September 25, 2012
The first time the NFL players went out on strike, the NFL owners told the world that they would play games with scabs. Those of us on the negotiating team laughed and said there is no way the NFL will put substitute players on the field. They have too much at stake. But by god they carried out their bluff and the Canton Hall of Fame game, traditionally the first pre-season game of the year, was played. We picketed and the UAW picketed along side us.
In order to defeat the picket lines that would stop union people, including vendors, from attending the game the NFL went to court seeking an injunction against the pickets and to open a reserve gate so pro-management types could walk into the stadium. It was quite a scene.
ABC was scheduled to cover the game with Howard Cosell as one of the announcers. But Howard would not cross the picket line, real or virtual. We celebrated but our celebration was premature. When ABC refused to carry the game because of Cosell's stand, the CBS toady, Brent Musberger, stepped up and agreed to cross the picket line and so the game went on and so did the television coverage. Musberger will always remain in my NFL players Hall of Shame. Cosell is in our Hall of Fame.
The game was a disgrace and we began learning our lesson that the NFL will stop at nothing to maintain control of their game. They don't care if the quality of the game is a disgrace. They don't care. Control is more important than money!
In 1974 the League, once again, used scabs to fill the rosters. Unbelievable! But we took them seriously that year. We again put up picket lines and once again the NFL played games with scabs. We learned our lesson. In 1982 we said OK, boys, if you want to play games with scabs we will strike during the regular season or at Super Bowl time.
This time the NFL was in a pickle. Not only did we change tactics, we altered our entire approach and demanded elimination of individual negotiations and announced that we would fight to the death to obtain a percentage of gross revenues. The control freak owners called that socialism or communism and made it clear that they would never agree to "giving" the players 55 percent of the gross.
Long story short--the owners accepted percentage of the gross because we struck and shut down the NFL for half the season. When it became obvious to the owners that the season might be destroyed they started to negotiate. Again, control of the bargaining for wages trumped money.
Last night I could see that same union-busting attitude at work. No matter that millions of people watched in disbelief as the scab officials decided that the Packers should lose. Was the fix in? Probably not. Do millions of people now think that the fix might have been in? You betcha!
How much money is at stake? Not much. What is at stake is the desire of the NFL to control all aspects of the game even if they destroy the game in the process.
Shame on Roger Goodell.
post a letter about this blog »
I understand the NFL players (especially the Packers) frustration with the replacement refs. That frustration probably does not come close to the way the locked-out refs feel about the players and their union. The players should keep in mind that if they had supported the locked-out refs and refused to play until a settlement had been reached none of this would have happened.
-Tim Buban | New Berlin, WI | September 25, 2012
Is there no corner of the world anymore where one can go and not be assailed, either literally or metaphorically, by the Roar of the Stadium? One might think a liberal blog site would be such a refuge. One would, apparently, be wrong.
-Charles Kuehn | Fall Creek, WI | September 25, 2012
The roar of the stadium you hear is the roar of labor. The scab refs of Monday night's game illustrated the irony of America. We have anti-union Gov. Walker asking for the real refs to return, we have the NFL players union not supporting the refs. Just think of the education our children will receive under the tutilage of unqualified teachers. Just think of the services you'll receive under non-union public servants. Hopefully NFL fans, players and coaches will boycott the NFL and their sponsors.
-Dole O'Mite | Waukesha County | September 25, 2012
Patriotic flag displays, military fly-overs, NFL films with stories of grit, determination, teamwork and faith...the NFL serves up shared values with every gameday ticket. But the NFL betrays the values it sells to us. They disrespect their employees, risk their health and give their fans the cheapest product they can get away with.
It's too bad that pride doesn't still matter to Goodell and the NFL owners.
-Dairy Queen | Madison, WI | September 25, 2012
Dole O'Mite, you are absolutely correct on every point you cite. I understand the labor issue at stake, and all the ironies involved, and I will grudgingly admit that my grousing may have been a bit off-topic. I was merely lamenting that it seems increasingly impossible for someone who is not a sports fan to find any refuge from Roar of the Stadium (our pervasive sports culture). Used to be, this space and other liberal sites were useful in that way.
-Charles Kuehn | Fall Creek, WI | September 26, 2012