NFL lockout hurts players and fans

This NFL season was, in my opinion, one of the better seasons I can remember. It had all the excitement that could be expected, and it ended in a thrilling Super Bowl with an unexpected champion. Seasons like this are what keep fans flocking to their TVs every Sunday, year after year, to support their teams or even enduring every weather condition known to man as they pack themselves into sold out stadiums to see their favorite athletes battle it out in person. The NFL is a central institution in America that rakes in several billion dollars of revenue every year. But now, the future and even the existence the NFL is in serious question. The football players and the owners of the team franchises are involved in a legal battle over how to split up the enormous profits that the teams gain every year, and the NFL has come to a screeching halt. The stop in operations began on March 11, when the owners organized a player lockout in response to threats of a future strike. The players are not allowed into team facilities after attempts at collectively bargaining for better terms in a new contract failed and their old contract expired. In retaliation to the lockout, the Players’ Union dissolved and several well known players such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady have filed an anti-trust law suit against the NFL owners. They are arguing that the owners are simply trying to take in more revenue. The owners are trying to get a larger percentage of the annual revenue, but, in reality, if there is no 2011 season, the owners income will increase anyway. The owners have already negotiated for a 4.5 billion dollar T.V. contract, and if there are no games this season, their expenses will all but disappear. The owners are arguing that the expenses of keeping a football team are going up and that they need more revenue to off set their costs. They claim that they need the money to continue to build state of the art stadiums and that they need more monetary security to take care of the risks of running a business. These claims sound fairly concrete, but the owners are also refusing to open up their books for a full audit. This move is very sketchy and begs the question of whether or not they are being completely truthful. And, since the owners have already insured that they make money next season regardless of whether or not there are any football games, they really have no reason to end the lockout until the players accept their terms, or they are forced to by a federal judge. Unfortunately, if the lockout continues, the real losers are the fans. With no football season, thousands of jobs across the country will be affected. Everyone from employees of the franchises, restaurant owners, and even the people that allow cars to park in their yards to earn a few extra bucks every game will feel the effects of losing a season. Even the regular fans will feel the loss. Sitting at home staring at a black TV just isn’t the same as if there was football on that TV. No one would know what to do, and crime and chaos would run rampant in the streets. The world as we know it would screech to a halt in the U.S. of A. and we would all be forced to flee to Europe where they watch soccer and don’t care about petty squabbles between football entities. But for now, we will just have to wait and see what happens. With no current income, and the football season several months away, neither the owners or the players have any real urgency to resolve the problem. This standoff could easily last until next season, but even after this is resolved, the public may not be so supportive of the NFL after having to sit through a profits squabble between billionaires and millionaires. As much as I liked this year’s football season, I sincerely hope that the Green Bay Packers won’t go down in history as the winners of both the first and last Super Bowls.