Wednesday, September 26, 2012

They Don't Care

As the pass fell from the sky a horde of men leaped into the air to claim the descending pigskin.  In what is usually the most anxiety inducing play in football, the Hail Mary dropped into the arms of Green Bay Packers defender M.D. Jennings.  Seahawks receiver Golden Tate wrestled with Jennings as the men fell to the ground.  Questions were in the air.  Then came the iconic photo.


(CBS Sports)

The replacement referees had just determined the outcome of a game incorrectly.  What it could cost the Green Bay Packers beyond one loss is unknown but the fall out was quick.  Twitter lit ablaze with anger demanding a return of the real referees to the sport they loved.  Commentators and talking heads were dumbfounded and even the most staunch NFL supporters were at a loss for how this could continue.

The NFL's reply?  The call was correct (it wasn't) and the owners will no longer compromise with the regular referees.

(USA Today)
With the "integrity of the game" at stake and the gambling lives of many (to the tune of near a quarter of a billion dollars) hanging in the balance the owners stay steadfast in not wanting to budge on giving the referees a pension plan that would take $5.3 million per year of the NFL's yearly $9 billion revenue.

The NHL's training camps and preseason games were supposed to have started this week.  Instead the owners have locked out their players crying poor despite record revenues constantly being trumpeted and handing out several near $100 million contracts this past off season.  The players currently make 57% of all revenue.  The owners want it closer to 50%.  No negotiations have taken place since the lock out officially started 11 days ago.

Last year saw a lock out of the NFL and the NBA which adjusted player incomes to roughly 50% of revenue across the board for both leagues.  While one league didn't miss any regular season games (NFL) they missed pre-season games and training camp.  The NBA missed nearly a quarter of its season and crammed all they could into the remaining schedule with teams playing up to four or five times a week.

Now more than ever the truth about sport is out: They don't care.  The NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB don't care about us.  We are pawns in their game.  And we are sheep.  They know we will come back, or those that don't will be replaced.

We as fans are being taken advantage of and the leagues will get away with it.  Sport is so engrained in our lives, in our culture, that it's become an abusive relationship.  We're only hit once every few years so it's okay, they still love us.

A line was passed long ago.  Sport is not about love of the game or fun, it's about dollars and cents, pensions and escrows, lockouts and strikes.  This realization can and will make one jaded and perhaps that's for the best.  If the leagues we love don't care about us then why should we care about them?
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