH). I’m tired of the players…and their whining…that’s what it sounds like from here.

    I love the “Players are the product” statement so many of them and the media use…Guess what… you WOULDN’T BE A PRODUCT IF NOT FOR THE NFL!!

    Retirement…So the average NFL player will make more in their career than the average American worker in their 30 year of work…and you want the NFL to Pony up retirement on top of it all? Really?? I mean to what end? 78% of NFL players are broke and/or divorced 2 years after leaving the NFL.

    If the NFLPA was really representing the players they would institute a MANDATORY DEFERRED COMPENSATION Plan…

    See…the way I see it is if you can’t manage your own money…and the statistics prove it…Don’t go and ask for more money or a “fair” cut of the money. Learn to manage what you have more effectively.

    Or how about getting a real job…Like Mike Anderson had before the Bronco’s took a chance on him…

    There should be a rule/law/regulation that if you decertify your union that you can’t reform for a period of time…say a few years. Perhaps the new union will be subject to the EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT? Here’s hoping…

    To the players of the NFL – SCREW YOU AND THE UNION YOUR RODE IN ON.

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  • BrassMonkey

    I think you’re only looking at one side of the story here, Brian. Here are a few counterpoints to consider:

    1) Just as you accuse the NFLPA of acting as a Union only when it suits them, the NFL does the same – they negotiate as a single entity when it suits them and then they turn around and claim that they are 32 different businesses when it doesn’t.

    2) $385k is a lot of money, without a doubt – and $10m is a lot more. But keep in mind that the big salaries are the only ones you see in the papers. The guy who plays only three years and makes $1.2m is probably taking home less than $500k after taxes and agent fees. Still a lot of money but by no means is he set up for life, especially if he ends up with chronic health issues.

    3) Don’t see why you should support the players? Fair enough. But why should you support the owners? These guys are all billionaires who do nothing but “own”. They don’t produce anything. They have nothing at risk, really- they simply sit on teams that they have bought as investments or inherited from their rich parents.

    One of the core issues in these negotations is the owners wanting to take an additional Billion off the top before the money is split. These are the same guys who threaten to move the team to force local governments to pay for the new stadiums. You know, the same stadiums that the extra Billion is supposed to pay for. Also keep in mind that there are only one or two stadiums left that haven’t been renovated already in the last 15-20 years.

    Anyway, I won’t try to convince you one way or the other – personally I think that both parties are greedy and short-sighted. If the season is delayed, in the end they’ll all lose more than they gained by startng this fight in the first place.

  • Ken

    Brian, absolutely perfect! This should be distributed to every player in the NFL and presented to the court as exibit “A”. This is just wrong! The owners made an investment, they put up millions to be “owners”, plus they pay everyone that is associated with the team, from executives to popcorn venders. The owners made the players rich men and all the players have to do is play a game. Yeah, its a rough game, but I would trade my career for a chance to play football, anyday! I would do it for far less than these players make and I would love every second of it. That union dude, Smith, made a comment about players being partners in business with the owners, bull, they are employees, nothing more. What the hell did they invest to become partners? Nothing! They play a game for a living.

  • Ken

    BrassMonkey, you must be a union member. Have you ever invested a dime in anything? I would guess, NO! The owners have invested millions to get where they are in the NFL. As Brian said, they players have invested nothing! They didn’t even pay for their education, just because they play a game, well. So they have invested no money into their future! None!

  • Dan

    Brian, you are clearly only looking at one side of this.

    1. Did your boss ask you to give him $1 billion a year before you asked to see and he declined to show you his books? If you actually think that hypothetical is indistinguishable from the CBA negotiations, then you are not competent to be discussing them.

    2. Decertifying the union is a legal formality. If you have a problem with the requirement that a union decertify in order to sue its employer, you should take it up with Congress, not the NFLPA.

    3. The salary cap is attached to league revenues, not inflation. When revenues go up, the salary cap goes up because that is how the players get their cut of the revenues under the now-expired CBA. Because the cap is attached to revenues, this means that when it increases, the amount the owners are receiving, their cut, also increases. You cite $9 billion as though that is the amount the NFL has always made and will continue to make, but that number did not start that high and will continue to go higher. The owners get a certain amount off the top, then the players and owners split the rest according to set percentages. The only reason the salary cap grows is because a set percentage of a growing amount is also going to grow. But that doesn’t mean the owners are getting screwed. They also have a set percentage of that same growing amount, which gives them more money as well. My question is why are you writing a blog post that you know will influence readers’ opinions when you are so clearly mis- and uninformed?

    4. Claiming that owners have the “risk” is absurd, especially given that all they need to do to mitigate any risk that may exist (which they, in fact, created by opting out of the now defunct CBA) is open their books. First, lets acknowledge that the NFL failing is not a realistic possibility, so to frame your argument around that happening makes your point seem all that much more ridiculous. Second, owners do not invest their own money in paying for player salaries or any of the other things you listed. Revenues pay for all of those things. Owners own NFL teams because they are very profitable. After ticket prices and concessions pay for all of the things you listen, there is still a lot left over that goes to the owners. When owners “invest” in a team, they are paying for the right to receive that revenue, similar to owning stock. The reason that revenue exists is because people want to see the players.

    5. You acknowledge that many stadium upgrades are paid for with tax dollars, which is certainly true. So why do owners need an extra billion dollars to pay for something that taxpayers have already got covered?

    The bottom line is that the players haven’t said that they won’t give the owners a bigger slice of the pie, they’ve just asked for numbers to back up a request for an extra billion dollar a year. And let’s be real here, the only reason that makes sense for the NFL to refuse this request is because the teams are doing well financially. That doesn’t mean the owners don’t deserve more revenue anyway, but we can’t even get to that argument unless the books are opened.

    As for the 18-game season and rookie salary cap, I think everyone acknowledged that the NFLPA was willing to consider those so long as the owners were reasonable with regard to revenue. But asking for an extra billion dollars a year when it’s not clear that you need it and when you refuse to show any proof that you need it while simultaneously using one of the most profitable anti-trust exemptions in existence to protect you during the lockout you’ve been planning to impose in order to force the NFLPA to give you what you want is not reasonable.

  • DCDOGG

    “hypotheticals” are irrelevant: employees demanding 10 years of audited financial records from an employer is a non-starter anyplace, anywhere, anytime.

    the problem is not the decertification, it’s the proposed lawsuit against a lockout not in evidence.

    writing a blog post often provides answers to those seeking information, especially if they say so up front.

    if there are no games, the NFL fails. once revenues are received, they are the owners money.

    stadiums require periodic maintenance that costs owners money – or conversely, should the players pay the owners for their training camp food since their compensation clearly should be able to cover those costs ???

    the act of request does not in and of itself require a demonstration of need.

    just sayin …

  • JIMMY E

    I can’t side with the players. I know several young men who gave thier life in combat for less than these guys make for one game. I agree they should be paid good money but I also believe the price to go to a game to help pay thier salary is rediculous. The average fan can barely afford gas to go to the game.Players, get off your whinning butts and accept a contract or go to canada and let some kid who would love to play, have your spot. Maybe a year with no check would humble you.

    • daytonadolfan

      Thank you Jimmy. Excellent post and point. I know many young men who have raised their right hands and can barely afford to put food on the tables for their families. I have no sympathy for another young man who has been told to be unhappy because he can only make $500,000 a year for 3 years.

      An E-4 over those same 3 years will make just over $70,000 total.

  • Randy C

    Outstanding post!
    I hope you don’t get mad if I use this as an argumentative
    point on another sight

    thank you

    RC

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