As most of you know by now, the 8th Circuit Court ruled that the NFL's lockout could remain in place pending appeal. Journalists and bloggers have been chipping in their two cents about the underlying meaning of the ruling. The general conclusion seems to be that the ruling hurts the chances of football in the Fall. On top of all that, writers seem to be divided more now than ever about which "side" to take. I've personally bounced back and forth, but I think I'm ready to take a "side."
Owners have my vote. Now I want to point out something I heard yesterday, and it does seem to be the case. On "Around the Horn" yesterday, one of the writers said that the judges' votes seem to fall along political lines. Republicans tend to rule for the owners, while; Democrats tend to rule in favor of the players. I want to avoid political issues. So, I'm just going to ignore that issue.
I view the relationship between the owners and the players as an employer, employee relationship. Now, I also understand the problem with asking an employee to take a pay cut. Here's the difference between the NFL's offer to the players and any other employer asking an employee to take a pay cut. Most employees can find another job with comparable or better salaries than the new offer from their employer. I'm willing to bet that less than 1% of all NFL players can find another job that pays in the same zip code as the owners' new offer.
My core argument here is that anti-trust laws were not intended to be applied in this case. Don't get me wrong, the laws do apply here, but the writers of the laws didn't envision their laws being applied to professional sports teams and players.
I have a problem with much of what the NFLPA has done. In my opinion, the NFL's offer is tough to stomach as an employee, but the owners are exercising an option that was built into the last CBA to opt out early. That's their right. I do believe that the owners have been negotiating in good faith, something the NFLPA hasn't been doing in my opinion. I want what's best for football, and in this instance, I think the owners eventually "winning" will be the best thing for football and the NFL in the long run.