To quote Triple H and Shawn Michaels as D-Generation X, “Are you ready?” “I said, ARE YOU READY?” Ready for what, I may ask? As Hank Williams, Jr. would sing before every Monday Night Football broadcast, “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?”
Well, unless you have been living under a rock, the NFL has been under an owner imposed Lockout since early March until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) gets done, and from the looks of things, it appears that the OWNERS may be ready for some football.
They are in Atlanta right now going over the details of the proposed CBA, and are getting ready to vote on it today. THEY seem ready. I know as an NFL fan, I am ready. I am guessing millions of NFL fans are ready. HOWEVER, guess who is NOT ready. Yup, the PLAYERS, the SAME players who throughout the process whined and moaned about how the owners were evil, and how the owners had to “open the books,” and how the players were getting screwed. Throughout the process, I sided WITH the players, but now, I am losing sympathy for them, and I am losing it fast.
I am going to give a bit of background. I am very pro union. My dad, may God rest his soul, was in one. In ANY labor disagreement, I always supported the “workers,” no matter what kind of work they did. In this case, I thought the “Millionaires vs Billionaires” argument was a bit too simple, as NOT ALL 1900 or so NFL players had Peyton Manning like salaries. It is just that the MEDIA makes a big deal out of those huge contracts the top guys like Manning, Palmer, etc make.
[adinserter block=”2″]Now, I realize that these athletes chose to be athletes. I realize that even the league minimum is decent money and is more than what a lot of people (myself included) make. However, no one seems to object to Johnny Depp making 25 million a film, and he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild which is a union. However, people seem to want to call these players “greedy.” Of course, Johnny Depp is not taking hard hits that could endanger his health, or even his life, so I personally have no problem with the NFL players wanting their share.
I supported the players mainly because their demands for safety weren’t that “out there.” I mean, they did get some of what they wanted. I didn’t see the need for all those two a days. I also didn’t see the need for all those OTAs, and all that. These are human beings, not machines. I don’t care what Jets LB Bart Scott says. I also felt that while I know that the owners have to run the team so they make money, the players should be paid what they are worth. I sided with the players because I am interested in seeing them on the field. The players know it is business for them also, and they are the ones out there taking the hits and getting hurt, not the billionaire owners.
However, through all these months, and legal proceedings and negotiations, the NFL is on the verge of a CBA. Like I said, the owners are supposed to vote today. However, here is what is going on with the players. Wednesday, July 20th, the NFLPA (trade association) was supposed to vote on the proposed deal. Wednesday morning, on NFL Network, Kevin Mawae, the President of the NFLPA made comments that made my heart sink. He said basically that they “were not held to July 21st” as the deadline. On July 21st, the 32 owners were going to have their meeting and were going to vote on the CBA after the NFLPA voted to presumably pass it and reform as a union. Sure enough, the NFLPA (trade union) 32 player reps did not vote on the CBA, but however, they did vote it through CONDITIONALLY. In other words, it was a “Yes, but.” type of situation.
There are some loose ends that are holding up this deal, and that is what is making me really ANGRY, and the players are losing my sympathy FAST. One major loose end is Charger WR Vincent Jackson and New England Patriot OL Logan Mankins EACH want TEN MILLION DOLLARS to settle as 2 members of that 10 man Brady, Brees et al vs the NFL class action suit that was filed during the lockout. This class action suit was supposed to be on behalf of ALL 1900 players, not to satisfy a few people.
Even though Vincent Jackson (who with his 2 DUIs is lucky to be in the league) and Mankins agent have denied this, CBSSports’ Mike Freeman, and Profootballtalk.com continue to report this. Mankins was upset with how the Patriots treated him. He was upset that he got the franchise tag. He would not report to the Patriots till Week 9 or 10 just so he could get the credit for free agency. Vincent Jackson wanted out of San Diego and pretty much did the same, and would not report to the Chargers till Week 10.
The other loose end is the re-certification of the NFLPA as a union. When the Lockout started, the NFLPA decertified, and became a trade union. To get the CBA ratified, the NFLPA has to recertify as a union via a majority vote. From my understanding, the players are dragging that process out, because they are getting advice from their attorney, Jeff Kessler to do it the OLD way, via NOTE CARDS and put them in the mail. To quote the analysts on the Monday Night Countdown Show on ESPN, “C’Mon Man!!” Does Kessler and the 1900 players know what EMAIL IS?? Are they going to hire carrier pigeons? Kessler is also handling the lawsuits in the Brady case.
[adinserter block=”1″]When/if the Owners vote, and if the vote is FOR the CBA, this puts a lot of pressure on the players, and public opinion will definitely be on the owners’ side. I really am very angry at the PLAYERS right now. The players wonder why they are called greedy. They should fire Kessler because he is undermining DeMaurice Smith who negotiated a very good deal for them, from my understanding of it. Kessler is hurting Mankins and Jackson.(I do want to make note Mankins’ agent, Frank Bauer has vehemently denied any kind of demands.) I mean, earth to Jackson and Mankins, don’t you two think you both are being SELFISH. I won’t call you what that Vikings punter Chris Kluwe called you on twitter, but I agree with his sentiments.
I mean, if you two have issues with your respective teams, let the CBA go through, and take it up with YOUR TEAMS. Don’t hold up 1898 men, and MILLIONS OF FANS just because you two have a gripe. That makes me very angry. The players need to get their act together. All these months, the players are whining about all the owners are out to get them and all this stuff.
Well, here comes Bob Kraft, owner of the Patriots (who by the way went back and forth between CBA meetings and his now late wife, Myra, (RIP) bedside) , along with John Mara of the Giants and couple of the more level headed owners willing to make a deal, and D. Smith and the Commissioner are getting along, and now at the last minute, you all are STILL putting up a fight??
To paraphrase D-X, “To the NFL Players: “I want my football, and if you are not down with that, “I have got two word for ya ,” SIGN IT!!!”
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead