I am crabby.
I am not fun to be around.
I do not like the current discussions about the NFL CBA/labor issues/draftees rights/the use of the word Redskins.
So I have been “laying low” (RIP Nate Dogg).
I haven’t answered emails. Or posted football thoughts. I spent most of my day yesterday watching highlights from the last time my favorite soccer team won UEFA Champions League and did my best to ignore what is quickly turning into a shit storm around me.
We’ve been without football for less than a week, and already everything seems to have fallen apart. Okay, maybe I’m being a little over dramatic here, but for realz, I’m not a happy camper.
I went on record saying I didn’t like the extensions for the CBA negotiations, seemed like they were simply postponing the evitable. I have all the faith in the world that there will be a full season of football next year, but I also believe that to get to that point we have to live in a world without it for a little while. Things have to get worse before they can get better.
So maybe I just better prepared myself for what this life, this world, would be like. Or maybe I’m just living in a bubble. But either way, I feel disconnected from whatever experience the rest of NFL fans are going through.
Yesterday, while trying to find someone who could back me up on the whole “I’m not super angry with the NFLPA stance” I came across a certain CBS writer on twitter who was surprised that the stadiums were taking down banners of the players and removing their bios from team websites. “NFL teams are going too far…”. Meanwhile I spent my day on Saturday checking Packers.com confused why the bios were still up.
What did people think would happen? The players are locked out. They left the table, decertified and the owners locked them out. The teams don’t have rights to their information, or anything NFLPA licensed, anymore. It’s not “going too far” to remove the information; it’s called following the rules.
Is it a little weird? Does it make us all uncomfortable? Yes. But isn’t that kind of the point? This isn’t a pretty negotiation. They tried that; it didn’t work. The goal, from a leverage perspective, is to make the other side as uncomfortable as possible so that they will cave, right?
So that brings me to the whole draft debate. Last night as SB and I were watching soccer I asked him if he had heard anything about it and if he had an opinion. He had no clue. And THAT made me happy. This whole draft thing is killing me. And yes, I am aware that I am feeding the flames by talking about it. And I’m aware that MOST of you disagree with me. But here’s the thing: I don’t care that the NFLPA asked/suggested/wants to force (you pick your tone) potential draftees to not attend the NFL draft. I. don’t. care.
Is it a political move? Yes. Is the NFLPA using its power in hopes/trying to force (again, choose you’re tone) younger guys, who aren’t in the union yet, to side with them? You betcha! And still. I don’t care. Because this is a labor battle.
I’m not an NFL player. I’m not a kid blessed with enormous talents who spent my life dreaming of playing in the NFL. I don’t know if I would prefer to shake Roger Goodell’s hand or be surrounded by my friends and family in my house. I don’t know if I would be siding with the owners (my future bosses) or the players (my future teammates/union members). I don’t know. But I can say that having been a former member of a union, that at times I have made my own sacrifices for the betterment of my union. If I were one of those kids, I’m pretty sure the NFLPA bringing up the idea of skipping the draft wouldn’t be the first time it entered my head.
The NFLPA is not the only people making the draft an issue. It would have been awkward either way. And yes, that sucks for the players who will be drafted, who had no say in the way that any of this is playing out. But even if the “union” never “suggested” anything, even if precious Drew Rosenhaus wasn’t running around asking his new clients to side with his older ones, the draft would be different. I’ve heard talks booing. And we’re not talking Donovan McNabb booing here, but actual booing, ala soccer style, every time Goodell is up at the podium, or at the owners. I’ve heard talks of people boycotting the draft. Would those actions not affect the players in attendance? The guys whose dreams of walking across a stage seems so important to so many people right now.
And then let’s talk about what happens afterwards. You get your jersey, you know your team, and then you go home. There’s no talking to the team (although, this seems to get a little confusing to me as people have said that teams can talk to players during the draft – I assume this meant before they draft them). There’s no late night before the draft financial deals ala Mario Williams and Sam Bradford. What if that was my dream? What if I was some kid who had the chance to be taken number one and my dream was to spend the day before the draft fielding phone calls with my agent talking numbers, so that on draft day I already knew what was going to happen. That dream can’t happen, and no one’s crying over that.
I get that it sucks for the draftees. There is no way that this situation plays out like it has in years past. This is not your normal draft. But it’s not just because the NFLPA wants the draftees to skip the draft; it’s because negotiations broke down and now we’re in decertification/lock out mode. Side with whomever you want in this, the owners, the players, but either way, they’re both playing the same game. And it’s a game that, frankly, we’re all going to be pissy about until the NFL has returned to normal.
In a world where people are worried about a nuclear meltdown, and where many people were “taken” last night by a lousy twitter dude douchily pretending to offer a $50 donation to Japan for every new follower (I’m sure John will have more on this story) I just can’t find the passion to get pissed off over the “smaller” issues arising from the NFL lockout. Bottom line we all want football. Doesn’t matter how. Doesn’t matter the concessions either side makes. (Does the rookie wage scale or number of games really affect you? Do you honestly care?) We just want football.
So feel free to hate on me, on this. I’m probably some insensitive fool who just doesn’t care about the hopes and dreams of young men everywhere. But really I do. I’ve just come to the conclusion that things have to be made difficult, business as usual needs to be disrupted, before I will ever get what I want, and that’s football. And something tells me that the few men who even have a chance to get invited to walk across that stage, also care about actually getting to play football as well.
Filed Under: Jayme Joers