My new Think Again column takes pity on those poor, underappreciated folk in the tea party, about whom so many in the media are so vicious and hurtful and it’s here.
My Nation column is called “Ronald Reagan Superstar.” You can guess what that’s about. It’s here.
And my Daily Beast column this week was about Obama’s awful budget, and that’s here.
And here‘s a video of my appearance on Busboys and Poets, broadcast on CSPAN’s Book TV last week
But now here’s Reed:
Walkouts, Payouts, and Lockouts: Why the NFL’s labor dispute should matter to you
Imagine you are a union member at a workplace that had defied the dire economic straits of recent years and instead seen its annual revenue rise by nearly 50 percent in the past five years. Now, imagine if the owners of that successful entity presented you with the following choice: Either sign a new contract that essentially requires accepting a decrease in your share of revenue and an increase in your workload at your (physically ruinous) job or risk being shut out of work and replaced. Oh, and did I forget to mention the part about how the media will do such a poor job of accurately explaining the situation that most of the public will think you went on strike and thus brand you a greedy bastard?
In a nutshell, that’s where the NFL’s labor negotiations stand right now as the owners and players’ union head into the final two weeks of the current collective bargaining agreement. Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, one of the few sportswriters who hasn’t succumbed to the league’s wooing and carefully constructed talking points, summed it up better than I could yesterday:
“[The owners] believe they are entitled to make money every year, even in the midst of disastrous recessions. They think they are owed a living…The core issue is this: Owners resent the fact that a lot of [fans’] money is going into the pockets of players, instead of into their own.”
How much is “a lot” of money, according to the owners? Well, last year, players took home around 53% of the league’s $9.3 billion in annual revenue, leaving the owners with a measly 47% of the cut. Doesn’t seem so unfair to me, especially since the players are the ones, you know, actually playing the games and risking injury.
So what’s behind the owners trying to drive such a hard bargain? Well, total player compensation has doubled since 2003 and, despite a roughly corresponding rise in league revenue, that just doesn’t sit right with management, as Jenkins pointed out. And when she says they “resent” it, she’s being a bit kind.