UPDATE: NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith just tweeted, “NFL executives reducing salaries in the event of a lockout? If we have a deal by Super Bowl, I’ll go down to 68 cents.”
EARLIER: From the average fan’s perspective, the labour dispute between National Football League owners and players is about nothing more than greed. The fat cat owners want to pay players less for more games, and the players are pretty happy with their huge salaries and don’t see a need to risk more injuries.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, but the truth is that most people really don’t care about what the labour issues are, they just want to know if there’s going to be a season next year.
There could well be a lockout, and mud-slinging between the two sides has already begun, but Commissioner Roger Goodell has not been an antagonist.
In fact, the commissioner has gone out of his way over the last two days to reach out to fans and is beginning to come across as a sympathetic white knight.
Yesterday, Goodell called James Owen, a Broncos blogger who had written a critical e-mail to Goodell on “the lack of open discourse” from the NFL and NFLPA regarding a potential lockout. Goodell contacted him and the two exchanged a 15 minute conversation which Owen says was very casual. The call shocked Owen, but NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says that Goodell calls fans and returns e-mails with some frequency.
That’s a pretty quick and easy way to earn respect from fans, but today Goodell amped up his PR efforts again. He revealed that in the event of a lockout, his annual salary will be reduced to just $1 until the league commences play.
Obviously, as the figurehead of the NFL, Goodell sees an opportunity here to connect with fans and earn their trust. So far there haven’t been any reports of DeMaurice Smith or NFL players making similar efforts, and at least for now, it appears that the NFL is on its way to winning the lockout PR war.
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