Tell us again: Why is there an NFL labor dispute? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tell us again: Why is there an NFL labor dispute?

Posted: Updated:
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, center, accompanied by NFLPA spokesman with George Atallah, left, leave after football labor negotiations in Washington Friday, March 4, 2011. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, center, accompanied by NFLPA spokesman with George Atallah, left, leave after football labor negotiations in Washington Friday, March 4, 2011.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, center talks with an unidentified man, left, as Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, right, looks on after a meeting with NFL owners at a hotel in Chantilly, Va. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, center talks with an unidentified man, left, as Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, right, looks on after a meeting with NFL owners at a hotel in Chantilly, Va.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell NFL commissioner Roger Goodell

If NFL owners aren't careful, they might just force us to sympathize with guys who make more in a year than most will take home in a lifetime. Chad Ochocinco could come off looking like some sort of modern-day Cesar Chavez.

The real world keeps getting lost during all this talk of a possible lost football season.

Enough already.

On Monday, as people went back to work for less money than they used to make — or simply out to look for a job — it was abundantly clear this is NOT the time for the billionaires (a.k.a. the owners) to draw a line in the sand against the millionaires (a.k.a. the players).

Not when checks are smaller and health insurance costs more for so many Americans. Not when "Bank Owned" signs are still a common sight in front of foreclosed homes. Not when Wisconsin, home of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, is paralyzed by a dispute between a state government that says it's broke and workers resisting a major whack to their benefits and union rights.

Haves vs. Have-mores. Give us a break.

The owners, especially, should remember the people who are hurting also happen to be their meal ticket. Without them paying hefty prices to attend in person or, more importantly, plopping down in front of the television on every given Sunday to produce exorbitant ratings for the networks, those checks adorned with a minimum of nine zeros would dry right up.

The men in suits sure aren't doing much to dissuade their image as fat cats intent on becoming fabulously obese when they stick with their demand for a bigger slice of an enormously profitable pie, right on the heels of an economic meltdown.

Settle this thing. Settle it now. And hope everyone forgets it even happened by draft day.

Sure, it's hard to work up much sympathy for either side when there's labor strife in the sports world, which by its very nature means the rich taking on the even-richer. No exception here.

The players are making good money. Real, real good money. But the salaries aren't guaranteed, and the average NFL career is shorter than any other sport. By comparison, Jerry Jones' ownership of the Cowboys is pretty much a lifetime appointment.

There are long-term ramifications in play as well. Every week, a sad story seems to emerge of some ex-jock who dies way too young or doesn't recognize his family anymore, likely because of the gruesome toll this sport takes on their bodies. We can expect to hear more of those stories if the owners get their way on another demand, increasing the regular season from 16 to 18 games.

Some other things to consider from the owner's perspective:

— The average franchise was worth just over $1 billion in 2009, according to Forbes, and virtually every owner can count on a huge return from his initial investment. For instance, Jones paid $150 million for the Cowboys in 1989; the team is now valued at $1.8 billion. The owners say those values don't mean anything until they sell. Tell that to the guy living on a measly unemployment check.

— The 32 teams made an average operating profit of $33.4 million in 2009, also according to Forbes. The average return on revenues was 13.3 percent. What does that mean? Well, consider what you've been paying to fill up your car. Makes you mad at those oil companies, doesn't it? Yet consider Chevron had a margin of 15.6 percent last year, ExxonMobil 13.8 percent, Shell 9.6 percent. Sure, their total profits were much larger, but the NFL's financial house would seem to be structurally sound.

— The NFL keeps saying it needs more money to offset the cost of stadium construction, wanting another billion off the top from what it shares with the players. In an op-ed piece last month, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote that new facilities are needed in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego — and Los Angeles? Goodell failed to mention the Atlanta Falcons are pushing for a new stadium financed with at least some public money, even though the Georgia Dome isn't even two decades old. Just be prepared to drive over plenty of potholes getting to the new stadium, because the city is otherwise strapped for cash.

The owners came off looking even worse in a federal judge's decision last week striking down television deals that would have provided a $4 billion revenue cushion during any lockout. Cushy, indeed. Heck, DirecTV would've had to pay the league more money if no games were played than if there was actually a season. A cost that would have undoubtedly been passed on to you know who.

The owners claimed those contracts were merely loans that would've been repaid to the networks, with interest. But the judge had a different take, ruling the NFL essentially blackmailed its TV partners by insisting that any resistance to the proposal would be a "deal breaker."

There might have been a time when those sort of deals were hailed as good business.

This is definitely NOT that time.

___

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)ap.org

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

  • SportsMore>>

  • AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    AP source: Falcons won't offer WR Jones new deal this year

    Thursday, July 19 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-07-19 17:23:25 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 11:19 AM EDT2018-07-20 15:19:12 GMT
    (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File). FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones walks off the field after an NFL football game between the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Atlanta. A person familiar with the ...
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
    AP source: Atlanta Falcons won't offer a new contract to star receiver Julio Jones. 
  • Suspect detained in killing of Olympic figure skating star

    Olympic figure skater, medalist Denis Ten dies after stabbing in Kazakhstan

    Thursday, July 19 2018 7:29 PM EDT2018-07-19 23:29:05 GMT
    Jul 20, 2018 2:48 AM2018-07-20 06:48:00 GMT

    Kazakh figure skater and Olympic medalist Denis Ten died Thursday after being stabbed in an attack in the streets of the country's largest city, a top Kazakh official confirmed on social media. He was 25.

     
    Authorities in Kazakhstan said Friday a man has been detained and confessed to killing the Olympic figure skating medalist Denis Ten. 
  • With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

    With Leonard gone, a new look for Popovich and the Spurs

    Thursday, July 19 2018 3:56 AM EDT2018-07-19 07:56:05 GMT
    Thursday, July 19 2018 6:20 PM EDT2018-07-19 22:20:19 GMT
    (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP). San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team head coach Gregg Popovich speaks to the media during a press conference in San Antonio, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is over....(William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP). San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball team head coach Gregg Popovich speaks to the media during a press conference in San Antonio, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is over....
    The most tumultuous offseason in Gregg Popovich's two decades with the Spurs ended with the trade of star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. 
    The most tumultuous offseason in Gregg Popovich's two decades with the Spurs ended with the trade of star Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. 
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.