It was only because I had set a reminder on the cable box channel guide earlier in the day to turn on the Packers-Chargers pre-season football game Thursday night that I was able to watch some of the game as I had plugged in and gone electric a little while earlier, pickin’ and grinnin’ with my Fender Stratocaster hung around my shoulder, rockin’ my little metro complex via headphones for a good hour and thinking very little of anything else. It was during a brief break between jams that I caught the announcers talking about the scab referees calling the game, including Shannon Eastin, the first female ever to officiate an NFL game. I got to thinking about how the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and the players themselves threw such a fit earlier this year concerning the talk of the NFL adding two additional regular season games each year. Injuries where sure to mount up, the union and players screamed, balking at the suggestion of playing two more games each season while reducing the number of preseason games.
The irony soon set in about the lack of solidarity by the NFLPA and its members. The players very easily could be walking the picket line with their game official brothers, all the while getting out of several meaningless, only in America glorified scrimmages where the starters and stars play a very short period of time while unknown players with almost no chance of making the team get their shot at glory. In a league in which the stars are paid many times more than the average player’s salary, that average salary is still two millions dollars a year. At that figure, NFL players are differently one percenters.
Isn’t it ironic that quasi-amateur collegiate players play their first game of the season without the benefit any pre-season games? Why then, do highly paid professional athletes, who have been playing far longer than their college brethren, require four pre-season games in order to get ready for the regular season? In this day and age in which the very heart, soul and legality of worker unions are being undermined by the Republican Party, wouldn’t you think the NFLPA would show support to their union brothers? However, just the opposite is happening as the Players Association have already begun criticizing scab officials, not for working in place of the striking officials, but for their deemed inequality to NFL officials, going as far as to blaming them for injuries that might be suffered by players due to blown calls.
I guess though, when hard times hit home, with decent jobs nowhere to be found, no matter what the working man is working for, he is only working for himself.
Steven H. Spring