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 Non-guaranteed contracts can be rescinded immediately without financial harm to the owners as there will be no cap.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.