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Nfl Concussions

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Gardy Brun
Professor Garcia
ENC 1102
March 7, 2011
NFL Lockout
On February 6, 2011, one of America’s greatest sporting events took place as the Green Bay Packers executed in winning a Super Bowl. The succeeding day did not follow with celebration, but with speculation towards knowing if there would be a Super Bowl the following year let alone NFL season. The NFL players and owners are struggling to reach a collective bargaining agreement and failing to do so will result in a lockout for the 2011-2012 NFL season. A lockout basically means there will be no football for an entire season. To the general public it seems as if only the players would be affected with a lockout, but in fact a lockout would affect the many jobs of people in the NFL, the fans, and most importantly impair the country financially. The major question is how the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and the NFL will put aside their differences in order for a NFL season to take place throughout 2011 and 2012. The NFLPA and the NFL have very much at stake if they do not come to an agreement. Both sides are apparently not meeting enough and it is effecting the progress of reaching an agreement. According to USA Today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell states, ‘“If there's a work stoppage of any kind, it hurts everybody’, Goodell said. ‘It hurts the clubs; it hurts players; it'll hurt the game; and, most importantly, it'll hurt our fans”’ (Leahy 04c). Roger Goodell undoubtedly believes an NFL lockout may be a detriment towards many individuals. Without conversation it will be impossible for the disputing sides to agree on an agreement. The two sides have not had a formal meeting since thanksgiving of 2010. The NFL general counsel Jeff Pash reiterated the need for progress when he states, “The time has come for both parties to make a shared commitment and devote all their energy to accomplish a successful negotiation by the beginning of March” (Leahy 08c). Pash expresses his frustration towards both sides having their egos interfere with the future of the NFL. The two sides need to realize trying to make more money for themselves can result in losing an abundant amount of money. The situation came to a major extent of urgency when many believed Congress needed to get involved with the lockout. Representative, Lamar Smith declined the need for Congress when he stated, “The owners and players are both literally and figuratively big boys and do not need Congress to referee every dispute for them” (Bell 02c). Smith clearly understands that the reason for an agreement to be reached is merely in the hands of players and owners and both sides need to set aside their differences.
Many questions of why the NFL and NFLPA are having such a difficult time reaching an agreement. According to Patrik Jonsson, there are 5 major reasons why both sides are having a difficult time to reach a deal. These 5 meticulous factors include player pay cuts, an 18 game schedule, a rookie wage scale, benefits for retired players, along with personality and intangibles. When it comes to the player pay cut Jonsson states, “National Football League revenues come to about $9 billion a year. The league says about 60 percent of that goes to player salaries, and owners say that is too much. They want to shave 18 percent off the pool of money that is used to calculate the overall league salary cap” (Jonsson 1). Although taking off 18 percent is an abundant amount, 60 percent of nearly $9 billion is a bit excessive in the opinion of many. Many players believe an 18 game schedule will be detrimental to their health. If the current 16 game schedule were to expand to 18, the athletes would not see a major pay cut, but also believe 18 games would put a huge burden on their bodies. With the yearly NFL draft, the incoming players from their respected Universities worry about their particular money situation. According to Jonsson, “the NFLPA has stepped back its opposition on the rookie wage scale, opening the door to pay restraints similar to what the National Basketball Association has, where each pick in the draft order has a preset salary affixed to it” (1). This particular proposition seems to be the only one that makes sense, but the controversy comes in with the amount of years one an organization can have a player on contract. With the average NFL career being nearly 4 years, a lockout would have a tough time determining how much of their revenue goes towards retired players. Jonsson comments that, “Aware of the PR disaster of appearing callous, the league could pad retirement benefits going forward, but will likely stop short of retroactive pay, which would set a troubling precedent in the league's view” (1). According to the article the most essential part halting an agreement are the player egos. Even commissioner Roger Goodell makes the situation personal when Jonsson reiterates, “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he'll cut his salary from $10 million to $1 if there's a lockout. But many players don't believe the owners are negotiating in good faith. In 2008, the owners decided to opt out of the current collective-bargaining agreement” (1). This led the players to figure the owners were hoping for a lockout. When both sides have trust issues towards one another, it will only fuel the fire and make it even harder for the sides to even have communication.
The most important factor that will take place in the event of a lockout is the amount of money that can be lost. If a lockout will take place, the first to feel the wrath would be the television networks. CBS, FOX, ESPN, and NBC can lose up to $3 billion just in the short term. FOX will have the greatest downfall as they generated $975 million while NBC brought in $850 million, CBS $825 million, and ESPN $175 million (Crupi 6). The television networks definitely cannot afford to withstand a lockout. Without an NFL season, all of the television networks would have to replace different programs for games which can hurt the network as a whole. With a lockout TV ratings will make a colossal decrease which will not only hurt its incoming revenue from the NFL, but also take a huge hit as a whole affecting the entire network. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated states, “The NFL generates $8 billion in revenue by itself” (Wertheim 18). These particular amounts of money will not only hurt the NFL, but the nation as well. On the Super Bowl alone the NFL can generate up to $100 million and the most shocking stat are the illegal gambling wagers which can reach up to $100 billion in just one season. (19). the only people who may see this as a winning situation is the NFL itself. If the lockout were to occur the NFL network would boost its ratings in losing the contracts from the other television networks. Sports bars may also take an immense hit with a lockout. Manager of Cheyenne Grill and Sports Bar in Atlanta, Mike Pressley states, “It would be a killer, straight up. It would probably put us out of business” (Thomaselli 3). In the article Pressley also noted that “football Sundays account for 20% of his weekly sales and are 35% more than the next-closest day” (3). Even the sponsors can have a bigger burden the many people have expected. Bud Light has been paying $1.2 billion over six years to be the NFL beer sponsor. CEO of Budweiser, Carlos Brito stated, “In the unlikely case that they can't find a solution, money will be reallocated to other activities” (3). When asked what they would focus their money on, Vice President of Budweiser Greg Billmeyer commented, “We would reinvest those dollars to reach Bud Light consumers in other relevant ways” (3).
In the eyes of the NFL players, they believe they cannot come to an agreement with the owners so they began to get lawmakers involved. The NFLPA believes there is nothing left for them to do after making such an effort to consent on a season for so long. Having in mind that the owners are pushing for a lockout, the players felt that it was in their hands to take the process a step further and bring the law into it. Tennessee Titans player, Kevin Mawae on an interview with ESPN said, “At no time did we ever ask for any more, never ask for another dime, and never asked to make a cut in the amount of work that we are doing” (Davis 19). The players earnestly believe the owners are out to merely take their money as they plan on shaving 18 percent out of what they already make. Out of frustration Mawae ended his interview by stating “(Negotiations are) not contentious, but it is business and will continue to go to the bargaining table until I get something done” (19). This process is beginning to turn tedious for the players and they are ready to reach terms. On NFLplayers.com, when Mawae spoke on how the lockout can affect his life after his career, he commented that, “I'm a vested veteran with five years of post-play insurance. I could lose that because of the work stoppage. And I could lose benefits for continuing my education” (Leon 34). The players also worry on how this may affect them in the long term and apparently a lockout will only be a negative.
In retrospect, the NFLPA and the NFL need to realize how much is at risk if an NFL lockout was to take place. The lives of many can be damaged and very difficult to repair without an NFL season. The economic toll that can be taken with this lockout is more than meets the eye, and the egos need to be set aside in order for downfall to be avoided. The both sides of the argument are portraying a sense of greed while many believe they already have too much. As much as this lockout may hurt the players, it may be even ten times worse for the “ordinary people surrounding the situation. A lockout puts the commonwealth of very many at stake in a country where it seems to already be a problem.

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