The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players union ends at 11:59 p.m. this evening. And whether or not there's an official lockout, or the union decertifies, or whatever other bargaining tactic is deployed, the business of football effectively ends tonight regardless.
This makes me extremely angry. The NFL isn't slated to return for another six months, but I hate this stoppage all the same. The NFL has groomed football fans (including me) to be year-round consumers of the league. We consume the draft. We consume free agency. We consume the combine. We consume all that shit. There's more to being a football fan now than just watching football. And if the Mike Wilbons of the world thinks that's going overboard on NFL consumption, well then the Mike Wilbons of the world can eat a fat dick. I like what I like and I'm not going to apologize to some asshole columnist for it.
With the exception of a trade-restricted draft, I don't like the idea of not being able to consume the NFL during hot stove season. Furthermore, I'm extremely fucking pissed that I have to spend the next six months WORRYING that there won't be football. Maybe there will be football. Maybe there'll be a last-second agreement sometime in August. That's fine, but fans shouldn't have to sit here for months with the threat of a work stoppage hanging over them. That's a real cock move. And the people precipitating this cock move are the NFL's owners.
Make no mistake, if you don't get to watch football next fall, it will be because 31 rich assholes (and whatever cheese-and-sausage co-op owns the Packers) have decided that they aren't rich enough. Period. Think about that. Think of everything that will be impacted simply for the sake of these 31 people. The Jets are already getting set to give their coaching staff pay cuts. By the time the fall rolls around, there could be massive layoffs across all teams: secretaries, equipment managers, trainers, everyone. People who are decidedly NOT wealthy and who stand to gain nothing from any of these talks. That's all the fault of Jerry Richardson and his ilk.
You only need to see the topline of U.S District Judge David Doty's TV ruling to know the owners are the vile pieces of shit responsible for this work stoppage. Or, better yet, read it straight from Roger Goodell's desk. Witness just how poor of a job Goodell does trying to convince you the players are to blame for this potential disaster.
Staying with the status quo is not an option.
You had record ratings, made billions of dollars, and established yourself as the dominant force in televised entertainment. So you're going to have to do better than, "Well, it's the same shit!" to convince me this deal currently puts you in dire straits.
The union has repeatedly said that it hasn't asked for anything more and literally wants to continue playing under the existing agreement. That clearly indicates the deal has moved too far in favor of one side.
That's a fucking pathetic argument. "Hey, one side is happy with the deal. IT MUST BE UNFAIR!"
You can read the rest of Goodell's letter for yourself. He also says that the league "needs" new stadiums in Minneapolis, San Diego, Buffalo, and L.A. That's a bald-faced lie. The NFL doesn't NEED new stadiums at all. It won't become financially unviable just because the Bills are still eating ass in Orchard Park a decade from now. It WANTS new stadiums, and it wants the players to help pay for them. And while I'm all for making as much money as you can, I'm not all for it if it means dicking everyone out of football for two years just because you can get away with it.
Regardless of how this shit plays out, starting tonight, this is all 100 percent the owners' fault. Maybe you'll grow tempted to start blaming the players equally as this thing drags out, but you shouldn't. This isn't like 1994, when baseball shut down because it had both asshole owners and a players union that didn't even want drug testing and initiated the labor conflict by putting down their bats and striking in the middle of the season. This is different. This was premeditated and instigated by the NFL owners. And while Goodell may continually try and spin it otherwise as we go on (no doubt with help from his accordion monkey Peter King), and while some people might start buying into joint blame, I won't. And neither should you. The players are cool. The owners are worthless titblisters. There's no need for even-handedness here.