Well, it’s good to know I’m not the only guy from West Virginia who periodically becomes a pain in the NFL’s rear end.
Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) urged the NFL to open its books to the players. Now, Rockefeller wants the NFL to leave its doors open, too.
And he still wants the league to open its books.
“A lockout is completely unnecessary,” Rockefeller said in a statement issued by the U.S. Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation. “It has the potential to harm not just the players, the league and the fans, but all the Americans whose livelihoods depend on a football season. We’re talking about thousands of jobs at stake: from jobs at concession and merchandise stands to hotel and retail sector jobs.
“Why should the workers who depend on these jobs pay the price of a bitter dispute between wealthy players and wealthier owners?
“I urge the NFL and the players to extend the deadline for their talks. It’s not a heavy lift. Both sides should be able to agree on at least this. Keep talking. Take a time-out, and let cooler heads prevail. Then return to the table for negotiations and come to a resolution to break this impasse.
“I’m still disappointed that the league won’t simply open up its books so the players can get a clear picture of the finances of the entire NFL. Transparency is always a good thing and corporate secrecy should not trump cooperation.”
For those of you who wonder why Rockefeller, who represents a constituency that hosts no pro football team, would be injecting himself into this dispute, the fact that the statement was issued by the Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation provides the answer.
The keys words are “Commerce” as in football has an important impact on it. And “chairman” as in Rockefeller serves in that capacity.
Rockefeller’s statement, coming on the same day President Obama expressed a desire that the two sides get a deal done, represents a shot across the league’s bow — and a possible precursor to the holding of a hearing regarding the question of whether any specific legislation may be justified if a lockout is launched.
Again, whatever it takes.