2011 NFL Work Stoppage sign now

March 14, 2011

Fans of the National Football League,

It is crucial that in the face of a non-existent 2011 season, we understand and exercise our leverage, and remind these individuals why this game exists in the first place. The ability of professional athletes, and the owners of the clubs they are employed by, to garnish billions of dollars in revenue from the pockets of us, the fans, has been taken for granted for too long. The fact that throwing a ball down a fieldor through a hoop, or in a ballpark for that matterhas any relevance is because of us, the fan. We are the ones who on game day are spending our labored income on tickets, parking, merchandise, jerseys, and food, all of which have become astronomically overpriced to feed the NFLs exponentially growing greed. Yet, owners and players are at an impasse over how to divide the 9 billion dollars we are paying them. But we must remember, it is because of us, that these individuals get to argue over how to split up 9 billion dollars in revenue. We sign all of their checks.

Observe, we must be careful not to place the onus for this work stoppage on the players. We need to understand that the players are being taken advantage of by owners, who refuse to treat players like business partners. It is the players that we, the fans are paying to see; they are the ones risking serious injuries the second they walk on the field, not the owners, whose minor injuries occur, if ever, fiscally. Players should be given the full, lifetime health coverage they are seeking; in the face of data that links sever depression to the game, statistical evidence revealing that linemen live on average 18 years less than the average American male, and the frighteningly sharp increase of concussions which threaten players careers, not to do so would be nothing short of irresponsible

But aside from a health care dispute, it is difficult to take sides in a disagreement between millionaires and billionaires. While this may be a bit oversimplified, these men are being paid to play a childs gamealbeit an incredibly violent game that can cause life threatening injuries all while generating 9 billion dollars in profitbut a game nonetheless.

If there is no NFL next season, life will go on. We will find other ways to occupy our Sunday afternoons and Monday nights. There is baseball, basketball, and hockey. We can even still get our football: college football, high school footballeven the recently formed United Football Leagueare more than viable options for a football fix. We are resilient, we are strong. We stood together after the events of 9/11. Weve rebuilt in the aftermath of natural disaster. We are bracing ourselves through the economic recession we find ourselves in. No NFL in 2011 would be nothing to us.

However, if one game is lost of the 2011 season, it will have become more than apparent that the owners and players are more dedicated to their own profits, rather than to the game which we as fans have made possible. We will need to show these individuals that we are the reason this business exists.

We have invested our money and time into our favorite clubs. Aside from the heaping amounts of money we spend to attend games and purchase our favorite players authentic jersey, we also have invested ourselves into our clubs; our hopes, dreams, and aspirations in quantities much larger than any dollar amount. We have cheered for our clubs, we have cried with our clubs. Players and owners come and go. Our loyalty to our club is forever. At least it was. Until now.

If one game is lost in the 2011 season, I propose that we the fans boycott the NFL for 2 whole years from the date the next game is played. We, the fans have allowed the NFL to flourish into a 9 billion dollar a year business, and we, the fan have the ability to stop the flow of those 9 billion dollars into these individuals pockets; then what will they argue over?

We as fans also have a list of accommodations that we would require to be met in order for us to begin using our income to fund the NFLs operations:

i) All tickets prices must be slashed by no less than 55\% and remain at this level for 3 years. After 3 years, the price may begin to increase by 5\% every other year.
ii) The NFL will retract any blackout clauses it has with television networks, agreeing to air local games even in the event of a non-sell out.
iii) Fans of the teams competing in the Super Bowl will be given a preliminary opportunity to purchase Super Bowl tickets at a reasonable fare, to reward their loyalty to their club and to the NFL. A system will be set up where fans of the clubs may register at the beginning of preseason with the NFL through their club to be considered for preliminary opportunities.
iv) The NFL will develop and create one publicly traded team (NYSE), giving fans the opportunity to purchase shares. A publicly traded team, divided equally amongst share holders, with an elected CEO will ensure the fans representation amongst the group of owners.

Unfortunately, it has come to this. Greed has blinded those in the decision making roles not only in the NFL, but in the many facets and aspects of our country, and world. Money is the only force to which power seems to bend to. Let us not forget that this 9 billion dollar argument is over our 9 billion dollars.

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Winnie BlakeBy:
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National Football League (NFL)


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