The NFL Lockout, the Green Bay Packers and You
No one wins in a lockout. Not even Charlie Sheen. The players don’t get to play the game they love, the owners don’t cash in on gameday sales, and the fans are resorted to banging their heads into the wall.
No matter where you stand on the matter, we can all agree this lockout is a tragedy. As I mentioned in my phone call to Cheesehead Radio last week, the NFL and what it means to so many people goes way beyond money and could have a negative impact on overall American morale
In a hyper-political climate that is turning friends against each other, we could still all get together on Sunday and root for the same team as fans and clinging to that last thing that binds us together: football. We cease to be Democrats, Republicans and independents and all become Packers fans.
As the world watches Japan crumble, we are stuck watching pampered millionaires debate over how to divide up $9 billion dollars. 31 owners were so fed up they decided, much like a spoiled child not getting their way, to pick up their ball and glove and go home. As for the players, they are so committed to being able to look at the league’s financial records that they demanded 10 years of audited information be provided in hours. That’s not realistic.
Before you correct me on the number of owners I stated in the above paragraph, think for a minute. What lone NFL team does not have one singular all powerful owner?
That’s right, your Green Bay Packers.
As the only publicly owned team in the NFL, the Packers are forced to open their books every year. There are no secrets when it comes to the Packers as they have to be transparent for their 112,000 shareholders.
That’s one thing that really gets me during this whole “32 greedy owners “deal. I can’t speak for the other 31 in the NFL, but I’m sure 112,000 Packers owners don’t like being called greedy. These people are fans. They are not on the side of the owners or the players. They’re on their own side, the side of the fans.
Unfortunately for them, 31 other egos amongst the owners and others amongst the players have eclipsed the one voice of reason in this entire debacle: the voice of the Packers owners. We just want football. We believe the owners have a right to make a profit and at the same time believe the players should be taken care of and not thrown out the door when they retire.
Of course, there is the matter of Packers president Mark Murphy who is appointed by the shareholder-elected board of directors. With his unique position, Murphy has a chance here to be the voice of reason and a key player in getting an agreement done and the players back to work.
Murphy needs to understand (and I believe he does) that he represents the owners of the team and that he is not the single all powerful owner. As one of the few people in the league that has been part of a work stoppage as both a player and as an executive, he brings perspective from both sides and the owners as well as DeMaurice Smith should be interested in what Murphy has to say.
The Packers’ unique ownership structure puts the franchise in a strange place during these uncertain times. The fans have no owner to lash out to. In fact, one could argue because the Packers have no singular owner that they are getting screwed more than the fans of any other team.
That said, it’s not about who is getting screwed more that really counts. It’s about doing the right thing and making sure both sides realize who is truly paying the bills here. Not the big advertisers and not the TV networks. It’s the fans, and as fans we deserve to have our voices heard too.
Packer nation, let’s make it happen. If any Packers shareholders are reading this, I urge you to write, email, or call the Packers and let them know that their owners want football. Let Mark Murphy know you do not support the players or the league: you support the fans.
There has been so much bickering between two parties that the media forgot there was a much bigger third party involved too—the fans.
To the NFL and the former NFLPA: You have no clue how big an impact your actions are having. Forget about the dollars for a moment.
America loves football. In a time when we are so divided politically, it’s sports that bring us together. Thanks to the actions of both sides, the one thing that binds us together is in jeopardy. Would you really rob your fellow Americans of that? Are you truly that egotistical?
Time will tell. We’re watching every move and we have long memories.
The choice is yours.——————
Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke