Tuesday, February 1, 2011

NFL Labor Issues Cast Shadow on Super Bowl: Shame on Roger Goodell

DALLAS--It's really a disgrace, a terrible tragedy for America's crowd-pleasing sport, stuck in a controversy and turned into an industry focused on inheriting and assembling massive dollars in profit. This is what the NFL prides itself on these days, sadly lacking character and integrity for what the sport signifies, brainwashed by, bluntly, the ill-advertisement of unreasonable propaganda.

All week, there has been heavy talk, as many envision a potential lockout by next season. This tumultuous task casts a shadow over the Super Bowl. And so, after a prolonged and relentless battle, a verbal altercation that has lasted for months without even reaching a consensus, the NFL is possibly doomed by a hideous storm.

In the modern era, battered by poor economic times, we are witnessing a peculiar crisis for the NFL, a profitable business in limbo for rancorous and absurd labor disputes that has suffocated America's most worshipped and popular sporting business.

At this point, the two parties are shamefully unsuccessful in constructing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, essentially a crisis upon which two sides lack caring, generosity and compassion in what the fans adore in the nation where football is our cultural perspective for sports.

As the deadline looms for finalizing a new deal, the mutual assumption of corruption is quickly a contamination, ruining the texture of the glamorous sport, but still football has survived the affliction of egregious economic downturns.

However, as it seems that America is on the way to recovery, the NFL is falling from grace, maybe by the poor decisions in recent memory, from the apathy during a severe disaster to the deal on the faces of the businessmen responsible for the reprehensible upheaval.

The time is now for Roger Goodell to stop his constant mannerism of lagging on a current issue, affecting the welfare of a game the population desires to see by next season, intrigued from the countless action, physicality and drama football offers.

It would be greed, not to mention mercenary, to not appease the fans or even owners who sells the city a brand of talented stars that usually exhilarates and lifts the spirit of a town filled with terrific zest.

Nearly two years ago, a moment when the owners voted unanimously to opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, it created almost national disturbance and could only cause additional havoc that could wind up being the league's first stoppage since 1987.

As of last decade, our country experienced a horrible recession and, as a result, unemployment rates ascended rapidly, foreclosures have skyrocketed and educational systems reduced. So many were deprived of their sanity, spirit and hope, with the fragile economy that destroyed our nation.

It seems strange at times to see the same thing happening in the NFL, a league that has reached the point of humiliation and political wars, fighting miserably over money. While each side is unbalanced and hasn't manipulated their leverage, even if the misgivings define the mess as the ugliest mayhem maybe ever in NFL history, there has been a legion of curable plots in hopes to repair the league's image.

Even if much of this crisis seems intact, the NFL has wrangled in verbal altercations, tried friendly maneuvers and tried to promote peace, unity and solidarity. Unfortunately, none of it cured a soul or even mended the differences in a weary dispute.

Plenty of owners and players, refusing to seek a fair share of profit, are in a continuous battle and haven't grasped a sense of common ground, but a sense of softness and un-intelligence. So pitifully, for an enthusiastic nation thrilled to witness what could be a remarkable classic by the end of Sunday, Super Bowl week is eclipsed by the labor talks.

This all could've been prevented if Goodell acted aggressively and didn't allow the insanity to publicly tarnish his legacy and the league's image. Regardless of the popularity and publicity it earns, given the taste of fans wants and needs, the NFL is badly endangered by the mishandling from an inept and baffled commissioner.

As long as there are a number of morons in charge, the NFL will be classified a nightmare, an industry money-hungry and concerned with committing fraud, encouraging fans to pay steep prices for tickets just to rest your rear-ends in a cozy seat at one of the venues.

By the time the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers walk onto the podium at Cowboy Stadium for the compelling media circus on Tuesday, the discussion won't only center on Ben Roethlisberger's troubled past, but also the soon-to-expire Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Shame on Goodell for not reacting much sooner nor proactively trying to reach an agreement that would relieve stress and burdens to re-energize the fans.

This week, nonetheless, the media is focused on labor issues, curious to know if the NFL will play next season instead of being delayed with an ugly lockout. The NFL and the NFLPA have prepared for the madness this upcoming week, and scheduled multiple sessions with reporters, still in the midst of an infinite battle that has gotten worse.

If no deal is done, with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire on March 4, a potential lockout turns into reality and the NFL loses an entire season at the most.

And as the season comes to a close, probably in the darkness of the drama that has cast a hideous shadow on the league, if there's a labor stoppage in the end, Goodell announced he'll drop his salary to $1 a year.

The mess, particularly ongoing friction that grabs attention, clouds the festivities and the beautiful concepts of the coolest week in sports has foundered and startled our senses in such a saddened way. Where it stands is obvious, nearing self-destruction if Goodell refuses to cede his legacy and sacrifice ego.

This is likely an uproar unlike ever before, which has alarmed fantasy owners, draftniks, players and owners, but not Goodell, once a stern and intolerant commissioner after inserting his personal conduct policy created to punish rebellious players. He is the overseer, and the NFL sheriff, the man we were used to when he handed down harsh sanctions to instill in the minds of players that they have to lead by example.

Earlier in his term, he emphasized good character and dignity and, if so, then why doesn't he save the NFL from a heinous collapse in finances and popularity?

What the owners want is for the players to take the same cut, roughly 60 percent, dissimilar from the current deal in which owners earn a credit of practically over $1 billion for investment in expenses of an annual revenue pool approximately $9 billion before the rest of the money is divided.

The difference is, the owners are requesting for an increase of approximately $2.4 billion in credits, an amount they believe mirrors the adjustment of economic progress this era.

With the murky situation, in the middle of the chaotic, berserk Super Bowl week, the anxiety comes from the unknown. As of late, in previous weeks, NFL personalities such as Steelers owner Dan Rooney and Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie proffered their thoughts about the progress of negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

At this rate, the NFL is quickly approaching a lockout. For a while, there hasn't been a reasonable session, and without communication, it's pretty difficult to unanimously constitute a new deal.

It was only last year when the NFL produced nearly $9 billion in revenue, but has yet resolved its difference with the NFLPA. You'd like to think that the NFL isn't stupid to possibly risk huge profit for being too greedy and stubborn.

So the bottom line is, if there is no deal by the deadline, the NFL potentially loses an estimate of $120 million in revenue. It only gets worse, if this issue extends all the way until the regular season in September when the league could lose $1 billion.

The best thing the league has promised is to limit offseason workouts and reduce training camp, and create jobs for players by adding roster spots. Now that Goodell is willing to expand the season to an 18-game schedule, why not give the players suitable benefits at the end of their careers, why not finalize a deal with DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association?

The side with the leverage is Smith, who is worried heavily about long-term injuries and additional ailments from a longer season, unless Goodell talks with sense for once. The problem is, the sides aren't palatable.

It's too bad Goodell doesn't care, or else this wouldn't have hijacked Super Bowl week.