We knew it was only a matter of time before the NFL Lockout started affecting “the regular people.”
It looks as though that time is just around the corner.
ESPN.com, citing unnamed sources, says the Arizona Cardinals will begin instituting one-week furloughs to non-contract employees beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m. So while billionaire owners and millionaire players hash out their differences, employees making $30,000 or $40,000 and likely needing every penny of their earnings will have to make do without a week of their pay. The Cardinals were also one of the first organizations to slash the salaries of their coaches by 35 percent across the board.
Trust that it won’t end there. According to sources, the NFL office has told employees while things remain the same for now, if the lockout goes into the summer there may be cutbacks that could include a reduction in hours, furloughs and possibly layoffs. The lockout is in day 66 as owners attempt to strong arm the players into essentially taking a cut in pay.
Chances are this lockout heads for a lengthy court battle, and it may be a while before we have professional football in our stadiums. We will just have to find our NFL excitement in mediation briefings and the occasional musings from either side like the New York Giants president John Mara posted on the team’s Website on Friday.
Mara basically takes the position the owners have done everything right and that the players are the ones who are being greedy and selfish. But Mara perhaps goes a step too far when he pretty much says that if the players win in court it would be the equivalent of allowing the prisoners to run the prison.
The NFL system as we know it would run amock, according to Mara.
“The likely changes would be great for NFLPA lawyers, but not for players, teams or, most importantly, fans,” Mara wrote. “For example, there could be no league-wide minimum player salaries, with many players making less than they do today, or no minimum team player costs, with many clubs cutting payrolls the way some teams do in other sports. Other bedrock components of the NFL's competitiveness, such as the draft, would be called into question and assailed as antitrust violations. A steroid testing program is a must, so we would have to consider an independent administrator such as WADA. There could be varying player benefit plans from team to team, and limits on the ability to enforce other league-wide rules that benefit players, especially rank-and-file players that do not go to the Pro Bowl.
“Even a settlement of the Brady lawsuit, in which the plaintiffs agree to certain rules, could be challenged by other players—now or in the future. The league and individual clubs would likely be hit with a barrage of lawsuits. We could end up with an unregulated system in which a disproportionate amount of money goes to 'stars' and where teams in small markets struggle for survival. The very concept of a league with 32 competitive teams would be rendered virtually inoperable.”
Contact Terrance Harris at email@example.com.
(Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)