Burns: I don’t want to choose between players and owners
I am a child of divorce.
It’s not a statement meant to elicit any sympathy; I’m sure many of you reading this grew up with divorced parents or are divorced yourselves or perhaps both. Hey…it happens.
I bring it up because some divorces, as we all know, are nasty. A ruthless, to-the-pain competition over how to divvy up both stuff and affection. Just the kind of competition NFL fans are hoping their beloved sport will avoid.
When I listened to the words of NFLPA President Kevin Mawae, all I could hear was that battle for affection. He sounded like the divorced parent who wants to be the favorite parent after the split.
“The fans are more in favor of where the players are right now,” Mawae said on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike show. “I think that the fans understand that this is all owner driven and management driven.” It’s the kind of sound bite that makes you want to scream at your car radio.
It’s like asking a kid to pick between his mom and dad after a divorce. A child isn’t interested in picking sides; he wants normalcy. Status quo. Fans are the same way.
No, Kevin. We don’t favor the players or the owners. We favor football. I favor a plan that ensures in July I’ll be in Flagstaff for training camp, in August I’ll be complaining about boring preseason football and in September hope will be renewed that my team will be worth a damn. Maybe if you spent a little more time negotiating and a little less time competing for our affection we could muster up a shred of respect for your position.
Fortunately, and in the name of fairness, my angst is a two-way street. Around the time I was listening to Mawae’s foolish assurances that I was indeed rooting for his side, I was reading a story that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell vowed to reduce his salary to $1 per year for the duration of any work stoppage.
This is like the divorced parent who tries to buy their child’s affection with some sort of a gift. But instead of a brand new bike or an Xbox, Goodell is trying to buy my love with the idea that this magnanimous gesture will somehow help. It’s pure PR. A gesture that changes nothing and will largely be forgotten a couple of news cycles from now.
It will get worse before it gets better and ultimately I’m sure the pressure of a deadline will prove to be the remedy. In the meantime, how about a little more negotiating and a little less of trying to convince me you’re right.