Every day I read blogs and columns about how badly the lockout is affecting the players, and the owners images, and the fans, and so on and so forth.
But when I think of who the lockout is REALLY hurting, I think about players like Deon Butler of the Seattle Seahawks. For those of you who don't know this player, I will give you a little insight. Deon Butler was a stand out receiver for the Nittany Lions and was drafted at #91 in the 2009 NFL Draft. While Butler is incredibly quick with good hands, at 5'10", 182lbs, he lacks the size and strength to stand out as an elite receiver in the NFL. For 5 years in college and two years with the Seahawks Butler has been working his ass off to make a name for himself. He signed a 4 year, $3.2 million contract with the Seahawks (without a major hold out I might add) on July 24, 2009. He has been a solid contributor for the Seahawks since his first training camp.
Now, flash back to December 13 2010. Butler, playing in the starting rotation, makes a beautiful reception in San Francisco's endzone with 1:22 left in a game that they lost by 19 points. On this touch down reception, Butler's hustle and drive got the better of him. He was sandwiched by two 49ers upon reception and his femur was broken instantly. Butler was had immediate surgery and missed the last 3 games of the season.
He has spent the entire off season trying to bounce back from what many would call a career ending injury. I'm sure he has his sights set on having a break out, bounce back, 3rd NFL season so he can earn a solid 2nd contract and extend his career into his late 20's. However, now the NFL is in lock out, and Deon Butler, and I'm sure several other injured role players throughout the league, focused on climbing the depth chart and being known as more than a "special teams player" are not even granted access to their respective team's facilities to re-hab injuries. These are the players that are really losing in this "pissing contest" between the owners and the players unions.
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Andre Johnson. If these guys were even somewhat smart with their money should not have any problem weathering this storm. The only problem for them? Their career stats might dip a bit. Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft, Paul Allen, these Billionaires should be doing just fine for quite sometime without revenue from football. Only problem with them is their PR image might drop a little.
The football fan? Look, I'm a HUGE football fan and while I would miss the NFL dearly come autumn time, it's not going to destroy my life. The players who are really losing out are these mid to low tier players that are simply trying to make as much money as they can with the short time their bodies are able to handle to physicality of NFL games. They NEED this money in order to pay for the lifetime worth of medical issues they will have after they retire or are cut.
For the sake of these brave warriors most of all, I pray that the owners can pull their heads out of their asses and give us some god damn football ASAP!!!!!