The NFL Owner Liberation Army

>> 5.18.2011

I don’t know if you’ve heard (sarcasm), but the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the owners a full stay of Judge Nelson’s enjoinder of the lockout.

I started out completely neutral in this whole mess; as many have since said, I declared myself “on the side of the fans.”  But as I dug deeper and deeper into the issues, I discovered that the league’s behavior has been, frankly, despicable. Unable to resolve their own differences on revenue sharing, the owners have spent the last four years trying to bring about this day: a judicially-enforced lockout that could last into the season, so they can exert maximum leverage on players. Their goals: to build more ridiculous billion-dollar stadiums, to play more games unnecessarily, to put franchises on other continents, and to bleed every single person on Earth for every cent they’ve got, everything else be damned. That’s what they mean when they say “grow the game,” people.

More interested, intelligent, initially neutral observers have been coming around to my way of thinking. Here's an excellent piece by Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post:

Should you find yourself drifting to the side of the players in the NFL labor dispute, it doesn’t mean you’ve gone all communist. Some fans may feel that to support the players is anti-capitalist, a little too May Day. But there is the spirit of free enterprise, and then there is the spirit with which NFL owners tend to do business. They aren’t at all the same thing.

What’s so American about gouging, price-fixing, and frankly, sucking the life out of fans?

It's an honest question to ask--and Jenkins' investigation into the answer is intelligent, well-informed, and balanced. At least half jokingly (though partly seriously) Tony Kornhieser called her piece "shrew-like" and "hysterical" during a radio show. But if Kornheiser couldn’t have made that crack with a straight face if he’d read Drew Magary of Deadspin fame setting “The Bizarre Cult of Pro-Owner Fanboys” of Pro Football Talk’s readership on blast:

It's like a group of people went directly to their computers after walking out of a screening of Atlas Shrugged. You can find retarded commenters at virtually any Internet forum (why, just scroll down!), but the idea that there are people out there who would like to see the owners succeed in PREVENTING THE PLAYING OF ACTUAL NFL GAMES to spite NFL players strikes me as … what's the word? Oh, right. F***ING INSANE.

[. . .] There's a distinctly political turn to much of these lockout arguments among fans. I guess if you think the players are right (and I do), that makes you a dirty liberal and there can't possibly be a decent case to be made. All unions are bad, which means the NFL players are ungrateful and lazy and deserve to be booted out on their ass because the owners are the beginning and end of why the NFL is successful.

It’s not just the ridiculous comments that are being made over there, or the sheer volume by which pro-owner comments outweigh pro-player ones. PFT has an upvote/downvote system, and they REALLY tell the tale. Check the comments (and votes) on these PFT posts. My favorite, though, is a post called “More Misplaced Rhetoric From De Smith,” which is Florio ripping DeMaurice Smith for his characterization of the state of affairs as the NFL “suing not to play.” The NFL commentariat almost unanimously hailed this post as Florio’s first fair and balanced article on the issue:

theangryrob says:May 18, 2011 9:08 AM

I’m having a hard time rationalizing it, but I kind of thought this was a great, even handed post. I’m strangely pleased and confused at the same time.

So, uh, nice work :D

232 upvotes, 5 downvotes    [Ed.--as of the time of this post]

Look, in a vacuum, there’s no question whose side the fans’ interests align with. The players are the ones we pay to see. The players are the ones whose jerseys we buy. The players are the ones who we see on TV, endorsing products we buy ‘cuz we love them. The players are the ones who are putting their bodies on the line, sacrificing their joints, their backs, their necks, and maybe even their long-term mental health for our entertainment. The players are the ones who come from the same places we come from—neighborhoods, high schools, colleges—and who, within a few years, either come back to those places, or put down roots in whichever city they played.

What is it that makes so many fans root so hard for the owners, then? Men or women, who typically inherited either the team itself, a business empire, a personal fortune, or any combination of the above? Why is it that working fans with mortgage payments and credit card debt are gleefully cheering for the players to be crushed by those same bills as their bosses withhold paychecks? What kind of bizarre Stockholm Syndrome is at work, here?

That’s what’s really happening here: fans are sympathizing with their captors. We’re paying $20 to park, $70 or so a head to get in the door, $7 for hot dogs, $8 for beer, $4 for water we’re not given a cap to so our kids can spill it, and uncountable dollars in jerseys, shirts, pennants, stickers, garden gnomes and other ridiculous merch, and at the end of the day these fans sneer at the players on the field and say “YOU MAKE ENOUGH MONEY! CAVE INTO THE POOR OWNERS! THEIR PROFITS AREN’T GROWING AS FAST AS THEY’D LIKE ANYMORE!” No doubt, when the lockout ends, all these fans will be happily thanking the benevolent owners—and lantern-jawed protector of the game, Commissioner Goodell—for ending they started to begin with.

Let me post-script all this with a few caveats. I do see the last deal as being player-friendly, and I do believe there’s room for fair concessions on both sides. TLiW (and elsewhere) commenter LineBusy has an interesting take exploring just that; you should read it. I do think both sides have grossly disrespected the fans by not resolving this before the expiry of the old CBA; both sides have been planning for THIS day for so long they’ve failed to stop it. However, one side is working men speaking plainly and truthfully about protecting their current and future interests, and the other side is a bunch of fabulously wealthy people in control of one of the most monstrously profitable industries in the world, strangling the golden goose while smiling and saying “We want football, too!”



24 comments:

Anonymous,  May 19, 2011 at 11:37 AM  

But even if the players "win" the battle, we're still gonna have to pay "$20 to park, $70 or so a head to get in the door, $7 for hot dogs, $8 for beer, $4 for water we’re not given a cap to so our kids can spill it." etc.. In fact, that might give the "evil" owners a reason to raise the prices even more because the "players" made 'em do it. What about the players wanting to abolish the draft, free agency, the salary cap. etc. Is that what we want? I say, shame on both parties for lying about all of this, and not sitting down and bargaining in good faith.

NorthLeft12 May 19, 2011 at 11:59 AM  

Ty, BRILLIANT!! As my soccer watching friends would say. I have thought and discussed this endlessly. My take:
The Owners are a group of beings who almost all fans cannot relate to at all. They are beyond such human foibles as greed, ethics, and moral principles. Here is something that has been thrown at me countless times in those discussions, "That's how our system works. The owners get as much as they want/can stand and the rest of us get what's left. If you don't like it become an owner."
The players are like us. No really. They are that kid down the block, the kid you coached in Little League or Track and Field that was amazing, your own son, or once upon a time....you. Everyone has stories of people they know who are related to or know professional athletes. And a lot of die hard fans believe that they could have been pros if only.......
So there is this jealousy that does not apply to the owners, because, really, a billion dollars or two? How the hell do I get there? So the players take the grief for getting paid a lot of money to play a game. A game that generates billions in revenue for those owners, but in the end it is only a game and who of us would not give everything to be in their place?

Zac May 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

I'm one of those that had been "drifting to the side of the players" but De Smith's comments, Florio's commentary aside, have been off-putting. The best scenario is for the two sides to come to an agreement without the courts having to declare a winner and a loser. Smith remains defiant and entrenched in the PR battle, even in the wake of what many consider to be judicial foreshadowing. That's not productive. Ideology aside, there isn't anything to like on either side of this dispute.

Anonymous,  May 19, 2011 at 1:08 PM  

Both sides have to share in the blame. The final offer that the League presented before the lockout was probably about as good as the players could expect. Turning it down was foolish - but so was the owners' refusal to open their books.

All of the legal shenanigans is basically a game of chicken. The first side to blink loses - but if neither side blinks, they both lose. As fans, we lose either way - unless the players take the best offer made 3 months ago and the owners open their books.

DSacks

Alvin2112,  May 19, 2011 at 1:09 PM  

My guess of why people are rooting for the owners is because stations like Fox News Network and the numerous talking head brain washers such as Rush Limbaugh. I've been put off by both sides and can see the argument of both sides. But one thing I won't do is side with Billionaires that only think of themselves. I'm upset with the players on some level, but I'm not against them in the least. Unfortunately I am against greedy far right billionaires that take and take and take. That is pure evil to me and it's actually becoming a value because of the brain washing of Fox News and conservative talking heads.

Al

Big Al May 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

When the NFL owners claimed it was a victory when the appellate court allowed them to shut down all football operations, well, that says it all.

The owners don't care about the game, the fans, their employees, the players, they care only about lining their pockets with more cash and raising the value of their franchise. Period.

Everyone and everything be damned, even if it does to the NFL what happened to the NHL when they cancelled an entire season.

Are the players blameless? No. They should be a the negotiating table every damn day. But when the average NFL career is in the 3-6 year range (players claim 3, NFL claims 6), and they put their future health on the line every time they take the field, I don't blame them one iota for wanting their fair share of a multi-billion dollar pie.

Football players tend to die young. Owners, not so much.

NFL owners are the ones holding the game hostage. Taking ownership's side in this standoff is comparable to rooting for the Roman Lions against the Christians.

Anonymous,  May 19, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

can i just ask the question of why i should relate to a group of people (the athletes) who are getting paid a minimum of 6 times the average salary to play a game? furthermore, they have been entitled to special treatment from their high school days. i don't neccesarily relate to the owners, but i'm not sure that they all came to be owners by inheriting the team or their money. when the owners are ripping us off for all that money, do we think we might have a little more leverage if the players weren't making $100 million? (that's a rough, per team salary cap number) ty, you've always seemed pretty good at making slightly more complicated things understandable, so what am i missing? if your engineering firm had to pay every engineer a million dollars, do you think they would charge their customers more money, or less money? i don't see any altruistic motives from either side, but i wasn't aware that the nfl was a charity.

Ty May 19, 2011 at 3:27 PM  

Anon--

"What about the players wanting to abolish the draft, free agency, the salary cap. etc. Is that what we want?"

That's kind of a red herring. The players are suing the league for breaking antitrust law, because they're not a union anymore. The way the NFL operates--including the draft, restricted free agency, salary cap, etc.--is all wildly in violation of those laws UNLESS they're collectively agreed to in labor negotations.

Imagine if the top 32 stockbrokers in the country got to "draft" all the graduating Ivy League finance majors, and they could only work at whichever firm drafted them! Or, the top 32 tech companies in the nation agreed that once someone got hired by any of them, they couldn't work for anyone else until they'd accrued four years of service!

In the terms of the lawsuit, the players HAVE to argue that all of those mechanisms around player movement are horrible and anticompetitive, because without negotiated terms in place, they are.

Peace
Ty

Ty May 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM  

NorthLeft12--

Great point: it's the very "like-us-ness" of the players that makes us jealous that we're not where they are. Somehow, we think "NFL players, if only we were good enough" is more attainable than "NFL owners, if only we were rich enough" . . . so we're more jealous of the money we'd be paid if we were born with the talent, than of the money we'd have if we were rich?

Peace
Ty

Ty May 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM  

Zac--

"Smith remains defiant and entrenched in the PR battle, even in the wake of what many consider to be judicial foreshadowing."

Yeah, this last round of comments hasn't been successful. He needs to focus on keeping his rank-and-file informed and solvent.

Peace
Ty

Ty May 19, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

Anon--

"The final offer that the League presented before the lockout was probably about as good as the players could expect."

That's what the owners were hoping the players would think. One of the big reasons why the players chose to walk away was that last offer: the NFL framed it as a significant concession, but actually it was a step backwards from where they'd been at, monetarily and otherwise. The owners then turned around and trumpeted about what a great deal they'd presented the players--they even sent letters to all the players saying "you know your leadership turned down a great deal, right?" It's that sort of shady dealing that I can't stand about the way the league has handled this.

That incident really showed the players they still weren't close at all. I still think they owed it to the fans to keep negotiating, but I understand why they thought the owners weren't interested in getting any closer.

Peace
Ty

Ty May 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM  

Alvin2112--

Yeah it's extremely political. As I've said, a lot of the people who are rampantly pro-owner also think teachers are lazy and overpaid . . .

That having been said, I'm going to TRY to put a clamp on political talk here. I got deeply into politics on Twitter once, and I got some people pretty steamed at me. Don't want to lose people over something not related to football.

Peace
Ty

Ty May 19, 2011 at 4:45 PM  

Big Al--

"Football players tend to die young. Owners, not so much."

WELL SAID, sir. Well said.

Peace
Ty

Alvin2112,  May 19, 2011 at 4:45 PM  

Ty wrote, "That's kind of a red herring. The players are suing the league for breaking antitrust law, because they're not a union anymore. The way the NFL operates--including the draft, restricted free agency, salary cap, etc.--is all wildly in violation of those laws UNLESS they're collectively agreed to in labor negotations.

Imagine if the top 32 stockbrokers in the country got to "draft" all the graduating Ivy League finance majors, and they could only work at whichever firm drafted them! Or, the top 32 tech companies in the nation agreed that once someone got hired by any of them, they couldn't work for anyone else until they'd accrued four years of service!"

Do you really think that is any better for the game Ty, I'm guessing not, but that's a shady dealing as well. If something crazy like that actually got ruled in favor of the players, us Lion fans would never, ever see a Superbowl.

It's not even a chance I like to think about, again it'd be great for the agents and teams like the Cowboys though. I can't stand the owners in all this, but this article was all about how bad you think they are behaving, yet that is one tactic that the players are using that is just as manipulative and shady as the owners. It's an eye for an eye. BTW you going to delete my posts again, or was that a mistake before,lol. Are you afraid to get political? If so you did so kinda did so yourself with this article.

Al

Ty May 19, 2011 at 4:56 PM  

Alvin2112--

I guess I wasn't clear, Alvin. The players don't actually want to abolish the draft and free agency. Because of the way the labor laws, and antitrust laws, are written, the NFLPA needed to decertify in order to prevent the NFL from locking them out. If they'd stayed a union, the NFL could have just locked them out and sat on them until they caved, as the NHL did.

The difference between the NFL now and the NHL then was the NHL owners crying poor ACTUALLY WERE; many NHL teams were actually losing money! In this case, the NFL owners are just trying to set themselves up to go from incredibly, ridiculously super-profitably rich to like guaranteed to be even richer than that for the next fifteen years. IMO that does not justify such a brutal strategy.

Peace
Ty

Alvin2112,  May 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM  

I get it Ty, they pretty much have to do that to have any chance at a decent deal. Now I completely get the difference between what the owners did compared to the tactic the players are now using.

But this is a real bummer for all us hard core football fans(half the nation,lol). Listen to what Nate Burleson said today as written by John Niyo of the Detroit News...

"And for those expecting them to break ranks at the first real threat of a missed paycheck in September, remember this: There's no union any more, technically speaking, so what's left to break?

"We've been prepared," Burleson said. "I think we have great unity. There's power in numbers. And that's what we're gonna do: We're gonna stand by each other and stick up for what's right.

"I mean, the vets that came before us said if we give in then we're basically throwing away what people before us stood for. And then we're (digging) a hole for the athletes that come after us."

Those sound like fighting words to me, it's looking like no football this year is becoming a very real possibility. This is ridiculousness Ty.

Al

telemakhos,  May 19, 2011 at 5:16 PM  

Alvin,

The point isn't that the ruling will go for the players and those changes will actually be put in place. The league would never allow itself to be destroyed like that. It would change the game beyond recognition. What would happen is the owners would have to live with those crazy rules changes (which they won't do) and probably pay tremendous amounts in damages (they're also not fans of that one) or be forced to collectively bargain with the players.

This is all a leverage game. The players want the owners to feel squeezed with anti-trust rulings and the owners want the players to feel squeezed by missing pay checks in their already far-too-short NFL careers. Posturing is what it is and while we might not agree with it, this entire fight is all about who gets more money. You can be mad at the players for trying to change the game or you can be mad at the owners for trying to not have football at all. In reality, neither of those will happen and someone will feel enough pressure to concede part of their share of the money.

Anonymous,  May 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM  

Neither side is in this for "the good of the game". Both sides want solely what is best for themselves. If you go into it with that in mind, you'll find yourself not really siding with either group. but when we buy into, "the evil owners, george bush fox news neo-con", then we start siding with the players, who, make no mistake about it, are out of touch with reality. the fact that the average career is short has no bearing whatsoever. what is the length of the average military member's career? i love football. too much. and i don't have a william clay ford jersey. (have 2 barry sanders and a suh jersey, fwiw) i also don't believe the other extreme, that the players and the now decertified union are commy pinko liberal anti-americans. the players want the most money they can get. period. whether that is in the form of cold cash or "paid" in health care benefits, it's the same difference. they are not doing what they do for us, the fans. and i don't hate them for that. the owners also want the most money that they can get.
lost in this whole argument, (and i somewhat believe ty, that you are lost a little on this as well)is WHO IS FOR THE FANS? no part of this whole process involves lowering prices of tickets, parking, concessions, etc. no part involves making the team more accessible to the average fan. we don't fit in this debate. so trying to "pick a side" is just silly.

Alvin2112,  May 19, 2011 at 5:41 PM  

Ty, good call on keeping the political stuff out, I apologize for bringing it up and will refrain in the future, it just gets my blood boiling.

Telemakhos, I get the leverage angle, I just don't like it or agree with it. It's seems to be a necessary evil I guess. Maybe if this thing drags out it will humble everyone some and bring the NFL back down to Earth, I'm trying to be positive here,lol. I just hope you're right and someone does "concede" at a reasonable point in all this.

Al

RIP May 19, 2011 at 6:40 PM  

All you guys bring up very good points to the conversation. The owners want to make a nice profit, while the players want to be taken care of. But what are we really seeing here.

But what are we really seeing here? Each time there is a labor nogotiation, both sides start high and meet somewhere the middle. This time the owners want five percent more of the profits. They talked of an 18 game schedule which I believe is not true if they half to cut the preseason in half. I am quite sure that's not what the coaches want. The players say open your books, not not cut our percentage, and give us guarenteed health care for life. It's not how long I live, just give me more...

So lets dig a little deaper starting with the owners. If the economy is good prices will increase. Just look at the way the prices went up on home entertainment and computers a short while ago. If you have a good product, people will pay (and they do have only so much product to sell in a given time). I can not afford it, but there are others who can. Prices are dictated by the consumer and economy in that area. Do you think the players are complaining with a higher salary cap each year? Would we complain about a pay raise if our business is selling a product for more profit? Do you think that the last labor agreement made most NFL owners happy with the revenue sharing? Do you think that the New York market, like the Yankees what to share more of thier 100 million dollar TV contract to say Milwaukee or Kansas City?

Now lets talk of the health care the players want. The economy changes up and down all the time. One thing that seems to not change is the increase of premiums for everyone. Now what the the players is a guarenteed health benefit for after thier playing days. And it does not matter what the economy is as long as they are taken care of. But do they what less than the 60% revenue sharing they are already getting? I sure would not want to take a decrease if my BUDGET was not set up for it. This would be a huge gamble on the owners, and perhaps the league itself. Higher health care on one means a good chance of losses with no guarantee that anyone would pay it. If the the players are serious in wanting this, they should implement something I commented on in Ty's Blog "NFL Teams Are Downsizing, Before They Lose A Cent" on May eleventh. It would work if the the players are so concerned about thier health.

Now lets look at another real situation here. They hired a lawyer as thier NFLPA president to guide them after Gene Upshaw passed away. A lawyer who made millions of dollars in the courts in Washington DC. For approximately the past year and a half he has the player getting ready for first a strike, and then a lock out. Then he had the top best paid players prepared to go to court and decertification before any talks wear done. It was delayed a week by the government with new negotiations. Before that Friday ended they filed a claim, in all places, in Minnesota and the Williams tackles play. This looks to me as a legal lawyer working for his union and his lawyer colleagues for a nice profit. I look at this guy more for the impasse then anything else.

If there is no football this year, or only a 20 team league 10 years from know, I would look at this guy for the reasons why?

If you do want an example for the leagues books, take a look at the Green Bay Packers, who are always sold out for thier games, for thier books are open to the public. Then think of the Denver, Buffalo, and Jacksonville economies.

Where did I come from? I have been a frequent poster on Detfan1979's blog for the last 3 years.

Mike May 19, 2011 at 9:19 PM  

The most entertaining thing I've read was about how the players are making "MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR!!!" and how missing a paycheck or two isn't going to affect them, but the cold hard truth is 99% of those players just don't have multi-million dollar contracts. Sure you have your Matt Staffords, Julius Peppers, and Tom Bradys who sign for 10/12/15 mil a year or so plus bonuses, but for every one player with a contract like that there are probably 20-30 making the league minimum which varies from $285,000 for a rookie to $820,000 for a 10-year vet. Now consider the average shelf-life of a NFL player, on the high end, is 6 years. Even giving the median base salary of ~$550,000 (roughly halfway between the base salary of 3 and 4-6 year vets) for all 6 years, that's still only $3,300,000 over THEIR ENTIRE CAREER. If you compare that to a 45 year career in any other job (figuring age 21-65 here, your mileage may vary), that works out to a touch over $73,333 a year. The average household income in 2009, in a recession year mind you, was $50,233.

Sure, you might think "Gee, it must be nice to make more in 6 years than most households make in a lifetime", but consider these facts:

A) Playing in the NFL has serious and lasting health issues. Injuries sustained while playing in the NFL can and WILL require medical treatment for the rest of their lives and currently the NFL does not offer any compensation for that treatment.

B) Lump-sum money is taxed more heavily than that same amount spaced out over a lifetime. Adjusted with federal income tax, NFL players make ~$45,666/year in that same 45-year comparison, compared to $37,674...a much smaller difference. (Note: Take these figures with a grain of salt. I'm not well-versed in tax law but these numbers were meant to prove a point, not to be filed with the IRS lol.)

C) If any one of these players had put as much sweat and dedication into almost any other career as they have into football they probably would have landed a much safer and better paying job (in the long run, that is).

The whole concept that the players aren't going to be hurting for money because they're rolling in cash from million dollar contracts is OUTRAGEOUSLY fallacious. Yes, both sides need to concede on some points, but only a blind fool will believe that the players have nothing to lose.

theicon77,  May 20, 2011 at 2:22 AM  

I bring my own caps to the games.

Anonymous,  May 20, 2011 at 2:57 PM  

mike, you neglect the fact that the majority of nfl players went to college on scholarships, and the opportunity was there (if not taken advantage of, they only have themselves to blame) to earn a degree, which would allow them to get ANOTHER JOB following their brief nfl career.
in order for your whole career comparison to be valid, you have to presuppose that these players will never work another job in their life.
further, many of us "regular folks" get injured, too. i have herniated discs in my back, torn cartilage in my knee, rotator cuff damage on both shoulders, broken a vertebrae, broken my wrist, and a few other injuries as well. i get no lifetime healthcare for those injuries. some are sports related, some are work related, but THIS IS LIFE!

if anyone wants to believe this "poor nfl players" tripe, can you explain to me why leagues like the ifl, ufl, afl, (even the lingerie football league) pay their players a pittance, usually at best they get a couple hundred bucks per game...why on earth are there guys LINING UP to play on these teams? aren't they facing the same injuries, short "career", and long term health issues?
sorry, i don't know how to post under something other than "anonymous", but my name is adam, and i've been a lions fan since 1991.

Matt,  May 23, 2011 at 10:06 AM  

Lots of really good stuff here and I think this whole thread is indicative of just how fed up the "average fan" is finally getting.

One point about the whole billionaire owners vs. millionaire players thing that tends to get lost in our anger/jealousy that ALL those guys are rich and WE are not. I'm going to use Colts owner Jim Irsay as my example (info from Wikipedia & "the Internet"). He was 12 when his dad bought the team and, when Jim graduated from SMU in 1982, he immediately went to work "at the ticket counter and then later in the team's public relations department." I'm guessing he wasn't living on the standard hourly wage of a "regular" ticket-counter employee. Two years later, he was named GM. I doubt many NFL players, or regular college students, had they "taken full advantage of their free education," could expect to be raking in 6 figures by age 25...or inherit a football team by age 37. Jim then won 100% control of the franchise following the legal battle with his stepmother which followed his father's death in 1997. Practically the first thing he did, then, was draft Peyton Manning and sign him to a contract that included an $11.6 million signing bonus. Now, for that point I was taking about: Jim Irsay's not stupid; he's a capable businessman. So is Bill Polian, who Jim hired after the '97 season (who, in turn, hired his sone, Chris Polian, as Director of Pro Personnel). The point is that neither Irsay nor Polian would have shelled out $11.6 million to rookie Peyton Manning (or the $34.5 million bonus for MVP Manning or the next/last? huge bonus he's sure to get) if they did not, as businessmen, expect to recoup every red cent plus a solid return on the investment.

Of course, it doesn't always work out this way. Just ask Chargers owner Alex Spanos how the Ryan Leaf investment worked out (or maybe ask his son, Dean, who's been President/CEO since 1994). But I would say, given the overall profits of the NFL, that it works out way more often than it doesn't.

So, I don't really understand being mad at "players making millions of dollars for playing a game" when the reason those players make millions is because some other guy is going to make MORE millions without having to actually play the game. Either you're okay with how capitalism works, overall, or you're not. It's not fair to pick on one party and not the other. And, in closing, I'm not really sure nepotism is an American/capitalist value (maybe the Adams', Harrison's, and Bush's would disagree). Either you let everyone spend their money as they want and everyone get as much as they can or, if you're going to get mad at anyone, get (justifiably) mad at everyone.

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