14

March

The NFL Lockout, the Green Bay Packers and You

First off, let me get something off my chest:  This sucks.  This really sucks.

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.

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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

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12 Responses to “The NFL Lockout, the Green Bay Packers and You”

  1. Ron LC says:

    Very good Kris! I see both sides in this controversy are not at all considering the fans. For both sides the operative word is more not better.

    As GB struggles to improve the stadium in bits and pieces,Jones builds the modern version of the Roman coliseum. Then he uses the Super Bowl to try and pay the thing off on the backs of the gullible football hanger-ons. I guess ol’ PT Barnum nailed it. “There is a sucker born every minute”. Actually, that’s more than one, make it thousands.

    The fact that the GB Packers can not only survive in this environment, they excell. Take a look at how its’ done the rest of you owners and GM’s and proceed with doing everything you can to gives us a full season this year.

    For you players, you are not some under-paid sweat shop employees. You are a bunch of over-paid babies with a radical union aggetator at your head. Dump him and get someone who doesn’t have to prove he’s the next coming of Johnny Cochran.

    In short, both you groups of Assheads get together now. You’ve got a great thing going, don’t screw it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. JimR_in_DC says:

    Kris sez: “No matter where you stand on the matter, we can all agree this lockout is a tragedy.”

    Oh come on, Kris, it’s the start of the off-season…that’s that’s the REAL (annual) tragedy. This NFL-NFLPA legal tango is just something to keep everybody interested in the coming season while we wait for the 2011 draft next month. Maybe take up yoga to calm yourself. It’s going to be all right.

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  3. Scott Sieleman says:

    Great article and well written! I as a shareholder want football period [nfl style not some sub league like the ufl]! I WANT NO INTERRUPTIONS ! I buy alot of nfl [PACKER] merchadise every year but as now I am stopping until they play NFL FOOTBALL! Stop lying to each other and “get ‘er don son”!!

    PACKERS RULE!!!!!!

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  4. Mike Blythe says:

    I have to say i agree with you and that is the one thing that i have not heard said by either side in this stupid childish argument. That is that our books are and always have been open for examination by either side, but it must not help either side make the point they want to make or i’m sure we would have by now.So they should all just quit their b#%chn’ and act like grownups and get this thing done!!

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  5. ELong says:

    Great article Kris.

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  6. PackersRS says:

    Very good article Kris, but apparently you’re not fmiliar with one “Tigerblood” to make such bold claims.

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  7. Wiscokid says:

    Hard to imagine Brady, Manning and Breeze as plaintiffs in an anti-trust suite against the NFL for unfair management practices when they are all in double digit million dollar per year contracts. That is a problem I could live with. Even in a down economy these folks get more wealthy by the minute. Talk about sticking a fat pig in the ass. I don’t get it.

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  8. [...] The lockout is touched upon by Kris Burke at AllGreenBayPackers.com. [...]

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  9. aaronqb says:

    “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.”

    Just so the facts are straight …. the NFLPA fired the first shot when they decertified and had several prominent players sue the NFL. The NFL responded by locking out the players. Read the article on packers.com by Vic.

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  10. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Both sides have been acting like children and show casing their premeditated tantrums in house for two years and we have just seen them both,first hand,toss the strained peas in our faces.
    It may only be me but,I do believe DeMarius Smith has by the recent request of the draftees to Boycott the draft and the suit filed and represented by such underpaid players BRADY,MANNING,BREES and the please ensure my wealth future high dollar earner Von Miller who isn’t even in the NFL,just how much of a ROOKIE negotiator he is and has thrown Himself/NFLPA unto the mercy of the Courts.
    “HERE COME THE JUDGE” may not be what either side can/will be happy with.

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  11. Vikefan says:

    To my arch rivals…congrats on the SB victory.I am still waiting. I love the Vikings. I love football… I will never understand the name calling here. I have some questions regarding how the Packers operate. Do the shareholders get dividends from the profits? If not where do the profits go? If the packers books are open to the public, cannot the players union use this information to extrapolate the info in the other owners books?

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      name calling where?

      The Packers are a public, non-profit Organization. No dividends are paid. If the team were ever sold, it’s in the charter that all the proceeds would go to charity. Being a public company, the books have to be public. The players union certainly has used the Packers info as ammunition, but when you only know how one team is doing, the usefulness is limited.

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