NFL Lockout and NBA Lockout: Labor Pains

Lockout. It’s the “L” word everyone’s talking about. Nope, it has nothing to do with the show, although I tried watching it in hopes of getting some information on the situation and left oddly confused about where the players and owners stand. Next season for both football and basketball could be in jeopardy and, unfortunately, Alex Trebek is not presiding over the dispute. Distribution of wealth and the owners’ desire to implement an 18-game season threaten to disrupt the NFL season, which apparently runs from April to February (or if you are the producer of NFL Live, never ends). Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith in a steel-caged death match. It would probably sell. Throw in a Doritos commercial and enough money would be generated to finance Jerry Jones’ new belt buckle, another Al Davis lawsuit against someone, or one more overpaid underperforming free agent signing for Dan Snyder. The NBA is seeking to reduce player costs by about 700 to 800 million dollars (the amount paid to Raef Lafrentz and Jim McIlvaine once). Contraction has been discussed (talk about labor pains!), but what would the world do without the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Charlotte Bobcats, apparently extinct NBA species for the better part of a decade.

(Cue movie announcer guy) Impasse. Concessions. Decertification. Collective bargaining agreement. These images invoke the excitement of an AFL/CIO meeting. The league and players union meetings will feature just as many suits, but just a smidge more athletic talent. George Meany was never much of a jump shooter anyway. Player salaries have come a long way since helmet-less athletes threw around a watermelon-shaped football made of horsehide earning nothing more than, perhaps, their two front teeth. Long gone are the days when basketball players took turns shooting at a suspended peach basket, earning nothing more than Dr. Naismith’s praise. Baseball teams played for peanuts and Cracker Jack. Nowadays athletes earn so much they could probably buy off Mr. Planter and wear the top hat and monocle themselves. Cracker Jack may sponsor a stadium and makes millions in the process. Sports figures have trumped, well, Donald Trump.

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CBS Rejected Players Union TV Ad

It’s the week of the Super Bowl and a time when the only focus for the NFL should be the big game. Unfortunately, the possibility of a work stoppage looms over the game and leaves us wondering whether next season will go on as scheduled. I’ll say one thing: the connection between the TV networks and the league is not helping matters.

The web site AdAge says CBS College Sports Network rejected a “Let Us Play” ad from the Players Association that was to run during the NFLPA All-Star Game on Saturday. One can say that CBS just wants to avoid the issue, but the union feels like the network’s connection with the league is keeping them from airing the issue.

For the time being, the union has relied on social media efforts to spread their message. Here’s what one of their ads on YouTube looks like:

Players Are Uniting, Have Weapons to Fight Owners

Prior to the Saints/Vikings season opener on Thursday night, the players gathered on their respective sidelines and held a finger in the air to show a sign of solidarity in the face of a labor dispute. The goal was for the players to get the fans on their side as they prepare for a fight with the owners regarding a new CBA.

While most people feel like the owners have the upper hand in the situation, the players’ union has some weapons in mind to fight back. Mike Silver wrote up a tome about the situation for Yahoo! Sports if you’re so inclined. In his lengthy column, Silv mentioned a few tricks the players may have up their sleeves:

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