NFL Tournament Of Badness: NFL Lockout Exemption

Later today, James is kicking off the NN Tournament of Badness with some preliminary elimination matchups. The tournament is a bracket of some of the worst and most obnoxious things about the NFL. It will include everything from Brett Favre's media-whoring to the Madden Curse to personal seat licenses.

After these next three days of elimination matchups we'll have a 64-team field much like the NCAA Tournament used to be. We'll have a bracket and vote on each of the matchups one-by-one over 63 days. Since there's not much else happening in football for now, it's one more way to take your mind off the insanity of the NFL Lockout.

Speaking of the NFL Lockout, this issue will actually not be included in the bracket. While all the other entrants have their support for being the worst, it seems safe to say that NFL Lockout-related categories would probably run the table in this tournament.

However, given that the tournament will provide an opportunity for quite the airing of grievances about the league, I didn't want to leave out some kind of opportunity to complain about the lockout. So, consider this a sort of Opening Ceremony with the ultimate in "badness" getting the spotlight. Also, consider this a sort of stress ball type of post to unload your frustrations at everything that has led to a threat of no football in the fall. Accordingly, site decorum is turned off in this thread (and only this thread). Let's try and avoid pointless gratuitous swearing, but if you need to let loose in describing your frustrations, feel free. However, please maintain respect towards your fellow site members.

As I follow the developing stories surrounding the lockout, I find myself dealing with a simple sense of frustration about everything related to this. When we have posts about the lockout, inevitably we see a split between folks who are on the players side and folks who are on the owners side.

While I generally lean towards the players in certain respects, I also find myself understanding certain aspects of the owners' case. And I think that's really the rub of this whole thing. In spite of what the two sides may think, there is no black and white here. This is not a simple case of Party X is right and Party Y is wrong. As is often the case in labor disputes, both sides have points that are probably right and they also have points that are probably wrong.

The problem that has been created is that the intense level of mistrust and disdain leaves both sides drawing huge lines in the sand. It becomes some kind of macho, ego thing in which neither side is willing to blink because of concern about losing face. When that happens, nobody wins.

DeMaurice Smith recently spoke at the University of Maryland's graduation ceremony. In his speech he mentioned the use by some of the phrase "Shut up and play." I've seen that in some comments here as well. I don't think this is so much about telling the players to shut up and play, or the owners to suck it up and live with their own mistakes.

Rather, for now my view is more "Shut up and negotiate." This is not about the decision to litigate the lockout. At the end of the day, everything that is taking place right now is simply about gaining leverage in negotiations. The owners imposed the lockout to get players worrying about their next paycheck and thus cave in to owner demands. The players decertified and filed their lawsuits in hopes of ending the lockout and putting the owners in a position to at least have to play the coming season under the previous labor deal.

As I said above, both sides have reasons they are right and they both have reasons they are wrong. My frustrations at this point surround the fact that neither side appears willing to really step up and get back to the negotiating table. I understand that litigation creates a very adversarial relationship, but these two sides need to man up and figure this out at the negotiating table.

I'm sick of hearing why one side views the other as creating problems. I don't need to hear how Party A is just trying to get football back while Party B is gumming up the work. There is a way to work this out so each side can benefit. This can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Instead we have hard-liners on BOTH SIDES who seem unwilling to compromise. The players and owners may expect fans to return if there is a work stoppage, but look how long it took for Major League Baseball to regain fan support. Yes they have been coming back, but they lost some fans for life. Are the owners and players really willing to kill the golden goose and hope fans forgive them? If they are, they deserve a serious slap in the face.

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