After just one full day of negotiations with the players union -- a union for once just trying to maintain the status quo rather than making new demands, for the one game where major, lifelong injuries are common -- the NFL owners walked away from the table like spoiled little rich kids. Even worse, Carolina Panther owner Jerry Richardson reportedly was openly mocking of two of the classiest players in all of sport, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, who sat in on the discussions as observers. Richardson reportedly belittled comments Manning made about player safety. I'd like to suggest that Richardson get out there for every game of a 12 year career, take all the shots that blitzing linebackers and 300-pound linemen can dish out, and yet not miss a start. Hell, let Richardson do that for one half of one game and see if he doesn't end up in the hospital for weeks. Hell, let him just get out of bed, even without a formal "injury," after a single game endured by the likes of Manning, the day after the game. I bet he couldn't have done it even at age 22. He would be too sore. Too achy. Awwww......
Never, ever have I sympathized with striking professional athletes. In this case, however, if there were a way to lead a fan boycott that would crush the owners without hurting the players, I'd do it. And I supported the owners in the 1987 "replacement player" year and in the 1981 (or was it 1982?) strike year as well. This time, though, every single facet of the owners' demands is absurd. Worse is their behavior, their pathetic pretense of a testosterone-fuled tough-guy act, of walking away from the negotiations. Again and again these owners show contempt for the fans who both directly and indirectly pay for the whole league. Their refusal to negotiate shows even more contempt. But that refusal is itself contemptible. Not to mention childish.
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