End The Lockout...Give The Players What They Want


It’s no secret around here that I do not support the players in this labor mess, so much so that I really have no problem with the owners keeping the players unemployed for as long as possible.  So much so that I hope the courts rule in favor of the owners at every turn.  With that being said, it was no surprise when I rolled my eyes at the latest “gone to the mattresses” comment by DeMaurice Smith or that I hoped when all this is said and done, he would be the proverbial horses head left on those said mattresses.  The guy is a phony, a fake, and to use his own words…a liar.  He lies to the players and he lies to the media.  And when he says he is representing the fans interest as well…well, he is lying there too.

Now, saying that.  It’s time for the owners to lift the lockout, bring the players back into the facilities and throw the rules out the window.  Give the players exactly what DeMaurice Smith and Jeffrey Kessler want.  Exactly what they want.

The next lawsuit of course would be one of collusion.  That’s o.k. as it’s hard to prove collusion exists between businesses.  But it brings back football and ends the litigation that players filed citing a violation of anti-trust law.  So take the anti-trust violation claims out of the equation and give the players nothing.

With no rules, there is no minimal salary that needs to be paid.  Meaning every free agent will have to find a team willing to spend what they want or they don’t get paid.  Non-guaranteed contracts can be rescinded immediately without financial harm to the owners as there will be no cap.  Undrafted free agents can be signed off the street to fill the holes…consider it a “replacement” plan.  Next years draft should be scrapped in favor of a free for all and this years crop of rookies should likely find themselves in that draft as well when teams refuse to pay the huge first round guarantees.

The league can instantly stop paying for all the training facility perks such as three course meals daily, do not have to provide insurance to its players, can institute all sorts of dress requirements, and can order their players to report for practices on any day at any time as part of their employment.  If the players don’t like it…screw em.  It would be the new NFL and frankly, many players wouldn’t have a choice but to play without options on the outside.

The NFL should immediately do away with all drug testing.  After all, testing for banned substances really is a violation of any company when it comes down to it and by allowing teams to monitor their own players singularly, the NFL would not be in breach of any anti-trust laws.  Besides, if a player wants to dope himself up fine, it another 15 years when he is suffering from his own lack of responsibility, the NFL shouldn’t care nor take any financial responsibility for those actions.

As a league, the teams should all pay the league a fee for game scheduling and referee assignments and forget all the other “sharing of revenue”.  This will put small market teams and medium market teams in the scaling down the books category reducing the salary expenditures of those teams.

So why do all this?  Because it’s what Smith and company say they want.  A free market style system.  It would immediately take the case out of the courts as there would be no violations of anti-trust law and put the onus of fixing the system back on the shoulders of the players and not the league.  The team owners would make more money off this than the players would.  In fact, a simple silent nod, wink, wink, deal between owners could push the players into negotiations that would lead to a new CBA and the re-certification of the union.

Sure it would likely leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the players, but no more than the bitter taste that was left in the mouth of fans and owners when the players took to striking twice in the 80′s.  Everywhere you look, people are being asked and forced to take pay reductions at their jobs.  But the players want more.  In a deal that they themselves have said was a “great” deal for the players, they still demand that the owners open their books because they wanted to take a billion back.

The players and owners negotiated to within around 350 thousand before the players decertified and filed their lawsuit.  The league offered a 2011 cap of 141 million, the players wanted 151 million.  Now that negotiations are over, the players have upped that number to 161 million citing the former number as a “discounted rate for negotiating”.

So come on owners, give the players what they want.

 

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Tags: DeMaurice Smith Jeffrey Kessler NFL NFL Labor NFLPA

  • A

    so much so that I no longer care to read the ramblings of a fascist

  • Ken

    Love it! Brian, you are 100% on target! I would love to see the owners follow this plan. Let the players long for yesterday.

  • Brian Miller

    not at all. But if the owners suddenly gave in and said, “ok, here is what you want and you will get EXACTLY what you claim to want” the players would be screaming for a fair CBA instead of this bull.

  • Brian Miller

    Thanks Ken, it’s true though. The players don’t realize that there are two ways to go with a free market. only around 5% of the players will really see a lot of money. The owners can quietly shut it down and the players can’t do anything about it. I love football and I really don’t care who is playing it. Meaning, I would go to Miami and watch Pat Devlin play at QB just as soon as I would go to watch Drew Brees. I don’t go to watch football games live to see “elite” players. I go for the atmosphere and love of the team…the Miami Dolphins. Last time I checked there was no one on the roster with that name.

  • corners

    I agree. Nice to see a reporter not side with the players for a change though it could get you better interviews. So ty.

    I also believe the players can do so much more to end this and their representative e is nothing but some lawyer hack trying to drag things out to make more money.

    Its a business and in what world does business owner need to open his books and share more then half of all his business. Hey dont get me wrong, i bash big business every chance i get, and for good reasons lately.

    The players are trying to make it sound like they aren’t big business. But they act the same.They say they care about the fans, but if you offered all of them 20 million guaranteed plus some to play non televised private games,they would even if it shut fans out of their sport.

  • Brian Miller

    I don’t have anything against the players as they are. I think they deserve to get good money…but they need to realize that the powers that they have representing them are doing more harm than good and in the end, they could be the ones who suffer for it. Getting back to the table and negotiating is the only way that both sides will get anywhere. The players need to stand up and start taking some actions on their own instead of allowing their attorneys to run wild and grandstand. 1900 players being represented by Drew Brees and 10 others and a bevy of lawyers. Funny how aside from Brees, none of the other so called plaintiffs are even involved in this.

    How does that work? I simply can not support a group who leaves a negotiating table to decertify and immediately file a lawsuit. The player reps forced the lockout the owners were negotiating for an extension to continue negotiating…why wouldn’t the players accept that? Because the lawyers wanted it to go to litigation.

  • MassanuttenRef

    Good article Brian. I also thought about why not just give them what they want — you articulated it very well.

    They are being advised by a grubby lawyer who is really only representing himself. I hate every time I see him or any other lawyer on the TV. He encouraged the players to decertify and I actually think that it benefits owners in the end — it actually only benefits a few players and not the majority. Owners will actually get more of what they want. No more paying the high salaries for rookies. And, no more paying ridiculous contracts like that for Paul Soliai.

    I am with you on this one — they should get back to the table or its time to shut them up. I wonder what Smith will do when he cannot see himself on TV anymore and loses the biggest case in his career?

  • Brian Miller

    You are absolutely rigut Buck…and if you go to your boss and demand to see his books, you will be standing in line hoping for unemployment benefits come monday.

  • Ranadicus

    The problem is the NFL would then actually be in violation of anti-trust laws by operating a monoploy without player representation and the NFLP-trade association would just take further advantage of the situation.

  • Mark

    You need to study some Econ guy, or take a look at other leagues that function without a salary cap. Believing that top players would make less money, go to more practices, and suffer more physical harm in a free market system is dead wrong. The players are the suppliers, not the clubs. Fans pay to see top players play.

    Guys like Tom Brady could ask for basically anything they wanted, say $35 million a year, oh, and I’m only doing 3 weeks of training camp and I only want to practice twice a week during the season. You really think no one’s going to sign him on those terms? And you think a Cam Newton would get less money with 32 teams bidding for his services instead of one? You’ve got to be joking. Dress requirements? Seriously? Let’s say the super-conservative Fins say everyone in suits only and the Jets say you can play for us in a moo-moo if you want too. Who is going to attract better players and field a better product? You don’t think fans would agitate for less restrictive rules after seeing their team go 1-15 again?

    You’re right on two points. Backups would make a lot less and small market clubs would not be competitive. The rest of this piece is a bunch of nonsense. Think it through.

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  • Brian Miller

    No, I understand all that Mark. I agree. It could go either way but this is where the owners, as I said with a more wink system of agreement basically say screw you. Don’t like what each team has implemented in terms of rules go somewhere else. It’s hard to prove collusion. Look at MLB…each year it really is only a handful of teams that truly compete year in and year out with the rest of the teams nothing more than ball clubs.

    I never go to a game, of any sport to see a player play. I saw the Lakers play about 7 years ago. I didn’t care if Kolbe Bryant was on the court or not. I saw the Lakers. Watched the Yankees play Cleveland two years ago. Couldn’t tell you who was on the Indians team and really only know that Jeter was on the Yanks. But I WATCHED the Yankees play. Same with Miami. I can tell you every team that I have seen play against the Dolphins in a live game I attended. I can’t tell you who the QB’s were for those games any more than I can tell you who played at any position in those games.

    Why? Because I don’t pay to watch players play sports. If I want to do that, I watch individual events like Golf, Tennis, or NASCAR.

    As for my article being a bunch of nonsense, that’s not true if you actually look at what it is implying. The top 5 percent of the players will get their money…that is what I said, the rest will be scaled down to nothing. No minimum of 275K for the low man on the roster. The bulk of the players in the NFL would suffer. That is a fact and you can look at baseball and see the same thing. The lower players are from rich.

  • Robert Hall

    I do agree with you to an extent Brian. … the players have become to greedy and will only want more and more as the owners and league give in to them. But if there are no “rules or cap”, then only the teams with owners that have deep pockets will prevail, such as the 49 ers back in the 80′s, who had the best teams money could buy… The players basically work for a company or corporation and have no right to ask their bosses to open up their books and ask for half of the owners profits. And the owners and league need to put their foot down and tell the players and their union officials,” our profits are our profits and you are our employees and we will pay you accordingly”.
    I work for a corporation and if I asked my CEO to open up the books and give us employees half of the profits, he would first laugh at me then show me the door. It seems to me more and more, that most players play for the money and not for the love of the game.
    If the NFL is not careful it will become just like MLB and be an afterthought after it had a year off because the players got greedy.
    I believe the owners and NFL should adopt a rookie salary cap, where rookies can only make $150,000 initially, with performance based incentives to increase their salaries.
    If the players get more money, then that will just hurt the fans,(not that the players care about the fans anyway ), meaning the owners will have to up the cost of tickets to make up for their loss of profits. Which in turn will turn fans away from going to stadiums to watch the games, which will hurt the owners bottom line even more.
    I’m a HUGE dolphins fan, but if there is a shortened season or no season at all, then it might be a while before I watch the NFL again. I’m just glad I have a new found interest in the NHL. The NHL starts just one month later than the NFL and lasts longer,and the players play for the love of the game and are not a bunch of drama queens and is much more of an adrenaline rush than the NFL. I do hope all works out though and everyone comes out a winner!