Friday, July 29, 2011

Rays of effing sunshine:
NFL football is back -- and I discovered a new sports writer during the lockout!

It seems that while I was gallumphing through the White Mountains this week, football players and team owners reached an agreement that saves the upcoming season. Yeah! (Well, mostly "yeah" -- in 20 years many of us may be ashamed that we so loved a "sport" that left too many players brain damaged ...)

Like any fan, I followed the news of the negotiations. Unlike many fans, I had no problem deciding who was in the right. Football players may (sometimes) make millions, but most only have 3 or 4 good years getting beat up for our pleasure and then live with the results in their bodies for the rest of their lives. So I figure, they should get very well paid; they are entertainment industry workers of a unique sort. I go with the workers every time in labor disputes.

Last May the UC Berkeley Labor Center held an interesting forum on the dispute that I described here. At that forum, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (pictured here) suggested that the writer to read on the negotiations was Yahoo Sports' Michael Silver. I could not agree more.

All Silver's columns have been interesting, but if you care about the business of football as well as the sport, don't miss his summary response to individuals' actions during the lockout.

Here's a snippet to give the flavor of the piece:

So the question for fans and football columnists alike is this: Now that the owners will lift the lockout, can we unlock our hearts and forgive the transgressors who got us all hot and bothered before and during the work stoppage? In some cases, it won’t be easy. However, because I consider myself the ultimate team player -- or, more realistically, a guy with an increasingly lousy short-term memory who believes it’s healthier to let go of his anger -- I’m all about absolution as the football world returns to normal. ...

  • Frustrated fans (and amateur economists): All you folks who informed me that I don’t understand capitalism, and/or called me a commie, were undoubtedly thrilled by my column comparing the owners to Politburo bosses. I might have used a bit of hyperbole for effect, but I stand by my basic premise that owning an NFL team is the least risky endeavor in American society. That said, econ class is over, and I’m not mad at any of you for disagreeing -- not even you knee-jerk management apologists on the right side of the auditorium.
  • The owners and players who took the fans for granted: Yep, they gambled that you’d come running back to them once the labor dispute was settled, and I believe they were correct in that assessment. And I’m cool with that, just as I’m OK with the fans for not lashing out and/or tuning out en masse as a means of displaying their displeasure. ...
  • The money-grabbers: Those owners who cut the pay of coaches and other employees once the lockout began, before any reasonable evidence of lost revenue, were being senseless, shameless and gutless, as I wrote in early June. And you know what? I don’t forgive them, unless and until they change their mind and refund the cash they gratuitously stole from their workers -- which the Jets have done. Sorry, but when someone like Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, who saved tens of millions of dollars in the uncapped year by reducing player payroll, institutes staff-wide pay reductions in March, someone has to whack him in the kneecaps. ...
Go on, go read the whole thing. And bookmark Silver for future reference.

I don't want to just gripe here all the time. I do after all, quite frequently, encounter things and people that delight me. Hence this feature: occasional posts labeled "rays of effing sunshine."

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