Those of you who follow me on Twitter were privy to an almost-all-day-and-night Twitfight between myself and Ralph Cindrich yesterday.
I think I need to set a few things straight.
First of all, it all started with this Tweet:
The headline is from an article by Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report, who I met in Indianapolis and who is a good guy. My reaction was to the headline, not the article.
The notion that ownership is pushing an "enhanced season" with total disregard for the concerns of the players is patently absurd. Yes, stars such as Ray Lewis, Tom Brady and Charles Woodson have come out against it, Lewis and Woodson pretty forcefully so. That is part of the back and forth we can expect over the course of the next year.
But I find it hard to believe that, in the course of negotiations, the NFL has looked across the table and said: "We don't give a rats ass about your concerns". I also doubt very much that, when presented with the relevant data about the average number of players put on IR each year, the league responds by sticking their fingers in their ears.
It's all about money - and that part of it has been covered pretty thoroughly. Obviously, the NFL hopes that the public will want two extra regular season games enough to force the unions hand and make them capitulate. However, I don't think the NFL really grasps how well informed fans are when it comes to the medical issues facing today's players, how much is out there regarding the after-effects of the violence they live with during their playing career.
And as I Tweeted within an hour of the league making the 18-game proposal public:
So the NFL wants the players to play more and reduce their slice of the overall profit pie for their troubles. Got it.
The point being, of course, that there is no way on God's Green Earth that the league can hold to their demand that the players take an 18% reduction (if you believe the players' math) of their slice of the revenue pie if they expect the players to play two more regular season games.
Of course, one Mr. Ralph Cindrich didn't bother to find out anything about anything when it comes to where I really stand on these issues - he saw my Tweet about the Bleacher Report headline and went...to...town.
I'll spare you the play-by-play. I'll just point out some choice back and forths:
On the owners proposal being "all about the money"
AN: Of course it is - players aren't driven by money?
RC: Sure. Where does it say they'll get more & what's their vote?
Well Ralph, I think my Tweet from LAST WEEK pretty much shows that I am in your corner on that one.
Then I tried to point out to him that I have consistently kept an open mind and listened to both sides:
AN: As soon as someone shows me the proposal, I'll let you know. And perhaps you missed this
RC: I missed ur piece- so what? Players have no say-proposal is 18 games
AN: Pointing out that I don't take sides - yet. I also don't sit back and let people shape the discussion w/o asking questions
So far, a pretty tame exchange.
Then, well, things got salty.
AN: As far as the players not having a say, they are always free to find a new line of work, no?
RC: Statement of an idiot. Coal miners can too.
OK, setting aside the fact that he just compared professional football players to coal miners...and then called ME an idiot, I have to admit this response really pissed me off. And it was only compounded with his follow up:
RC: u show an innate disdain for the player & that is inexcusable if u cover them
I'm sorry, but what a total load of bullshit.
Just because I don't buy everything coming out of NFLPA Headquarters doesn't mean I have a 'disdain' for professional football players. Anyone who has read this blog or tuned in to Packer Transplants know in what high regard I hold guys like LeRoy Butler, Bart Starr, Jermichael Finley, Nick Barnett...the list goes on and on. For the love of God, I co-host a show that regularly features undrafted free agents struggling to make the Packers roster. But I have an "innate disdain" for the players?
Give me a sizable break.
I tried to make the point that I don't have a dog in this hunt again:
RC: Who cares-not the issue
AN: But it IS the issue Ralph. You say I'm biased. I call 'bullshit' on that. I can see both sides - can you?
Needless to say, this degenerated into all sorts of nonsense - poor Alex over at Packers Lounge even got hit with a stray Tweet or two - but we did end our afternoon session (yes, we picked back up in the evening) on an amicable note:
AN: Seriously Ralph - we should have a beer.
RC: You buyin? I like beer. Honestly, enjoyed & needed it. We're cool.
AN: Defiantly buying. Same here man.
I do hope this actually happens so I can explain to Ralph exactly where I'm coming from.