NFL players, owners couldn’t care less about the fans

Fans might have believed the myth the past couple days that the end of the NFL work stoppage will be about them.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course.

Actually it might be as much about ceiling fans, floor fans and hand-held folding fans with fancy Japanese patterns on them than about football fans.

Seriously, absurd is the notion that the NFL lockout was over when owners all but declared it was on Thursday.

The premise was that management pressured players to quickly approve the terms of a deal so they wouldn’t be viewed as the bad guys in the court of public opinion.


One of the great games within the games is that sports figures pretend to care what we think and we pretend to believe that they do.

Everybody in sports is involved in such a rat race to win, make money and live happily ever after that they pretty much have to care about only themselves.

So it was really dumb of anybody to think players would leap into a settlement. The only thing dumber was some in the media reported that management’s strategy was brilliant.

Look, neither side has cared about fans throughout these negotiations so why would they start now?

Oh, yes, they do say they that fans matter but what really matters is customers. Still, owners and players will go right up to the line where they offend customers ... and then they’ll even go over it.

Neither owners nor players cared about fans when baseball’s 1994 World Series was canceled. Or when more than an entire NHL season was squandered. Or when the NFL foisted replacement players upon us in 1987.

They don’t now in the NBA as a labor dispute jeopardizes the entire season.

(By the way, in an era when newspapers were thriving I went on strike to help shut one down for 10 weeks. To be honest, we weren’t thinking about how it would impact the readers and advertisers who depended on us.)

Public relations will be a concern after NFL owners and players finally finish designating the last dollar for assignment.

The public can’t hurry a collective bargaining agreement any more than you can hurry love.

So, NFL players resisted the urge to hastily complete a deal just because owners did what they do best — flex power, manipulate the system and try to exercise control.

As the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Bengals’ alternate player representative Reggie Kelly as saying, “It’s not about egos and personal feelings. It’s about business.”

In other words an agreement will be completed when it’s completed.

Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith would have been guilty of malpractice if he succumbed to a deal before its time.

Instead, Smith and the players ignored public relations and resumed labor relations.

The collective bargaining agreement will serve the NFL for 10 years, not 10 minutes. The Players’ Association understood that a couple more days or a week or however long was necessary even if fans might be irritated.

It would be irresponsible to trust that what owners say is in the deal is, and what they say isn’t in it isn’t.

So the players decided to take their time, do due diligence and perhaps make owners squirm in the process.

They’re also ignoring fans, which not only makes sense but comes naturally to players and owners anyway.

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