Florio has a pretty good rundown of the NFL's coming labor apocalypse, but there's one point he makes that I really hope doesn't catch on, even though you can be sure it will.
It's this part (which falls under the risible header of "The absence of gravitas" — Cicero is not walking through that door, Mike):
Regardless of the issues and agendas at play, a concern has emerged that the ranks of NFL ownership are being overrun by men whose personal financial interests supersede the best interests of the game. Combined with the possibility that union leadership is being influenced, directly or indirectly, by concerns unrelated to the long-term health and well-being of the game, damage to the sport seems to be inevitable.
People love to say this whenever there's a sports-labor dispute (the line on Donald Fehr is still that he didn't care enough about the "soul of baseball," and for that he will be punished for all eternity with sad bugle music in Ken Burns documentaries). It's nonsense. It's like saying, "There is the possibility that John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers of America are being influenced by concerns unrelated to the long-term health and well-being of bituminous coal extraction." Yes, they are. Next question.
The NFLPA is a union and therefore has a fiduciary duty to act in the interests of its membership. De Smith's job as executive director of that union definitionally requires him to care about the players above all else (which is why, elsewhere in the post, Florio happily passes on the transparent bit of owner spin that Smith is an aspiring politician who's out only for himself). Management, which already makes lots of money and already has lots of wage-depressing devices at its disposal, has decided it wants 18 percent more of the workers' money and is willing to prevent them from working until they agree. That's De Smith's concern, not whether or not football will still be super-awesome in 10 years.
Ten things to know right now about the labor situation [PFT]
More Numbers Show Labor Issue in NFL Far From Cut and Dry [Forbes]
Numbers Show NFL's ‘Economic Realities' for Lockout Unwarranted [Forbes]