|NFL lockout: It's all about respect|
|Written by Robert Bonner, Vidette Blogger|
|Thursday, 17 February 2011 19:20|
Revenue sharing, a player pay cut, an 18 game schedule, and a rookie wage scale will all be supposed reasons for what could be a lockout of the 2011 NFL season.
But at the root cause is something much more basic, something that cannot be measured on a graph or a chart - respect.
Behind America’s true pastime lies the ongoing battle for power and respect between the NFLPA and NFL owners.
Battling over billions of dollars on a yearly basis its astonishing the last league lockout was in 1987, but with a two new “players” in this war the league is headed for a long, nasty fight.
The NFL was marked by unparalleled stability from 1989 till 2009, as then Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and former NFLPA union president Gene Upshaw lived in harmony, avoiding work stoppages and forging a bond that lead to record economic success.
In 2006 Tagliabue and Upshaw successfully brokered a two year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, keeping their legacy of labor success intact.
This compromised, yet successful relationship, ended in 2006 with the retirement of Tagliabue and in 2008 with the death of Gene Upshaw. From that point forward it has been a battle for who will take control in this new era of leadership.
In 2006 Roger Goodell was hired as NFL commissioner and has unleashed an alter-ego known as the Warden. No tolerance policies and yearlong suspensions have become the norm in Goodell’s NoFunLeague. Goodell has taken Tagliabue’s democracy and turned it into a mixture of Castro and Stalin dictatorship.
An equally fierce opponent has arisen in DeMaurice Smith. It became clear to the NFLPA that the “good old boys” days of compromise and complacency were dead and brought in Smith a tough, savvy Washington lawyer.
Over the past two years Goodell and Smith have exchanged pleasantries in the media, both attempting to win the P.R battle by expressing their mutual hopes of coming to an agreement and avoiding a lockout. But make no mistake both Goodell and Smith know what is at stake.
The NFL is a $9 billion per year business. Just as any loyal fan of “The Apprentice” knows, power is decided in the board room.
ust two weeks ago football power was decided on the field with players such as Roethlisberger and Rodgers, Matthews and Polamalu. For at least the next couple of months it’s time for those stars to step aside as the battle for the most powerful person in sports will be waged over pens, legal documents, and contracts.