Saturday, June 19, 2010
NFLPA proves axiom that absolute power corrupts absolutely
Labor unions were originally created to give the laborer, who at times worked long hours for little pay, a voice in the presence of management They were seen as the equalizer in the balance of power between the employee and employer. But what happens when one of those unions gains to much power? The NFLPA, or National Football League Players Association, while not the largest union in terms of numbers, has to be regarded as the most influential organization in sports today. What other group can claim it negotiated guaranteed rookie contracts of at max 40 million dollars? Not only that, the NFLPA has been able to reduce Roger Goodell's code of conduct policy to a mere joke. Donte Stallworth? He was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, but the NFL only suspended him for a season before letting him return to the Baltimore Ravens. Michael Vick? The former Falcons quarterback, convicted on charges of setting up an illegal interstate gambling ring that centered around dogfighting, got a two year suspension before returning to the league. Meanwhile, the legendary Pete Rose still faces a lifetime ban from baseball for bets he made as a player/coach. Ben Rothlisberger? The Pittsburgh Steeler qb faced allegations of sexual assault for the second time in as many years, and despite what appeared to be enough proof to take him to court was not charged with anything. The NFLPA worked with commissioner Goodell to reduce his suspension to 4 games with good behavior. All these incidents would have been enough to cost the average American their job, but thanks to the NFLPA these players continue to make a living in the sport they love. What is worse, the NFLPA has also negotiated the current CBA so that there is no salary cap in 2011, and in the process driven owners to scale back free agent offers preemptively so they don't end up in the red as the threat of a work stoppage looms next season. This has prompted many players, like Tennessee's Chris Johnson, to demand their contracts be renegotiated early so they can be compensated the amount they feel they deserve. Where does it stop? The unfortunate reality is that, as long as the average fan continues to pay $60-75 a game to see their favorite team play, the players union only gets stronger. And the irony is that if the average fan tried to argue for some of the same things that the NFLPA received the odds that the average fan would ever be able to work in their given industry again would be slim to none. Which is why the NFLPA has been given way to much power by the owners, and that power has corrupted this union to its very core. So at the end of the day, the owners should be hoping for a lockout, and pray that the resulting short term decrease in attendance that is the fallout will ultimately bring this seemingly mad organization to its senses.