I do not pay much attention to sports, but Tom Scocca at Slate has provided me with a deeper understanding of why the Packers are standing with their fellow union members in Wisconsin:
As the National Football League heads into labor mediation with its players union, with the owners insisting the last collective bargaining agreement was too favorable to the employees, the Indianapolis Colts have cut former All-Pro safety Bob Sanders, three years into his “five year” contract.
Unlike owners in Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association, NFL owners are not obligated to uphold contracts from one year to the next, but are free to dump a player who gets hurt or whose nominally agreed-upon salary seems inconvenient to pay. Sanders, who was frequently injured before and after signing for a notional 5 years and $37.5 million, qualified on both counts….
According to the NFL Players Association’s Frequently Asked Questions for would-be players, NFL careers average “about 3 and a half seasons.” Under the NFL owners’ proposal, every player taken in the NFL draft would reportedly have to wait at least four years—that is, longer than the average career—to be eligible for free agency, and would be unable to renegotiate or extend the contract for the first thee of those years.
This would seem to be another of the 21st-century MBA-friendly non-protective-“union” stories: Cripple the ability of a union to negotiate for its members, and yet retain the shell of a demonized Big Union Budget-Buster to enrage all the non-union-members who’ve lost, or never had, the ability to negotiate collectively to preserve their own rights.
Perhaps it should be ruled that if the owners lock out the players, those same owners should be forced to “suit up” and play all regular season games for the benefit of lifetime seaons ticket holders?
Aren’t the Packers largely owned by the very union members protesting down at the capitol?
The Packers are community-owned—some 200K people own at least a share in the team, but shareholding isn’t limited to people in Green Bay or WI. No saying how many of the union people in Madison right now are shareholders, but certainly some of them are.
@Martin: It’s possible, looking at the ownership structure, that indeed a few of those folks own a piece of the Packers. It’s no wonder the NFL instituted the rule it did, this shit is supposed to be making MONEY dammit, not be used to enrich the lives of a city. Probably why Green Bay will never move either, that would all change if they had to relocate. The NFL is a bunch of greedy fucksticks at the end of the day.
Just Some Fuckhead
God bless the Green Bay Packers. I feel a sea change.
Man, all of these battles going on are war on every working person. Too bad most people won’t see it that way.
Wow. That’s entirely fucked up. What’s the point of a contract if they can terminate it when they fucking feel like it?
Fucking greedy ass owners.
The fact that NFL contracts are not guaranteed is an unfortunate, but necessary, quirk of that sport. Not included in that excerpt is the fact that NFL players generally receive massive signing bonuses to compensate for the lack of future guarantees.
Villago Delenda Est
The Packers’ ownership structure is unique in the NFL, and the NFL intends fully to keep it that way.
Municipal ownership of sports teams (after all, the municipalities invariably provide the stadia that the sports teams use) definitely rubs the NFL old boys club the wrong way.
I’m a huge football fan.
Jerry Richardson helped me make this decision.
See DFH Atrios here.
True; totally fucked up, but if players can sit out unless a team renegotiates a deal, well, a pox on both their houses.
Switching sports, I can’t believe that Pujols will probably get a 10 year deal for around 25M per; great player, no doubt, but the economics of sports is totally fucked up.
@Villago Delenda Est:
That’s why Los Angeles will get another NFL team approximately when hell freezes over. To their great credit, both the city and county of Los Angeles absolutely refuse to pay for an NFL stadium, rightly pointing at the success of the privately-funded Staples Center to show that municipal financing is not actually necessary.
The NFL really doesn’t like that. How are they supposed to play cities off one another if the city refuses to give the NFL free stuff?
Odie Hugh Manatee
Only if there are lions on the field with them and a tall fence topped with razor wire surrounding it.
After taking the House, the Republicans have come out of the gate doing everything but what they campaigned on; jobs and the economy. They are successfully deflecting attention from that failure by going after their usual pet peeves (Planned Parenthood, unions, Democrats, etc), making the headlines all about these ‘hot’ topics and that the Democrats ‘obstructing’ them from ‘fixing the economy’.
These fuckers are damned good at this shit. Not to go Godwin (but I will) but it’s easy to see how Hitler and his cronies took over in Germany. There are a lot of stupid people out there and they will believe almost anything as long as it’s framed in the ‘this is good for you and bad for them’ way. The people of Germany were convinced that Hitler knew how to lead them out of their post=WWI funk. His political party was able to get enough rubes to go along with them to take over the country and reshape it in the ways that they wanted to.
Ways that were supposed to make Germany great again.
Much like our Republican party wants to ‘make America great again’. It’s interesting to note that in making the nation great again, some people will have to suffer and that’s just fine with many Americans who side with the Republicans.
Just as long as it’s not them. What they don’t realize is that when everyone they hate is dealt with like they want, they are next.
That’s the way it works.
This article needs some correcting. The current NFL collective bargaining agreement already has this condition in it. Drafted players need 4 qualified years of service to gain unrestricted free agent status (basically they can go anywhere for any amount of money). Players with fewer years than that qualify for either “exclusive rights” or “restricted” free agency, which gives the teams a ton of leverage and basically ties them to their original team at a locked in (and relatively cheap) salary. So the new proposal wouldn’t change things that much in this respect.
This coming lockout (and it is a lockout, not a strike) is about the owners wanting to squeeze 2 more games worth of revenue out of the players every year, while at the same time reducing the total amount paid out to players from the leagues revenues. More work for less pay. The motivation is pretty simple: the owners aren’t satisfied with merely making giant buckets of profit every year, and they overreached in the last 15 years by building a ton of new stadiums. Their stadium building binge is cutting into their profit margins, and their solution is to get their pound of flesh from the players share.
As someone in the Angeleno market, this works fine for me; we always get the good games, not the dog local one.
Yeah, I think everyone recognizes that the notional value of NFL contracts are a sham – basically they get a big chunk up front, and then the deal is reported at X years Y dollars so the team can amortize the salary cap implications of the signing bonus over the life of the contract. Or at least that’s what used to happen under the old CBA.
@The Dangerman: The fucked-upness is even worse when you consider this: under Pay Fraud’s old contract, if Pujols signed for more money than Pay Fraud was getting, PF would get a raise. He actually had a contract that guaranteed he would always be the highest paid player in baseball. Now if that is not the most fucked up thing you ever heard, I don’t know what is. And amazingly enough, the YANKEES broke him of it. But they need help building their precious dream stadiums from teh people!
And you know…even with that…the Cards will probably make money.
Fucked up indeed.
What’s so hard to believe? He’s the best player in the game, and that contract would actually be less than what A-Rod got when he was the best player in the game. Granted his production will likely dip as he ages so it may not make sense in year 8 or 9, but in terms of production and selling tickets it wouldn’t be bad for them.
@Steve: I was about to make your first point, but then I saw this part “and would be unable to renegotiate or extend the contract for the first three of those years” which is a change from the current/former system where they could renegotiate after two years.
Because of the nature of football it’s the only practical way to run the sport. Players with any negotiating power get large amounts of the contract money in signing bonuses.
I’ve long felt that the NFLPA was overemphasizing the money and free agency issues and underemphasizing the health and safety issues. Now the owners want them to play two more “real” games per year, which is insane. I doubt that the players have remotely enough bargaining power to pull it off, but the ideal situation for them, in my opinion, would be two fewer games, greater investment by the league in post-career benefits, and status quo on the other issues. Unfortunately, the owners seem to have hold most of the cards this time around.
Mr. Fraud started this madness (more correctly, that fucked up contract that the Rangers insanely gave him). The Yankees will win all of one ring during his time there (their pitching staff sucks); too bad for them.
My problem with Pujols is he’s already 32; in this post juice generation, a 10 year contract is sick. Look what happened to Manny Ramirez after he got caught shooting up some feminine fertility drug.
Edit: I forgot the necessary FTFY.
Yes I saw that, which is also an interesting “change”, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would actually make. Most of the big money draft picks are signed long term and teams wait as long as possible to renegotiate, and most of the lower value picks are strung along season to season until they reach 4. I’m not really sure how this would change anything.
There is no way you said that with a straight face dude. I know you done yakked your ass off in pure Schadenfreude at that idea. Okay maybe it’s just me. But for awhile there even the Yanks had that highest pay guarantee. His next negotiation killed it, but Pay Fraud still makes too much damn money for his relative production.
And yeah, he still gets booed in Seattle. We done do grudges well up here.
Villago Delenda Est
The fucking Rangers. The team of the deserting coward.
I was so happy when they lost the WS this year.
I was in Seattle for a few years (before they dropped the Kingdome); yeah, he pretty much fucked them over. All boos are well deserved.
One of these days in my (presently infrequent) trips up there, I’ll be in Safeco to see the roof closed.
@Steve: I don’t think it would affect too many players. I would guess late first round picks who sign 5 year deals without too much bonus money would be the most likely candidates. The Chris Johnson types (who probably would have been extended before this past season if not for the labor uncertainty). Maybe late round picks who have breakout seasons their first two yers.
The Packers first owners had it written in the contract (or whatever) that any monies made off the sale of the Packers would go into a trust (for something or the other. Sorry. Heard it on Maddow. Can’t be bothered to Google it). So, no one can make money off the sale. That’s why Green Bay still has the Packers and why they will be the last small town with a pro-team.
@The Dangerman: I have a view of both Safeco Field and Seahawks Stadium (I will never call it the atrocious name of Qwest Field) from my work, and it really is kinda cool to look down on them where the Kingdome was. They’re both really neat buildings, and I’ve been at ground level at both. The roof closing is amazing to watch.
It’s not that messed up. Remember that MLB manages to provide most of the baseball needs of North America with only 1200 roster spots. Meanwhile, MLB attendance is about 73 million per season, and TV viewership is much higher than that. That’s enough to provide a fuck-ton of money, and that money doesn’t have to be split very many ways. The top players are going to be insanely well compensated, and even the bit players are going to get a lot.
IIRC, its the local American Legion office in Green Bay which would get the proceeds from the sale and liquidation of the Packers. The post is supposed to use the money for the express purpose of building a war memorial.
Its fun to imagine the possibilities for a billion dollar war memorial in downtown Green Bay.
Never been to Qwest, er, Seahawks, er, that football stadium; been to Safeco a few times for a game. Took the tour; the Stadium Club rocks.
I actually liked the Kingdome and was sad to see it go (UCLA grad here, so 1995 memories of the Dome are quite happy). Saw many, many games there; Mo Vaughn hit one of his two, or perhaps it was as many as three, HR’s for the Angels there (it was a fucking rocket shot; I don’t think it hit the peak of its parabola before it hit the seats). Another waste of a big contract. I also saw a few Jr. shots there, too. One shot I missed (as it didn’t happen) was Eddie Murray’s 500th HR; I was in Angels Stadium when Reggie Jackson hit his 500th (another monster shot) and I figured I’d be one of the relative few alive to see two people join the 500 club; shit, now everyone is hitting 500 (with a little help from their chemist friends). Finally, the sunsets over the sound from the outer rails was grand (I think all my Safeco games have all been daytime affairs, so no chance to compare).
@The Dangerman: The Kingdome was indeed a neat building (lots of childhood memories there) but the place was literally falling apart. Like it was a safety hazard falling apart. After the ceiling tile incident, getting public funding for the two stadiums was a breeze. It changed our skyline, but what took its place looks pretty damn cool.
They also play sociallist football in Seahawks Stadium, which is really neat that they’re dual purposing it like that. I still would like an NHL team but we ain’t passing another tax for that any time soon.
Since this has turned into an open sports thread (and I know everybody loves the NBA here), I agree with Dwyer that this is a terrible trade for the Nets.
Also, while it’s debatable whether Reggie Miller belongs in the Hall of Fame, he’s certainly more deserving than the guys who are actually on the ballot. Seriously, Rodman and Ralph Sampson?
Have the Nets never heard of Herschel Walker? I don’t know the worth of all those players, but any trade that involves 4 #1’s is a trade where someone is getting royally fleeced.
Also, in the Kingdome thread, I don’t recall the ceiling tile incident. I vaguely recall a worker getting hurt at the top of the stadium. My Seattle sentence ended in 1999 and my last few years were spent liberally, um, consuming (damn State Liquor stores) to survive the weather.
Edit: Rodman or Sampson should only get into the HOF with paid admission.
Ceiling tiles fell onto seats a few hours before a game in… 1994 I think? The Mariners would’ve had to play the rest of the season on the road but the strike happened so they didn’t.
Getting new stadiums wasn’t easy either. The first stadium vote failed, but it was funded by a lousy sales tax increase. After the Mariners went on their winning streak, the legislature passed a new version primarily funded by hotel and restaurant taxes.
The Seahawks stadium went down a bit easier though.
Wile E. Quixote
@Villago Delenda Est:
I wonder what would happen if a state or municipality stood up to a team that was trying to blackmail them into buying a new stadium and threatening to move and condemned the team. From my knowledge of the laws and precedents related to eminent domain the NFL wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. It would be fun to see this happen.
@lol: And FWIW the payoffs for both stadiums are ahead of schedule last I heard. So the fiscal management is definitely there, which is helping matters. But there was no way there was going to be a third building project passed, which is why the Sonics no longer exist except as a name. And Stern is such a fuckstick he’ll make sure Seattle never gets to use it again.
I thought the tile incident was 1995. Too lazy right now to do teh Google however.
Wile E. Quixote
Actually it’s even worse than that. The Mariners were whining and crying that the reason that no one came to see Mariners games was because the Kingdome was a lousy venue. The fact that the Mariners were one of the worst teams in baseball had nothing to do with their low attendance figures, it was all about the horrible Kingdome, which actually made more money when the Mariners weren’t playing because they got a break on the rent they paid. So the Washington state legislature voted to punt the issue and put a sales tax increase on the ballot for the purpose of funding a new baseball stadium with a retractible roof (because baseball players and Seattle baseball fans are a bunch of fucking weaklings and pussies and can’t play if they get wet).
The ballot initiative was narrowly defeated in part because the Mariners managed not to play like a bunch of fucking losers, cripples and retards during the 1995 baseball season. So suddenly it became incredibly important for Seattle to have a third rate American league team because we wouldn’t be a world class city unless we did, and the Mariners were going to leave (and go to an undisclosed location) unless the taxpayers gave them a new stadium, stat. So the Washington State legislature voted to increase sales, restaurant and rental car taxes in King County so that we could build a new stadium for the Mariners and their retarded cadre of fans, because God knows that we couldn’t ask the players to get paid less or the fans to pay more.
When confronted about this some legislators said that the ballot initiative was never about whether or not the Mariners were going to get a new stadium, it was just about how it was going to be paid for. It was truly contemptible and what made it more contemptible is how many Democrats voted to fuck over the poor and middle class by increasing taxes on them to transfer the money straight into the pockets of the wealthiest people in Seattle.
Of course this backfired on the Democrats in a big bad way. Four years later, in 1999, an initiative was filed to repeal the state’s motor vehicle excise tax. The MVET was a major source of revenue for the state and was widely hated because the state used bogus and inflated values to determine the value of your car for taxation purposes. Basically they used the Kelly Blue Book ratings for vehicles in good condition, which was completely ridiculous. I-95 easily passed, and when Gary Locke, the whorish and completely useless piece of shit who, as King County executive, spent his every waking minute sucking off the owners of the Mariners, and who as governor spent his every waking minute sucking off Paul Allen, the owner of the Seahawks, and other Democrats tried to argue against it it was pointed out to them that if the state had enough money to build new sports stadiums then it didn’t need the MVET.
The decision of the legislature to punt the issue to the voters and then override that decision also backfired because it gave the proponents of democracy by initiative a lot of ammunition. If the legislature is going to punt politically risky decisions to the voters and then, when the voters don’t vote the way they’re expected, override those decisions then why bother having legislators write laws anyways? Just get an initiative on the books and bypass the useless, lazy, treacherous scumbags entirely.
Yeah, it’s been 16 years and yeah, I’m still pissed. Fuck the Mariners and fuck their goddamned fans and for that matter fuck Major League Baseball. If you want to watch baseball then pay for your own fucking tickets and don’t pick my pocket. And please, don’t try to tell me that the stadium is paid for by the team’s contributions to the local economy because that contention has been disproved over and over again and if you bring it up I will seriously consider hunting you down and killing you. And if you try to compare the stadiums to libraries or public arts funding I will hunt you down and cripple you so badly that you will spend the rest of your life in agonizing pain wishing that I had killed you.
Publicly funded stadia are just one more component of the class war in this country.
Wile E. Quixote
Yeah, in the same way that my second amputation surgery went down a bit easier than my first. I mean for the first I spent eight weeks at Harborview, underwent 13 or 14 surgeries (you kind of lose track after a while), had 13 pints of blood transfused into me, got a couple of nasty infections, including MRSA had my left leg amputated below the knee leaving about six inches of stump and spent six months on crutches before I could walk with a prosthetic. For the second I only spent three weeks at Harborview, had two more inches trimmed off of my leg, got a MRSA infection that required six weeks of IV Vancomycin treatment and spent six months on crutches before I could walk with a prosthetic. It still sucked though, as did funding a stadium for one of the richest men in Washington State, which was supported by useless corporate whore Gary Locke.