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Saturday March 12, 2011 9:52 am

NFLPA decertifies, NFL owners lock out players

DeMaurice Smith, head of NFLPAThere was only a small bit of hope that came in the form of two deadline extensions to continue to negotiate, but it wasn't enough as the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) led by DeMaurice Smith chose to decertify their union, allowing individual players to join together, not as a union, to sue the NFL owners. In turn, the NFL owners locked out their players from team facilities. No communication is allowed between players and the organization and its employees, such as coaches. Needless to say, the 2011 NFL season is now in jeopardy unless litigation can be settled quickly or somehow the two opposing sides can come to an agreement outside of court.



At the heart of the discrepancy is how to split $9 billion in revenue. Owners wanted a bigger share than they had previously, citing that some teams were not making a profit. The NFLPA wanted to have an audited look at each team's books for the past ten years, but the owners would only go back as far as five years. So, with the deadline coming up, the NFLPA was decertified by its members and players led by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning sued the NFL owners. Also, pre-emptively, they brought a case before the court to ban a lockout by the owners. If could take months before these cases are settled.

Other issues on the table include a 16-game vs. 18-game schedule, a lower rookie wage scale that would invest the eventual surplus to veterans and retired players, and a retired players fund. In the end, it's all about greed. However, from whom? The players are the ones that put their bodies on the line in a sport where the average shelf-life isn't long, so getting as much money as they can during that limited window makes sense, especially when you consider the nagging injuries post-career that many athletes suffer for the rest of their lives.

Owners on the other hand are usually business-savvy and usually have money to fall back on from something other than owning an NFL club. Do they have a right to make as much money as they can? Of course. However, when you consider that there is no game without players, the people that fans "relate" to, then there should be a little more preference towards the players. It's the players that make the NFL so popular amongst fans, that makes the fan spend a lot of money and time on tickets and merchandise. I'm not saying owners should give up the farm, but the terms should be a bit more favorable to the players.

If owners want to keep it in business terms, they can't make money if the product (high quality players) isn't out in the market. Think about it, even product that has stunk in recent years (sorry, Oakland), the fanbase is ridiculously loyal and still has a passion for a team made up of loveable players despite some faults. However, if there aren't any games, there won't be any fans, which means there won't be any money for anyone to split.



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