Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:49 pm
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!!!!!
Posted on: March 23, 2011 11:54 am
While watching the NCAA tourney this weekend, I was struck by how much more I enjoy watching college Basket ball than watching the NBA. If anyone (anyone out there?) has read my previous blog entries then you already know that I am no longer a fan of the NBA for the way my beloved Supersonics were taken from me by greedy businessmen. This killed me because I have always loved the game of basketball. This past weekend, watching these kids play reminded me why I have always loved basketball.
The thing about college players and the NCAA tournament is that the players are playing for 3 simple reasons; they love the game, the love to compete, and they want to win. These kids aren't playing for endorsement deals or 8 figure salaries, they are playing for pride. It is still a game to them, not a business, not yet at least. I venture to guess that if you combined the rosters of every team in the NCAA tourney, about only 15% of them will ever play in the NBA. Another 10% might go and play ball in Europe or in the CBA but I estimate that 3/4 of them will ever play ball on national TV ever again and they are well aware of this fact. So what do they do? They go out on the floor and play their hearts out every minute that they get the opportunity. Top it off with the fact that they know if the don't win, they don't play anymore which drives them to play even harder. It's a beautiful thing to watch and that's why it is the greatest tournament on the planet.
I'm not oblivious to the fact that these athletes are getting rewards for advancing their team further. Nor do I ignore the fact that most the kids have been recruited illegally with some sort of payola involved to entice them to play basketball for a certain program. I am definitely not ignorant of the fact of how many millions of dollars their respective programs and CBS, TNT, and TBS make off of these kid's talent and celebrity. However, once the ball is up in the air and the game clock begins, I truly believe that these young men are out there competing at the highest level they are able because they love to play the game. Once an NBA contract is signed, basketball is no longer a game, it is a career, a job. Any person that begins to get paid to do what they truly love to do, whether is be a musician or an actor or an athlete, that activity becomes diluted. That's what the NBA playoffs are to me, a diluted version of NCAA tournament being played by millionaires who have forgotten how god damned lucky they are to get to play an organized sport at that level, have millions of fans and receive millions of dollars simply for playing the game that they used to get excited to do for free.
So to all the young men competing out there and preparing for your next big game while still preparing for next quarter's classes, I salute you and I enjoy watching what you do, I only wish the professionals at the next level could take a page out of your book and get back to the purity of this game. However, I will not hold my breath!
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:21 am
So here we are, an NFL season in 2011? A lot of people are saying they wouldn't want one or that we should boycott the 2011 season when it finally comes to be. Now, I don't see that happening. This country is way too in love with its NFL teams to ever stop watching them when they play. But truth be told, all this BS that is going on between the now dissolved union and team owners is driven by greed!!!
Gordon Gecko once said "Greed is good, Greed works!" Well I guess that I'm not really one to dispute that claim since I clamor for the dollars everyday at work. I live in a capitalistic society and enjoy the benefits that come with it. I like to buy nice clothes and live in a comfortable apartment but when it comes down to the CBA and the NFL, greed seems self-destructive. Much like the near nuclear melt-down of our entire financial system just a couple years ago, greed is very dangerous. It is a double edged sword that can hurt everyone near it. I'm no communist but I'm a borderline socialist who believes that it's important that everyone be taken care of before #1 gets his fill. I think it's important for everyone to get a taste of the pie first, before the baker takes what he wants from it.
In this case the owners are the bakers. I understand that without them we would be watching Peyton Manning throw touchdown passes to Reggie Wayne in a parking lot or at least some high school field in Godknowswhere USA. But why won't these guys release their financial records to the union? How much money are they really making off of Ticket sales, jersey sales, popcorn beer and hotdog sales? My guess is that, while the players are being greedy themselves, they have a pretty good idea of how much the owners are really making and want their fair percentage of that to distribute amongst the labor pool. It seems rather reasonable to me. Yes, I am siding with Labor. These owners are trying to give up the least amount possible and the players are trying to receive the most amount possible, it's understandable. But I believe that the owners have PLENTY to give and that these players need a larger piece of the pie to spread around. Not just to the Tom Bradys and Albert Haynesworths but to the special teams player on Detroit that you've never heard of before. Or to the 36 year old lineman who is nearing the end of his career and has never made 7 figures and will have such bad health problems for the rest of his shortened life that he will barely be able to keep a job. These players need a bigger piece of the pie just to live out their days.
And lets not forget about the REAL people who get hurt by this. The thousands of now unemployed stadium workers who don't have any real savings and will now be searching for a job in what is still a dismal economy come this August. Nobody factors people like that in when they decide to take this case to litigation or choose not to comply with union demands.
For me, I just want to watch football this fall and winter. Please give me my Seahawks back!
Posted on: March 11, 2011 8:29 am
The Calm Before the Storm (Hopefully)
I recently read an article by someone referring to this moment in NFL history as the calm before the storm. Normally, at this point in the off-season, there is a flurry of activity. Players being traded, draft picks being dealt, and free agents signing new contracts with new teams. However this year, all this activity is being hampered by the NFL's collective bargaining agreement hearings in which the NFL owners try to change the format of the way things are done in the NFL even though it seems as if things have been working out just fine for them over the last decade or so. I mean c'mon, every team in the NFL makes money, it's obvious that NFL players get a free pass on performance enhancing drugs, and fan interest and dedication has never been higher. But these owners still want more! More games, more stadiums, and somehow less compensation for the players.
Don't get me wrong, it's not as if the players don't want more as well. More money for veterans and retirees and less money for rookies. But I seem to agree with the players more than with these grey haired owners. If there is one sports league that needs more compensation for it's retired players in forms of pensions and health care it's the NFL. It's the big skeleton in the closet that is slowly rearing it's ugly head. As more players from the "MODERN ERA" retire and begin to feel the stinging affects of the game it becomes very clear that the game of modern NFL football leaves a man battered and broken. They NEED medical coverage because these guys will have severe medical problems leading up to the day they die. Now as for salary caps for rookies, I'm all for it. Sorry 2011 draft class (Locker you should have come out last year) but I need to look no further than JaMarcus Russell or any of these holdout rookies who seem to think that before they ever play a snap in a NFL game, they are somehow entitled to long term contracts worth 8 figures a year. Jesus, you've got to prove yourself worthy before getting something like that. But that is just as much the fault of the owners that has put it into the minds of these young 20 somethings that this is OK or the standard. Something needs to be put in place to limit the amount of dollars you can make fresh out of college and reserve what's leftover for the veterans who are starting to feel the pain of playing in the league. Buy them a Bentley or a Masarati as extra incentive rather than give them a 7 year $65 million dollar contract with $35 million guranteed. If they can really play in the NFL, they'll have no problem making their money throughout their career.
As we all wait for these issues to be worked out amongst what seems to be fairly unreasonable men, the activity of the off-season hangs in limbo. As soon as (I'm being optimistic, I should say IF) the CBA gets signed, I look forward to a storm of free agent signings and deals being made. Sure many teams have re-signed several players but I want to see who gets out of their current surroundings. I want to try to visualize my favorite players in new uniforms. Until then my anticipation for this surge of enterprise wells up in my gut more and more each day. I can't wait to find out in my Seattle Seahawks land Kevin Kolb or re-sign Brandon Mebane or Matt Hasslebeck. I look forward to finding out who Tom Cable will be coaching on the offensive line. From the time that deal is signed to the final pick of the 7th round of the draft... the NFL off-season will finally be in full swing but in a more compacted and intense time span. All I can do is just wait and hope this calm ends soon that the storm will soon be raging.
Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:47 pm
So this is my first blog entry. I am a Seattle kid born and raised and a die hard Seattle Sports fan living in New York City. Today, as NFL free agency is stalled by the CBA meetings and the draft feels like its years away, Huskies basketball sits on the bubble of the NCAA tourney, and Mariners spring training is about as cold as the weather here in New York, I shift my focus on the NBA and the void in my life formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics!
As much as I possibly can, I resist watching the NBA simply because I am so disgusted at how that league operates. The fact that Howard Schultz sold my Supersonics to a piece of shit businessman like Clay Bennett makes my stomach cringe. Bennett, who obviously had no love for Seattle or the history of the Sonics and their fans, clearly had no other intention but to move them away from my hometown as quickly as he could. Now that may explain my hatred for Clay Bennett and the OKC "Plunder" but the reason I hate the NBA now is because that sniveling little worm David Stern just idly stood by and did nothing to stop it. As if the only Seattle team to win a championship and its loyal fans meant nothing to him or the integrity of the league. A league and a commissioner so void of honor or consideration of it's fans, is no league I wish to support.
Now, while I do find myself turning on an NBA game on a national network from time and I have had the urge to got to Madison Square Garden to see a Knicks game now that they have Amare and Carmelo, I resist the urge as soon as memories of seeing my boys in Green and Yellow running up and down the floor of the Key Arena and the Coliseum enter my mind. To top it off, all this happened just as the Sonics were beginning to become a team to be reckoned with once again. After the demise of the sonics of old, the powerful duo of Shawn Kemp (man, just writing his name makes me sad) and Gary Payton, as well as Detlef Schrempf and Hersey Hawkins the Sonics quickly slipped into obscurity. The Ray Allen project was exciting but never materialized into anything.
After years of frustration the Sonics drafted Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook and my soul filled with hope once again. And just as soon as they arrived, they were gone! With them left my hope, my team, and a small piece of my soul and childhood. So, to sum this all up, F U David Stern!!! F U Clay Bennett!!! and F U NBA!! I want my Sonics back!!!!!!!!