The QB Blast: Owners Cheering Players’ WorkoutsJune 8th, 2011
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,
Today, Carlson explains why he believes players are ultimately working against their interests by holding organized workouts.
By JEFF CARLSON
As a young NFL player I didn’t care much about politics. But the older I get the more I care about the editorials in the newspaper and less about sports.
George Will is a baseball historian and political writer/television commentator with an article about the NFL labor strife that I saw in the Tampa Tribune (page 10) on Tuesday (June 7).
He chronicles the same arguments that have been made in my previous QB Blasts and other places about the financials of the owners and players dividing up over $9 billion in revenue. He finishes his article by stating the owners don’t realize the very nature of the NFL player is to endure pain, so losing paychecks come September may not send the players running back to the bargaining table.
Mr. Will unknowingly makes a critical mistake about professional football players and pain. Sure, the enduring physical abuse heaped on the body is engrained in players from their earliest days of Pee-Wee football, but these are the same behemoth “mama’s boys” that faint at the sight of a needle.
After so many struggle with nothing — unless you are Reggie Bush or Cam Newton (allegedly) — through their first 22 years of life, the feeling of a few bucks in your pocket is pretty addictive — and fleeting as their competitive juices work against their bank accounts.
Too many try to get just one more carat in their earrings than their buddies, a couple more inches on their 3D flat-screens and leave them needing the next season to begin for financial reasons, not necessarily competitive ones.
Republicans in political office have been finding it incredibly difficult to walk back the out-of-control government spending (even to 2008 levels) while Democrats think creating more government jobs and even more spending will fix the worsening deficit problems.
The owners are in a similar situation, but the NFL isn’t working from a deficit like we are as Americans.
To fix what they say is the problem, the NFL owners actually need the lockout to continue into the season to walk back the numbers from the previous deal (that saw both sides increase their wealth). The only way the owners get what they want is to make the players miss paychecks.
Under DeMaurice Smith, who is playing out the most important and critical negotiation of his career (past, present and future), the players won’t break before that (that is why they hired a lawyer to lead them instead of another former player) unless the owners give them the numbers that they want.
A few months ago I believed that they would wrap this thing up by August 15th or simply agree to go back to playing under the old agreement (like they did from 1988-1993) while continuing to figure it out. But after further review I realize the owners have to take this into the season for them to get what they want for the future, that is unless all the owners aren’t solidified on what they want for the future.
George Will calls the owners’ arguments for needing adjustments to the expired agreement paradoxical. They say they need more money for stadiums that 90% of their fans never or rarely use.
The players have a serious paradox of their own. ESPN, the newspapers and sites like this one tell us each day about the players organizing themselves for workouts. Josh Freeman is leading his team by organizing well attended group workouts, while Michael Vick is in Virginia, not leading the Philadelphia Eagles.
ESPN reported through Donald Driver that the Green Bay Packers haven’t put any of these training sessions together, and former players Tedy Bruschi and Mike Golic debated the importance and impact of missing them. Driver said they are still enjoying the Super Bowl win, even though we are in June, just a week or so before their ring ceremony for winning last season’s championship.
The players’ paradox is that the more organized workouts these guys put together the more they put their whole labor battle in peril. We all know the owners can financially outlast the players, so the owners are probably cheering every time they see players spending their own money on lodging, airfare, restaurants to have these “team-building” exercises.
While the Packers stay at home and save their pennies, they are doing the smart thing by keeping financial reserves in their bank accounts for the future fight.
As fans we cheer Josh Freeman, Drew Brees and others showing their commitment and dedication (love for the game) to be prepared for the on-field fight whenever this thing concludes.
But unless they are footing the bill for their less financially prepared teammates, they are unwittingly weakening their ability to hold on for what they are ultimately fighting for.