I believe the owners are the ones at fault in the current labor mess. That being said, I'm not here to say that the players are completely innocent in the matter either. Any group which is principally willing to let an NFL season go by the wayside and screw all us fans over is evil in my eyes. However, I fully understand where the players are coming from. Their stance in this matter is one which any sane human being would agree is normal. Let me explain.
The case the players have is not unique to the NFL. The owners are currently paying their employees a certain amount and want to lessen the salaries of their employees. Now, in any case of employees, regardless the business, this would be of cause for great concern. Nobody wants to make less money than they currently make. If you were told by your boss that you had to take a paycut, you wouldnt take it sitting down. The first thing you would want to know is "Why?".
In this case, the owners have stated that they need the players to take a lesser cut because they can't continue to run their businesses using the current structure. Fine. Following this, the next step you would want is proof that this claim is true. This would be particularly true in cases where you have reason to believe that the claim is false. In this case, the players have every reason to believe that ownership isnt telling the truth. The NFL is the most lucrative sports venture at least in the US. Not only that but the league doesnt really suffer like other sports do with the proverbial "small market teams". This is mainly due to both the hard cap and the franchise tag which make parity much easier and allow teams from small markets to complete regularly. Teams from Pittsburgh and Green Bay played in the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the Pirates playing the Royals in the World Series? Hardly likely. You also dont see anything like the Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams or Lebron situations where teams either lose completely or need to pawn off their stars because they dont wanna stay in a small market. You also dont see situations like those in baseball where every player runs either to the Mets, Yankees or Red Sox. The Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald (and if he leaves it'll be due to the QB situation, not the city location), Adrian Peterson is in minnesota, Peyton Manning is in Indy. Heck, even Jacksonville has Maurice Jones Drew. Also, every team can compete every year. Who wouldve thought that the Rams, Chiefs and Bucs would rise up this year. These 2 factors allow every team to be competitive and sell tickets and merchandise. No team should be losing money.
Next, Roger Goodell claims the league needs more money because "stadiums need to be built". Excuse me. No they dont. Look, I'm a huge Met fan and I'll be the first to admit that Shea Stadium was decrepit, old fashioned and ugly. It had terrible sightlines. Did the Mets need a new stadium. NO. Was it nice that they got a new one. Sure. But it wasnt needed. If you're a player why should you want to give up money for an owners new toy?
So, what we've come out with is that the players have every right to want to know why it is exactly that the owners want them to take paycuts. This is fair. The owners though are jerks. They dont want the players to see their dirty laundry by showinf=g off their financial staemeents. Gee wiz, I wonder why that could be?
Another point in favor of the players is safety and how it relates to the issue of the 18 game season. Of course the players arent in favor of this. Anyone who works in a profession with major security issues (i.e. construction) would understandably be worried about their safety. If the boss were to suddenly announce that he was cutting safety for greater profit that would be great reason for worry (ahem, BP). Why should the players want more games even if it means more money. Who wants to end up the next Dave Duerson. Similarly, even in regular professions, if the boss decided that you were to have less off days you wouldnt be too thrilled about it. A teacher wouldnt be altogether pleased if they were told that they must give back one of the months they have off every summer. They'd be incensed, even if it meant greater pay. What is different about the players.
Now look, I understand. The players are all millionaires. This is true. Yet they are still among the least payed among American profeesional athletes. Not only that, but their shelf life is a lot shorter. I know what youre thinking. "Cry Me a River". That may be true. However, no matter how rich you are it's never easy to take less than what youre making. If you think it would be normal for the players to just give up money for no reason whatsoever than youve never had any interaction whatsover with another member of the human race.
Add all to this the great greed of the owners. They get lockout insurance on their TV contracts so they can pack their fat wallets even in a lockout. They sell tickets to watch the game outside the Super Bowl for $200 (!). Sure people will pay for it, but that still makes them greedy bastards. PSL's. PSL's. PSL's. Need I say more? The list can truly go on and on.
My birthday is in a week and a half. All I want is an NFL season. Who is with me????