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4/26/11

Roger Goodell and Dan Snyder Pen Embarrassing Opinion Pieces; Whose Is Worse?

The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal published opinion pieces by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today. Snyder’s piece is notable if for no other reason that it is one of the most terribly-written opinion editorials ever published by a paper of record. Based on the syntactic errors, poor organization, and questionable grammar used in the piece,  I strongly suspect that Snyder wrote it himself, rather than leaving the spin to the professionals. Goodell’s piece, although better written, will raise eyebrows because it’s just so hilariously oblivious.

As you can guess, the focus of Snyder’s piece is his embarrassing lawsuit against the Washington City paper which he accused of false reports. He refiled his lawsuit against the paper in New York and uses his opinion editorial to scold the paper for failing at “fact checking.” The entire piece wreaks of a spoiled little boy having a diction-deficient temper tantrum.

Speaking of spoiled little boys throwing fits, the NFL owners are still hell-bent on squeezing more blood from the 200lb + turnips they pay to crash into each other every Sunday. The latest lockout news is that Judge Ryan granted an injunction meaning that technically players should be able to show up to work tomorrow (though weight rooms may be closed). Of course the NFL is pursuing a stay (to keep the players locked out and off team premises).

The injunction has resulted in a clusterfuck big enough to make any rich white man afraid of the chaos that could ensue as large black men try to figure out if they should bother reporting to work and what parts of those facilities are or should be accessible to them.

Goodell’s editorial aims to lay out a case for why a CBA (and a union) is needed and that players should be aiming to improve the CBA process rather than dismantle it. I found his position to be interesting, since from my vantage point the NFL didn’t really come to the table ready to negotiate, rather with a list of demands that, if not met, would result in a lockout that seemed planned for from day one.

Therefore, Goodell’s support of collective bargaining in lieu of individual player-team negotiations can only be looked at as a last ditch effort to save a process that benefits the owners without admitting that it does, in fact, benefit the owners. That fact should be obvious because why else would a blatantly pro-executive commissioner write such a pro-union anti-capitalist opinion editorial and publish it in the Wall Street Journal of all places?

The funniest thing about Goodell’s piece is that he gives a list of things that would change if there is no NFL union. The bulk of the list (no draft, free agency after every contract expiration) includes things that would essentially cause owners to actually have to make more critical business decisions about personnel on a routine basis. In other words, it is actually to the NFL owners’ benefit to have a union because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of managing a “free market” system. Not to mention, it allows ownership to focus on things like convincing cities to fund their stadiums and the signing of key players rather than getting into the nitty gritty of the entire 52-man roster.

In other words, with his piece, Goodell accidentally reveals just how LITTLE owners have to do under the current system to make a profit–save for that one time every few years when the CBA is up for debate. Not sure who Goodell is trying to appeal to with this argument. Ultimately, as a fan I don’t give a shit how much work Arthur Blank or Joe Banner have to put in to making the Eagles and Falcons successful as long as they achieve that goal.

This section was pretty eye-opening to me:

In an environment where they are essentially independent contractors, many players would likely lose significant benefits and other protections previously provided on a collective basis as part of the union-negotiated collective-bargaining agreement. And the prospect of improved benefits for retired players would be nil.

Is this the NFL that players want? A league where elite players attract enormous compensation and benefits while other players—those lacking the glamour and bargaining power of the stars—play for less money, fewer benefits and shorter careers than they have today? A league where the competitive ability of teams in smaller communities (Buffalo, New Orleans, Green Bay and others) is forever cast into doubt by blind adherence to free-market principles that favor teams in larger, better-situated markets?

Here you have the commissioner of the NFL  basically admitting that without the union the NFL and its ownership will not in any way  seek to promote fairness or equity. I mean, how fucking bold is that shit? Goodell explicitly states that should players have to negotiate completely as independent contractors he and the owners are almost certain to offer them little to no protection and blame it on the dissolution of the union. This proves that the NFL and owners are more concerned with short term revenue than maintaining the total health and longevity of the sport.

It also shows that there remains little interest in having owners be responsible for the decisions they make e.g. how much to pay a particular player at any given point of time. This is one of the reason NFL owners wanted a rookie wage scale.

Stacked up against each other, I’d say both Goodell and Snyder do a great job of showing us what’s wrong with the National Football League. In terms of who’s worse, I give the title to Goodell because his leadership has helped set the stage for the Snyders of the world to conduct business however they see fit.

 

 

 

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