As we reach the deadline for the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement for the players union and the NFL, we as fans are faced with the very real possibility of a lock-out and we have to wonder if they will be able to come to a new agreement in time…
A few posts ago, I discussed the very real fear of brain injuries in the NFL. Just recently, Dave Duerson took his own life, believing he was suffering from C.T.E. (a condition created by traumatic brain injury), committed suicide and requested that his brain be donated to study the effects of football-related injury. (See this article for more information: http://www.wired.com/playbook/2011/02/duerson-suicide-brain-study/). It is my wish that through the new collective bargaining agreement, the players union will push for more health benefits, protection against playing when injured, and fight against the extra games being pushed for the regular season. As much as we, as regular people, think that players get too much credit, that we would be able to go out and play week after week, the truth is, we don’t know anything. I am more convinced than ever that any extension of the regular season will result in more injuries and more players on I.R. by the end of the season. Most players who have chose to comment agree that this will be more taxing than the average person thinks and that for the longevity of players, teams and the integrity of the play-offs, the NFL should not be pushing for these extra weeks.
Other terms involve money. The owners want players to take a pay-cut. Yes, I believe that players make a lot of money. A lot of them do. But I think the owners have asked for something like a billion dollar reduction in revenues for just the first year of the CBA alone. I don’t know many people, NFL players or paper-pushing office monkey who would want a pay-cut in these hard economic times. But what makes this different is, if the NFL can’t offer more protection against injuries, the money tends to offset the risk involved in the profession. Everyone likes to think that athletes are greedy. And maybe they are. But maybe they have at least one good reason to be, at this point.
All in all, I’m not 100% convinced that an agreement will be made in time. I feel that the players are in a worse position than the owners though. Many owners can take the financial hit that this would cause. Some players could too. But it will hit them harder, and they have a bigger incentive to reach an agreement, which could result in a more lop-sided deal than I would like to see. Regardless, as the lockout becomes a possibility, this could affect everything from trades to the draft, to even watching games this fall. I hope that they get this worked out and figure out a way to just get along, for the sake of the sport.