NFL Lockout: Athletes risk not worth result

The NFL is a moneymaking machine.

It takes a player, absorbs its nutrients and sends it on its little, concussion-filled way.

And it not only wants to keep it that way, it wants to add more moneymaking schemes to the schedule.

While the NFL Players Association is fighting for more medical benefits after retirement, the league is arguing for a longer season.

This obviously doesn’t sit well with the guys on injured reserve, who make up 20 percent of the league.

According to the NFLPA, an 18-game season would decrease the average playing career to 2.8 years.

The catch with that number: a player obtains free agency after three years in the league, meaning that many players won’t be able to test the same market that is supposed to be paying them.

It all surrounds that dolla dolla bill.

The players, especially the retired ones suffering from disabilities and unable to work, often take a backseat to owners that wave dollar bills in the face of advertisers, TV stations and local communities.

Most recently, CBS is refusing to air the NFLPA’s “Let them Play” commercial, which shows players and fans alike requesting the simple act of allowing the players to take the field.

Supposedly CBS stated that it wants to remain uninvolved in the labor negotiations – that or it doesn’t want to upset the league and affect a TV deal in the future.

It’s more than fishy, it’s blue whale.

NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, who participated in the ad, said that the players had little problem with the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement before the owners decided to opt out of it early. It officially expires in 30 days.

It’s the owners that want the new agreement, because supposedly the NFL’s economic model isn’t working.

Apparently having 65 of the top 100 viewed sporting events in 2010 isn’t working, and it’s the players that are supposed to take a pay cut.

This is the same league that has no guaranteed contracts, high risk of injury and now a proposal for two extra games.

Here is the hypocrisy: over 20 high profile fines were dished out by the NFL for illegal hits in 2010.

Safety was the word, but it was safety now, not safety in the future.

A bill, supported by league lawyers in Baton Rouge, La., would have provided a “dollar-for-dollar credit for salary or other benefits paid to an injured player under his contract or the CBA,” according to the NFLPA.

This notion was against any future workers’ compensation benefits that the player otherwise would receive under state law.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward called out the hypocrisy during the season, stating that the NFL is only taking a strong stance on safety now because it wants to expand the regular season.

“The league doesn’t care about us anyway,” he said on Dec. 1. “They don’t care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on?”

And that goes right back to the money.

Reach the reporter at nathan.meacham@asu.edu