Drew Magary of Deadspin and other online joints recently mentioned to me something I’ve noticed regularly over the past several months: A lot of the folks posting comments in response to our stories seem to be squarely, and almost zealously, behind the owners in the ongoing labor drama.
We don’t delete or edit comments based on point of view, and we have no control over the whole thumb’s-up, thumb’s-down dynamic. From an editorial standpoint, we’ve tried to play this complex and emotional issue down the middle, which of course has prompted folks on each side to claim we’re biased against their side because we haven’t declared ourselves to be on their side. (The fact that some NFL writers, and you know who you are, are openly and almost admittedly biased makes it a lot harder for those of us who are trying to be objective. So thanks for that.)
Magary has fashioned a post based on the comments from some of our commenters, and it’s hard to disagree with a lot of what he writes. As football fans, we should want football, and whatever is required to give us football is what we should want. That means we should want the lockout to be lifted by court order, with the league respecting the ruling and not responding by shutting down the whole sport.
That said, the long-term stability of the league would best be served by a labor deal that is negotiated without one side or the other having a high degree of leverage. Otherwise, we could be back in this mess within the next few years. Eventually, the push-and-pull could become part of the new reality for NFL fans, like showing up two hours early to fly on a plane and being sure to wear socks that don’t reek. But if we have football, that other stuff is tolerable.
So, yes, we should all want football. Though the players aren’t doing what they’re doing for the fans (indeed, the players weren’t trying to give the fans football when they went on strike in 1982 and 1987), we should want the outcome that gives us football, sooner rather than later. And if the parties aren’t going to work out a new CBA before the middle of June (the ideal solution), then we should all want the next best thing — and order from the Eighth Circuit lifting the lockout.
Frankly, after 62 days of this crap, that’s precisely what I want; a new deal by the middle of June first, an order ending the lockout second.
Still, it’s shocking that so many people support shutting the league down, and it makes Magary — and us — wonder whether some of the pro-owner posts have been posted by some of the team and league employees who have a lot of free time on their hands right now.
If so, we’ll be hearing from them soon. What else do they have to do right now?