There is always a little bit of tension between labor unions and business ownership. After all, each side wants the best of every deal, and each side needs to protect its own interest to keep a business going or labor working. The NFL and NFLPA are no different, but the high profile cases are hurting the NFL’s position more than helping its owners at this point. One of the biggest recent examples was NFL ownership essentially hiding over $100 million in revenue from its players.
The last thing sports fans want to hear about is millionaires fighting with billionaires. It is tone deaf to fans who have to work extremely hard to pay hundreds of dollars to attend a game. The NFL also knows that anything it does, good or bad, will get national coverage. Something like hiding revenue so owners can make $3-4 million per team more from game attendance seems penny wise and pound foolish. The NFLPA already has its hands full protecting its members from fines, suspensions, player safety, and revenue sharing that it shouldn’t have to go to court to recover hidden revenue streams. It just makes the NFL look like the villain in this situation.
It seems as if the NFL and NFLPA have the worst relationship among the major sports in the U.S.. Maybe it is because it generates more revenue and higher viewership compared to the other sports. Maybe it is because the league gets an inordinate amount of media coverage compared to the NBA, NHL, and MLB. In any case, the constant battle is not good for business.
Everything adds up, and the owners won’t get as much public support as they did last time the CBA came up if they continue to behave as they are now. The more legal precedent set by these cases, the worse it is for the future negotiating power of the NFL. The problem is that this isn’t the last of the high profile cases the league has to deal with. Deflategate still hasn’t been resolved, and there seems to be a growing distrust between the players and the league. It’s tough to negotiate more international games, an 18-game schedule, non-guaranteed contracts and other things the NFL is trying to accomplish if the league gets caught hiding millions of dollars from the players. In fact it seems like business as usual for the NFL, and that will only harden the NFLPA’s stance.
The relationship needs to be fixed before something really bad happens. Issues need to be resolved before fans become fed-up with the constant fighting. It’s better for business when both sides can get along and not bring everything into the courts.