The NFLPA is still screaming, “Show us the money.” Well, not really. But they are demanding the NFL owners open up and show them the books of all 32 teams. Per several sources, the late Gene Upshaw, who had a close relationship with then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, never saw the books. The current executive director of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith, won’t see them either.
The NFL has provided the NFLPA with what it calls “enough financial information.” The players received financial statements that detail the “Earned Revenue” for all 32 teams, but the problem – and sticking point – is the owners are holding back and won’t show them the “Total Operating Cost” per team.
While sharing Total Football Revenue is the bottom line in these labor discussions (and really is the heartbeat of the negotiations), the bottom line is the effect it will have on the most valuable member of their teams, the fans. Along with the fans, there are others that will be affected as well, but in a much more direct way.
Like in all billion-dollar corporations, employees work extremely hard every day, from the receptionist that greets guests or callers, to the mailroom where mail and packages are sorted and delivered, to the locker room and ground keepers and the game-day event planners. Each team is handling the upcoming lockout in different ways.
Several teams started the house-cleaning process several months ago. The axe dropped in several areas of all NFL franchises, trimming some of the fat. This cost-cutting action started with the directors of player development, merging their responsibilities throughout the organization. Other areas affected by the upcoming lockout were in ticketing, public relations, sales, sponsorship and marketing departments as well. After the draft, the layoffs of both pro and college scouting staffs are inevitable.
While the owners’ lockout will tear at the inner fiber of every NFL organization, it will also have a trickle-down effect into the community. The executive director of ARAW (American Rights at Work), Kimberley Freeman Brown, was quoted at a joint press conference with the NFLPA as saying: “Each NFL city stands to lose $160 million if the owners force a lockout. It could cost 150,000 jobs nationwide for the people that labor in cleaning the stadiums, working concessions, this also includes security, waiters, bartenders, local hotel staffs and many other businesses that surround the stadiums and metropolitan areas.”
You see, while the battle of greed has begun between the NFL’s billionaires and millionaires, the folks that are affected the most are the club employees and their families, local businesses and surrounding communities, not to mention the fan base that really loves this game.