We’ve read and heard about NFL extensions and mediations and de-certifications and distributions seemingly for years. We’ve grown weary of the spin doctoring, the finger pointing and millionaires and billionaires crying poor while the fuel that drives their cash machine – the fans, struggle in an economy marked by skyrocketing expenses and plummeting wages.
These spoiled athletes with their out of whack collective sense of entitlement and owners who have probably never ventured outside of the velvet rope or VIP section will squabble over $9 billion in their cushy little worlds insulated by wealth – wealth made possible by those who don’t have it.
And why is that?
Simple answer really – because we as fans allow it to happen.
In the real world a company that makes a product enjoyed by millions will normally have owners, management and front line employees for the most part working in an atmosphere characterized by harmony, peace and prosperity. Consider Fortune Magazine’s Best 100 Companies to Work For and you will find employers who do their best to shape happy lives for their appreciative employees in exchange for above the norm effort and performance in their respective professions.
Naturally competition helps to fuel the drive for excellence among the best companies. Fall behind and a fickle public seeking value particularly during times of economic strife will take their dollar elsewhere faster than Charlie Sheen will dial up the next porn star goddess.
But herein lays the problem. The NFL has no real competitor. There isn’t another league that their customers can stray to while the owners and players bathe in greed.
Sure there will be some families living pay check to pay check, struggling to put their kids through college who may become disgusted and not renew their season tickets; perhaps they won’t buy that player jersey after all; maybe they’ll even cancel their cable sports package.
Yes the league will suffer some losses at least initially but let’s face it, after a season or two even the most infuriated fans will return for the love of the game. You know it and I know it and so too does the NFL.
The fact is we Americans are extremely forgiving particularly when it comes to celebrities. How else can you explain why a serial dog murderer two years following his release from prison is second in fan Pro Bowl voting?
Michael Vick was second only to Tom Brady and far outdistancing the Super Bowl quarterbacks from the previous season, both with stellar off-the-field reputations – Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Yes it hurts. It hurts that the owners and players can toy with us this way. It’s on par with the girl who leaves you, breaks your heart then wants you back only to break your heart all over again. Until there’s a meaningful alternative that can fill the void created by their absence, they hold all the cards.
It’s that simple.
And despite his faux attempt at empathy in his letter to fans, Roger Goodell really doesn’t care about how you feel nor does DeMaurice Smith for that matter. They only care about your money and as long as you keep shelling it out – and I know you will, they will continue to manipulate your emotions and love for the game.
That’s just the way it is…