No one knows how it all will end … aside from one undeniable fact:
The fans will get screwed.
Bank on it.
That’s because the players and the owners are well-represented in all these collective bargaining negotiations, but the fans have no voice. The fans just have to lie down and take this idiocy. We have to hear the owners talk about needing another billion dollars after the league just had, by all objective standards, its most successful and profitable season ever. We have to listen to the players whine about how unfair it is that their multimillion-dollar contracts aren’t enough.
There will be a lockout. The owners will blame the players. The players will blame the owners. And while the preseason will almost undoubtedly be interrupted, eventually … the actual season begins, a deal will get done. Guaranteed. There’s too much money to be made. And one thing is certain, the billionaires and millionaires will ultimately come to a deal that is best for the billionaires and millionaires.
The fans? Whatever. Don’t worry about them. It’s not like they can affect the bottom line.
But why should that be the case? More than 111 million people watched the Super Bowl last week. There are over 1.5 million NFL season-ticket holders across the country. If that buying power banded together, if fans across the country joined as one, the league and the players would be forced to give the fans a seat at the table.
That’s why I’m proposing the NFL Fan Union.
Unions, at their core, are put together to give a voice to working-class people in negotiations against the big corporations. They are a device used by workers to gain equal bargaining power at the negotiating table.
In other words, they are formed to solve the exact problem sports fans find themselves running into year after year. Players and owners in every sport sit down every half decade and hammer out deals that work for players and owners.
You know who they don’t think about when hammering out deals? The fans.
Oh, owners and players will tell you they have the best interests of the fans in mind. The owners will use a stunt like the 18-game regular season. They’ll tell you that they want 18 games because it’s unfair to fans for them to pay full price for exhibition games where the star players don’t even play. But if they were truly concerned about overcharging fans for the preseason, there’s a much simpler solution to not making fans pay full-price for preseason games:
DON’T CHARGE FANS FULL PRICE FOR PRESEASON GAMES.
Players are the “good guys” in this negotiation, but they aren’t looking out for the best interest of fans either. They care about making the most money possible over their short careers so that they can take care of their families for the decades after football. That’s what they should do. But make no mistake, if raising ticket prices 10 percent puts 5 percent more in their pockets, the Players Union is OK with that.
There’s only one group of people that will stand up for we the fans:
We the Fans.
It’s time to get together people. It’s time to form a more perfect union. It’s time get out from under the oppressive rule of this sports royalty and claim our independence.
No negotiation without representation.
Rise up, NFL fans. Stick your head out the window and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Because the Big Whigs of the NFL are peacocking right now. They are strutting around, putting on a show, deciding how to split up the billions (yes, billions) of dollars we fans spend on pro football every year. They are strutting because they’ve never once considered the possibility that those billions of dollars could disappear. They don’t think NFL fans have the organization and wherewithal to rise up against our oppressors and revolt.
But the people can only be pushed so far. It’s time to toss some pigskins into the water. Give me liberty or give me death! They may take our money, but they’ll never take our freedom! Give ‘em hell, 54!
The time to unite is now. Who’s with me?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/leerussakoff.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.