In the weeks before the expiration of the now-expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFLPA had made a push to get fans to sign a petition aimed at blocking the lockout. More than five weeks into the lockout and as a court-ordered mediation process commences its second week, the NFLPA* is making a new push to “lift the lockout.”
A reader has forwarded to us an e-mail that apparently is being sent to everyone who signed the original “block the lockout” petition.
“The players of the National Football League want to thank you for your support during the lockout,” the e-mail begins. “The NFL lockout not only impacts players, but it also affects you and thousands of people that rely on the game. We also want to thank you for doing your part as a fan and signing our ‘Block the Lockout’ Petition.
“Last week, the NFL made a big splash, releasing the 2011 Preseason Schedule for a season that is not guaranteed. The Hall of Fame game, the marquee event to start the NFL preseason, is around the corner. However, when the NFL and its owners imposed a lockout on March 12, 2011, they put the future of America’s game in serious jeopardy.
“While the NFL continues to fight in court to keep the lockout in place, we want to make you aware of a few updates including a shift to petition the NFL to ‘Lift the Lockout.’ Our message is clear and simple: we are locked out and want to play.”
The e-mail then urges the recipient to sign the “lift the lockout” petition and to take other steps to publicize the effort via Facebook and Twitter. It’s a somewhat risky move, in our view, given that the NFLPA* needs to convince the court system that it’s not a union. Engaging in overt efforts to end the lockout that was imposed after the union decertified sure seems like something a union would do.
Either way, it’s another sign that the mediation is going nowhere, fast. Why even bother to continue? Both sides apparently prefer to fight in court while also engaging in a meaningless tug-o-war for the affections of an increasingly apathetic fan base.
We have been asked numerous times to organize a boycott of the draft, as a way for the fans to try to get the attention of two sides who by all appearances are driven by greed and leverage. We’re hearing it so much right now that, frankly, we don’t believe the actual organization of a draft boycott is necessary. Plenty of casual fans won’t be watching the draft on television without being urged not to do so, and a lot of hardcore fans seem to be willing to not tune in on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, either, in order to make a statement to those who can’t seem to figure out how to properly divvy up the fruits of phenomenal success that may not be quite so phenomenal in the future.