About a week ago in this space I came down hard on the NFL players and owners when they looked like they were gonna cut off their noses to spite their faces by failing to reach a new “labor” agreement. Well, in some senses I spoke too soon. The big-market owners did bend a bit on revenue sharing — which is exactly what they should have done all along — and both players and owners bent a bit on the distribution of revenues and salary cap issues, which allowed an agreement to be reached that will save the sport. It does seem, however, that the owners bent more than the players did, which I did NOT support… because I have little sympathy for people already making millions to play a game, but mostly because the extra cash for player salaries will end up coming from SOMEwhere, and that somewhere inevitably ends up being from the pockets of the fans. I always support the fans over both the players and the owners.
Anyway, better this deal than no deal — and better by far. The game will continue on a mostly level playing field, without missing any games, for at least another six years. That’s a very good thing, and I congratulate both sides on coming to agreement.
Allow me now, however, one final note. When I wrote my note last week, some readers responded that my praise of level playing fields was somehow anti-free-enterprise, or something like that. Well, I don’t think ANYbody defines free-market principles more precisely and consistently than the editorialists at the Wall Street Journal, so I should note that the editorial in today’s Weekend Journal section agrees with me 100%. The WSJ says that the NFL’s agreement “isn’t socialism… it’s just good capitalist sense.”
I rest my case.