Well it’s official. In a battle between millionaires and billionaires, the real losers are thousandaires. I’m not talking about the causal fan though if any games are missed, Sunday afternoons will certainly be different. I’m talking about the thousands of employees who have lost or will lose their jobs because, once again, the only real winner in this fight is greed.
Make no mistake that greed is driving the conversation on both sides of the table, and both sides have fault. I’m not an expert on the issues and there are plenty of places and people who you can read who will detail the situation. The biggest breakdown came not in the issue of player safety, health benefits, the 18-game season, or the rookie wage-scale. The issue was financial statements. Seriously, financial statements. Greed at its worst.
As often is the case, the owners and players are too wrapped up in their own issues that they fail to see the full consequences of their actions. And of course there are plenty. The New York Jets have placed mandatory unpaid one-week-a-month vacation for their 158 employees. Imagine losing 1/4 of your income for some unknown amount of time. Other teams have cut jobs or reduced salaries for their employees because of the lockout.
If any games are lost, the job loss would be tremendous. There are about 3800 people who work at each game. That’s 3800 people, some who have others jobs, some who are employed full-time, and some who may just do this for fun who will be sitting at their homes on Sunday afternoon without even football to comfort them. This figure does not include the hotel employees, the servers at restaurants, or the people who park cars around the stadium. Of course, these are not just 3800 people, but these are moms paying their kids medical bills, college students paying for classes, and dads paying off a mortgage. These are people who may not be able to understand the financial statement of an NFL team, but they understand that the money they see spent at one NFL games is more than they will ever spend in their lifetime.
So, I don’t feel sorry for the players. I don’t feel sorry for the owners. No, I feel awful for the hot dog vendor, the lady at the ticket booth, and the server across the street, whose money that should go in their pocket will instead go into the hand of the lawyers who know that the longer this lockout goes: the more money they make.