One of the perks of being an amateur blogger (other than meeting babes and scoring free Subway gift cards) is being able to occasionally stand on a soapbox and point out the failings of the organization we have come to love. I did so with an article on Lions employees in May, when it was announced that the Lions had cut pay to the regular rank-and-file workers in Allen Park once the lockout had commenced.
These were not professional football players I was talking about, but “regular people” like you and I – the administrative assistants, office workers, etc These were people who probably didn’t have a million dollars in the bank and a vacation house Miami. I berated the Lions for the move – the Lions had lost no money yet – because it seemed to me it was an obvious PR attempt to make it seem like things were worse than they actually were. The workers were minimum wage pawns caught in chess game between millionaires and billionaires.
With the announcement yesterday of a CBA agreement, the Lions also announced that back pay would be restored to those workers. With fans around the NFL in celebration, the Bills, Falcons, Dolphins and Chiefs announced similar moves for their workers. The addiction that is the NFL will be back in full swing this week with free agency and the start of training camps.
While I applaud the move – there was no one forcing these organizations to give this money back – I have to ask why? What was the point? Why put your workers through the stress and uncertainty? Why force them to cancel vacation plans, or worse, miss mortgage payments? Why especially, when other organizations – notably the Giants and Colts – managed to avoid doing this? The Oakland Raiders – maybe the only organization that can rival the Lions in questionable management decisions– offered the employees an alternative to a pay cut, by having their employees sell season tickets. It was obviously to about 20 other teams that this was not necessary.
So I have to ask why the Lions did this. Why couldn’t they be as clever as Oakland (now there is something I never thought I would say), or as loyal as the Giants? Why must our Lions always be behind the curve?
It is easy now for the NFL and the Player’s Association to stand up and announce that all is well, that everything is fixed, that hope is restored. There were a lot of apologies yesterday to the fans – also know as “POTENTIAL SOURCES OF INCOME”. There were handshakes and hugs and “labor peace”. I didn’t hear any apologies to the workers who took furloughs.
We are all ready now to look forward to an exciting NFL football season and potential Lions victories. But let’s not forget that one of the underlying issues affecting the lockout – greed – is still in place. Remember this when a player holds out or a veteran is cut or a team relocates to a new stadium. Remember it when politicians are threatened by NFL owners to raise taxes to support stadiums and games are played in foreign countries. Remember this when you can’t afford tickets anymore. Because as long as we are addicted to football, we will all be pawns in the game.