Though the dispute between the NFL and the players’ union has yet to escalate to the point where police involvement is needed to prevent fisticuffs, shotguns, and/or jack rocks, the police have gotten involved.
The NFLPA and the National Fraternal Order of Police have announced a partnership “to show support for all NFL players and their efforts to negotiate a labor agreement that is fair for the players, fans and NFL owners.”
Chuck Canterbury, president of the group, spoke about the move in a news release. “As the largest law enforcement labor organization in the country, I think it’s important that we show our solidarity with other labor organizations with problems similar to ours,” Canterbury said. “We’re all in the same boat — worker’s rights are civil rights, whether you’re playing football or walking a beat. We also know how lonely it can be when you stand up for those rights against powerful employers. The NFLPA members deserve respect and just compensation just as much as any other professionals do. Our unanimous vote to support the players in their fight is a reflection of our commitment.”
“Our members are honored to receive support from the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said. “As we move toward securing a labor agreement with the NFL, it is important for everyone to understand the impact this agreement not only has on our game, but they [sic] people provide security for our stadiums and to our fans in all 32 cities. We appreciate their efforts to join forces with the players and bring awareness to the impact a work stoppage would have on our labor work force.”
It’s a fairly transparent effort to muster fan support in the hopes of eventually converting fan support into political pressure. But the union should tread lightly here. It’s been our impression that the sport of football attracts a greater percentage of folks with conservative political leanings than progressives/liberals/whatever the current term is that the conservatives have yet to successfully demonize. (And that’s not a slam against either group; it’s a factual observation.)
Even if the red/blue split among football fans is 50-50, the union’s decision to openly recruit unions like the AFL-CIO and FOP could alienate half of the fan base. And with the ever-swinging pendulum of voter discontent poised to push plenty of Republicans into Congress on November 2, the decision of the union to behave like a traditional union could end up being a huge mistake come 2011.