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A Failure To Communicate

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A Failure To Communicate

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:

Oh come on RT @Schottey: RT @BleacherReport NFL Owners Seek An "Enhanced" Season In Spite Of Player Concerns

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

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:

AN: I've written that @nflcommish has insulted my intelligence before. Does that mean I have an innate disdain for the league?

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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

geogn4t's picture

I'm not gonna lie, the back and forth tweeting kept me entertained at work.

foundindaho's picture

I missed the end of the exchange. Glad it all ended amiably - a memorable Twitterfight. ;)

PackersRS's picture

Wow. Someone took it very personal that someone over the internet disagreed with his opinion.

Damn you, digital inclusion!

frosty's picture

Seeing someone thrash about like a baby on twitter when they're supposed to be a licensed attorney...well, it really destroys all credibility in my book.

hyperRevue's picture

Thanks for the recap - I was planning on asking you for one, actually. I read it in real time and had a hard time figuring out who was saying what.

IronMan's picture

That guy is a turbo douche.

Jordan Kramer's picture

tell that ass, to bring his hot wife/gf(whatever) along. at least if he's an ass you'll have something to look at. misscindrich on twitter.

CHHQ's picture

Totally understand you (I was watching, @cheeshead_hq if you've ever heard my feeble tweets ;) ) but keep in mind that this guy makes all of his money defending the players. The NFLPA successes=more money for him. If this were an exchange between you and another unpayed blogger, I would worry about that blogger's readership. Anyway, I wouldn't take him too seriously. Don't think he was being too personal.

Go Pack Go!

Asshalo's picture

"As far as the players not having a say, they are always free to find a new line of work, no?"

No NFL players aren't coal miners in terms of wages or risks, but he has something there. It's problematic to bring up that question without offering a plausible alternative. I wouldn't call you an idiot, just that it was a loaded question. OK, so let's say at the age of 23-30 these players do choose another line of work. They're replaced with players who make less than them. In that way it is about money but it's not.

"AN: I’ve written that @nflcommish has insulted my intelligence before. Does that mean I have an innate disdain for the league?"

I kinda agree with the guy. So you can critique and analyze people on different issues, but it's not really related. There are many times when I enjoy your links to past articles. Other times, it seems like pseudo-relevant self-promotion. This is somewhere in the middle.

"RC: u show an innate disdain for the player & that is inexcusable if u cover them"

It seems like he thinks all fans think this way and he may be right about uninformed general consensus-- that is, that most fans think the average player poops out $1000 bills everyday and lights cigarrettes with $100 bills. The average player is never in the league long enough to really make any money and may have a lifetime worth of medical bills to pay as a result. I just don't think it applies to you or your comments.

packeraaron's picture

Valid stuff Halo - as far as a "plausible alternative" - the average NFL player plays 3 years. In that time he earns enough money to set himself up so that he can live comfortably and go in whatever direction he wants to go in for the rest of his life - IF he is smart about his money. A plausible alternative? Make different choices in your life prior to your time in the NFL. Give me a break - guys can choose to pay attention in college and LEARN about life - or they can coast by and depend on the NFL career which may or may not set them up for life. But this "They don't have any choices in their life", I'm sorry - that's complete bullshit. We live with the choices we make. You want to play in the NFL? Great - but you CHOSE to play in the NFL. No one made you do it.

Asshalo's picture

"A plausible alternative? Make different choices in your life prior to your time in the NFL."

You assume all players are bums in college, while completely ignoring how difficult it would be 3 or more years out of college to make a career change-- apply that to your own situation or the average worker in this country. Not everyone can be agents or broadcast personalities. W

I'll humor you though-- so say a player does become a social worker, an accountant or a teacher a la Ahman Green-- that still doesn't address the league's ability to replace them by hiring cheaper employees and taking an overall bigger slice of the pie. Frankly, I don't buy management's claims of losses at least for the most part. Their books aren't public and there's already a high degree of subjectivity in public accounting reporting. It's not very hard to fudge expenses and revenues on such a consolidated scale.

Wiscokid's picture

I noticed so far nobody has said anything about the impact on marginal or "bubble" players whose chance of making the team may be diminished by the shortened pre-season. Anyone have any thoughts about that? The impact could be ending their career before it starts.

PackerBacker's picture

Two things:
1) They have been in camp since May and will still be able to play over 1 game of playing time for the coaches to use. Yes, it won't be as much time, but the last 2 games are not going to change the coaches opinion all that much, by that point they are preparing for the regular season and have made most of those types of decision.
2) Aren't they also talking about adding additional roster spots to the team and/or adding spots to the practice squad to compensate for the additional injuries most teams will incurr? If so, this will actually allow more players to make the team than there are now.

Wiscokid's picture

Really I was just trying to spark some discussion. My point was if they don't need to have four games to evaluate players, then what have we been doing all of this time? We should have cut back on the pre-season years ago and maybe start the playoffs two weeks earlier. There are plenty of fans that couldn't care less about the pre-season. For us die-hards it's a different matter.

On the surface, it looks like the Packers would gain little or nothing on the expanded schedule since they sell out the stadium even for the exhibition games. This means they aren't going make any more on concessions, parking or the gate so why risk the injuries? The players don't want to get injured for nothing, and I get that, but the team suffers when they lose valuable personnel by impacting their overall talent. It might generate some extra "gate" money for teams like Jacksonville that's having a hard time selling tickets even in the regular season. Obviously, it looks like the NFL is counting largely on increased TV revenue.

I think that your are right about the extra roster spots. While I say that, I still wonder if there isn't some benefit to letting marginal players get some game experience. If nothing else, it let's guys like Matt Hasselbeck (aka Mr. August) or other backup quarterbacks, have a chance show their stuff. Maybe increase their trade value.

I guess what I'm saying is, there are no easy answers. That is particularly true since we don't have real numbers to look at. I would love to know what kind of math is being used by the NFLPA where by adding two games to the schedule, there will be an 18% increase in total revenue.

It also doesn't look like all teams would benefit equally,since the NFL doesn't pay the players salaries, the individual teams pay them. That means successful teams won't benefit as much as less successful franchises. Who knows, maybe that's the point of this proposal, to help out flagging franchises. If that is the case, then how do you deal with a flat, across the board, increase to the players salaries.

I apologize for the lengthy post but due the complexity of the topic, it's hard keep it too short. I've barely scratched the surface.

PackersRS's picture

Tyrell Sutton.

Preseason production means nothing (unless the player dominates). Coaches will evaluate by college tape/workouts/perception of potential.

But it's a fair topic, hadn't thought about it.

Alex's picture

A couple things on this. I really was just initially asking who the guy was. In addition today I asked at ESPN who this guy was. No one knew, so I guess I am not so misguided.

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