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Posted at 8:36 AM ET, 03/ 3/2011

NFL lockout's biggest losers are football fans

By Cindy Boren

It doesn't take a genius to figure out who the big losers in the NFL labor dispute are going to be: it's the fans.

"We can't look to settled law to try to predict what's going to happen because this will create the law," Gabe Feldman of the Tulane University sports law program told Judy Battista of the New York Times. "As a sports fan, this is a terrible time. As a sports law professor, this is pretty great stuff."

See? Ugh. "If the NFL and NFLPA can't get this solved, they can't blame the fans. But they will answer to us in the coming weeks," Brian Frederick of the Sports Fans Coalition promises, via Twitter.

How are you feeling as a lockout seems a foregone conclusion? Via Twitter today, fans said:

@thebrowncoat: The fans. Also the #Redskins because labor disputes = SUPER BOWL.

@fanatchicks: as a bizwoman i get the drive for profit by owners but GREED is not a good reason to screw your workforce #LetThemPlay

@davechen: Players all the way! They're the ones sacrificing their bodies and their minds over very short careers.

@damienwoods: Its not about sides. Its about compromise. There needs to be give on both sides of any labor dispute for anyone to win. #nfl

@ProSportsForums: I'm on my side. It costs me a minimum of $1000 to take my family to a game. A fortune for me, a pittance for those arguing $9Bn

@calbears96: can Newman be the arbiter?

@Sand2Stone: I side against whoever I feel is causing my team to not play. Players in past when on strike & now owners when they lockout.

@AndrewDeFrank: I don't care who wins. I JUST WANT FOOTBALL!

@DCHokiefan: owners all day. #antiunionsentiment

@d_ericsson: Call me boring, but not on anyone's side! Feel both parties are trying to hold on to an extreme rather than about-right middle.

@hannnahkl: There are a bunch of players making league min who get nothing during lockout;owners get paid regardless.Have to side w/players.

@theRyanRice: is anyone in the general public not on the players' side?!?!

@CALEBC33: personally I'm on the "get this thing over with" side!

@RealRedskins: Neither. They're both trying to win, so everyone is losing. #NFL"

@DArkMEATHOOK: I always side with labor over management

@sdo1: A POX on BOTH of them.

@agupta20854: I'm on the fans side. Don't care what they do Mar-Aug. Just play in September!

@Burgundy: Hard to take a "side" when they just go around in circles.

@mikedusak: players. Owners make insane amounts of money as is, they treat the players like dirt and get away with it

@lightness314: The players deserve more...

By Cindy Boren  | March 3, 2011; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  NFL  
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Next: NFL lockout: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees would be plaintiffs


The poll is flawed. It should have a choice for "neither." The truth is the players are overpaid and the owners also make too much. The fans pay the freight through high ticket prices, high cable bills, and the purchase of team merchandise at exorbitant prices. What really needs to happen is the players should be payed less and the owners should make less and these savings should be passed back to the fans in the form of lower ticket prices and more reasonable cable bills. This statement hold true for all professional sports and professional athletes. But as long as the fans insist on worshipping athletes and entertainers, and being groupies in the "cult of fame",we will continue to be victimized and pay for the privilege.

Posted by: yardbird41 | March 3, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The only thing we as fans lose is some entertainment. It sucks, but otherwise our lives don't change. The real losers are the people could be out of a job if there's a lockout. They don't deserve to have to pay for owner & player greed with their own paycheck.

Posted by: Smitity | March 3, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

another reason to watch college football and extend it into playoffs thru January...Yardbird41 is right there should be another category except it should be "who friggin cares"

Posted by: ws50599 | March 3, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If the owners had their way, the 32 starting quarterbacks would collectively quit the union and the league could proceed as a glorified punt, pass and kick competition. Because where the media and casual (ignorant) fans are concerned, all they care about are the quarterbacks.

Posted by: VPaterno | March 3, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

NFL salary structure is so out of wack (negatively) compared to other sports. Truth is something drastic needs to be done. NFLPA will not get another chance anytime soon to address the seeming imbalance as to regards to the revenue sharing formula. The owners are making money... they want the ability to make more money. In a league where some owners don't put money back into their teams (their product) such behavior should not be rewarded. Set a Rookie salary cap. Have a Rookie maximum contraction duration of 3 years with an exemption or an ability to negotiate a long term contract if you make All Pro any year during your first 3 years in the NFL. Have players and owners set aside matching funds for the retirement account for players. Cut down on meaningless preseason games that we fans pay full price for. Expand game day roster to account for injuries. If money to pay for the expanded roster is a problem, have some players be put on provisional contracts (I bet they will prefer that to not being on an NFL roster). Both sides need to come together to get this done. NFL is king of all sports, they should endeavor to keep it that way.

Posted by: samiismoni14 | March 3, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

AMEN Yardbird!!! I am a Skins season ticket holder and every year it is getting harder and harder to write that BIG check. One of these years I will tell the NFL and Snyder to stuff it.

Posted by: jerod1 | March 3, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I started out thinking both sides were being greedy. But the more I read the more I see that it is the owners who are being the greedy, unrelenting ones. It's galling.

Posted by: PerfectTiming | March 3, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Call the owners greedy, but they in fact OWN the teams. As owners, it is there right to determine what they are willing to pay their employees. If the employees don't like it, go work at the local supermarket stocking shelves. In every economy there are the haves and the have nots. Like it or not, ownership is in the drivers seat.

Posted by: motiongrfx | March 3, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"The poll is flawed. It should have a choice for "neither.""


Yeah, it's a business but I don't think anybody on these boards can relate to the money any of these clowns make. I'm on the "fans" side.

Life will go on without them, I don't think they understand that yet.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 3, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Is there an option for "Nobody has my sympathy but I don't really care one way or the other"?

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | March 3, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, billionaire or millionaire, SIDE WITH THE OWNERS AND NOT WHINY PLAYERS. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, START YOUR OWN LEAGUE. HOW MANY OF YOU WOULD WANT SOMEONE TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR HOUSE? CAR? SECOND HOUSE? HOW ABOUT THOSE ILLEGALS YOU HIRE TO DO YOUR YARD AND HOUSE WORK - DO YOU WANT TO HIRE LEGALS NOW AND PAY MORE?

Posted by: KDSmallJr | March 4, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the player sacraficing there bodies for my entertainment.

It's not like the owners aren't getting paid they want more!

We all know the players are going to pay later in life.
They deserve more money if anything and it should go towards there retirement.

Posted by: shamken | March 4, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I'll take the minority view here...

Big picture, the owner is the boss, the player the employee. The boss can make whatever offer he/she wants, and the player can choose to accept it or not.

The whole concept of a union for employees who are in this tax bracket is beyond ludicrous. Unions, in our nation's history, have been important in protecting the rights of employees whose rights have needed protecting. The median salary in 2009 was $770,000. The minimum salary is something like $325,000. The idea that the NFL players need a union is just silly.

And here is the dirty little secret that the players so quickly forget: If every single player (every one) were to retire tomorrow, or be kicked out of the league---for whatever reason---the league would go on. SO many people play high level college football, that we would have no problem re-filling rosters. The fans would initially miss today's stars, but new ones would quickly emerge and the league would still be great.

Players, stop whining. It is hard to stomach guys making more than 99.9999% of the people who have ever lived whining about wanting more. As for the owners (repeat after me people... like it or not): THEY OWN THE TEAMS. They can do whatever they want, they are the ones who earned (or inherited) enough money to buy the team, they are the ones who assume the risk in running the team, and (again, like it or not) they can run their company any way they'd like, it is their earned prerogative.

I'm not defending the owners nor saying they aren't greedy. I'm saying that (a) the owners have the right to do as they please; and (b) the players can easily (yes, easily) be replaced.

Posted by: psdfx | March 4, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Median NFL salary is $770,000. Most NFL careers last 3.5 years. So a typical player can reasonably expect to make $2.695 Million in a career. But after subtracting for agent's commision and taxes that's down to $1.536 million dollars take home for a career. Now $1.536 million is a nice sum of money but when you consider the average life expectancy of NFL players is between 63 - 68 years old depending on their position, the additional football related medical expense they must pay throughout their lives, and the fact that every day we are learning about the impact of traumatic head injuries that prevent players (even the exceedingly bright ones) from holding down a white collar job then that $1.536 million dollars doesn't seem like the players are as "overpaid" as folks like yardbird seems to think they are.

The players, all with specialized football skills, are the engine of an entity that generate $9 billion per yer. To call a typical player that in a year takes home as a percentage (770,000/9,000,000,000)= 0.000085555% of that overpaid is beyond silly and ill informed.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | March 4, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

One more thought to follow up on my own post: If the players were taking the kind of physical abuse they take to play NFL football, and being paid $35,000 per year with no guaranteed contracts, I could see their point.

As to the argument that players' careers are short, three points: (1) They could choose a different career path if they don't like it; (2) MOST people have to work for more than two to three years of their adult lives... If their NFL career is short, well, get another job if you need money---like the rest of us; and (3) If a minimum salary player played 3 years in the league and were smart with his money, he could probably live on very little for those three years, invest the rest and have somewhere between $700,000 and $800,000 in the bank. Enough to live on for the rest of your life? Perhaps, perhaps not, but a really (really) good start, 3 years out of college.

Players need to stop whining.

Posted by: psdfx | March 4, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

6thsense, I appreciate your perpective, but your assumption is that a player who only plays for 3 years should be set for life. Why? In what other arena should you be set for life if you only work 3 years? If a player is not set for life after his 3.5 year career, well, go get another job.

Posted by: psdfx | March 4, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

^ perspective...

(And I didn't call the players overpaid. I called them highly paid.)

Posted by: psdfx | March 4, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The greedy owners are all that is wrong with America. The owners are all billionaires. The players have a built in wedge between them with only a handful being millionaires. The millionaire players won't remain loyal to a union made up mostly of rank and file sub-millionaire players. The owners are looking to steal more money from the union. The lowest paid players will suffer the most.

This is a reflection of the class warfare being waged by the rich against the working class in every capitalist economy around the world.

I think the average fan will be committing economic suicide by purchasing such a tainted product as the NFL owners would like to present.

Posted by: msmart2u | March 4, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

What a stupid and incomplete poll. The fourth choice should have been to hell with the both of them.

Posted by: Ve1ostrummer | March 4, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Psdfx... I totally agree. Thanks for being more eloquent in your reponse than my earlier response. We both said the same thing, but you hit the nail on the head more appropriately.


Posted by: motiongrfx | March 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Owners' sons and grandsons are not NFL players. They may inherit the team, but never play (even if they are athletically talented). Billionaires won't risk their lives or a lifetime of pain and injury, and possible disability. If it was profitable and better for players then billionaires' sons would compete in the sport. America is one of the few countries that can get workers to hate one another and want them to make less money than billionaires, millionaires, corporations and owners. These people laugh at American workers trying to bring each other down. You would never hear billionaires disparaging each others incomes.

Posted by: 12345leavemealone | March 5, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The continuing strikes, walkouts, and stoppages finally let me realize that being a pro team sports fan is not interesting. I don't see anyone actually caring about the sport, so I ceased to care also. Goodbye.

Posted by: dand246 | March 5, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, the owners lose more. With their coifs, trophy wives, and greed, they fit right in with the Wall Street gang and the US Senate. Neither association bodes well, but, when all of these buffoons say, "Supersize me!" they mean their egos.

Let's take a couple of years off from NFL football, the contemporary version of Bread & Circuses.

Posted by: mini2 | March 5, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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