If there was any thought NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is out of touch with his constituents then he provided hard proof Wednesday.
We’re 10 weeks into the NFL lockout and commissioner finally seems to understand that this labor strife, brought on by his bosses, the owners – could hit the league where it hurts the most and that is lost dollars from the fan base. The sad thing is if Goodell didn’t have metrics of supar television rating from last month’s NFL draft or the lagging traffic on NFL.com he still might not have a clue that this work stoppage could cost the league some fans.
Maybe the fact that Tuesday the league had to cancel the Rookie Symposium scheduled for next month in Canton, becoming the first event cancellation due to the lockout.
"Fans want certainty," Goodell said to the media Wednesday as the owners wrapped up their spring meetings in Indianapolis. "We can't underestimate that the fans are going through challenges just in the general economy."
What they are really struggling with is wrapping their minds around billionaire owners and millionaire players not being able to settle their differences when it comes to the $9 billion empire. The owners want the players to have less of a take in the total revenue while asking them to possibly put themselves at further risk by playing more games. The players, of course, aren’t hearing it.
In the meantime, the fans are left hanging, not sure when the season will start or even if there is going to be a 2011 campaign. They are showing their disgust with apathy.
"Clearly it has had an impact on the fans," Goodell observed.
What the fans want is for the two sides to hash out some type of agreement and fast to prevent delaying the start of the season. But that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. There is a June 3 hearing is set to deal with the league’s appeal to uphold the lockout. That will take several weeks to be solved.
In the meantime, there is a June 7 mediation date set for the two sides to come back to the table the chances are slim of any movement there while the appeal is being decided on.
So the fans will sit and wait. Maybe Goodell’s next hint that this work stoppage is having a negative impact is when he sees the ratings numbers from the NFL Network.
(Photo: AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores)