Daniel Kline: NFL players and owners are not partnersPublished 11:05pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011
As someone who performs his job quite well, at some point after our busy season concludes, I will sit down with my bosses and attempt to make myself a better deal.
I’ll ask for more money, more time off and maybe some perks (one of those paper thin MacBooks would be nice).
They will likely counter by offering less of a raise than I asked for, ignoring me on the request for more time off and offering a perk closer to a new set of business cards than a new laptop.
Most likely, we will bounce some proposals back and forth and I will end up getting less than I wanted while they will end up giving more than they intended.
If that does not happen or either side thinks the other is being unreasonable we both have some basic options.
I could choose (as I have done many times in my career) to take my talents elsewhere.
They, of course, have the same rights and could decide that despite the excellent work I deliver, I’m not worth the trouble and they could show me the door.
There’s no agreement protecting either one of us.
I work for them at my own choice and they employ me at theirs.
The same logic should apply to all workers included the arrogant folks who play professional football.
These men have been led to believe that because they have a somewhat unique talent, the rules of free enterprise and capitalism do not apply to them.
For years, in football and every other sport, the owners have submitted to the absurd notion of collective bargaining.
Instead of it being every team and every player for itself, we have long labored under the anti-capitalist concepts of salary caps, minimum salaries and other artificial constructs.
Just because their jobs pay well and their industry makes a lot of money, NFL players somehow got the notion that they are partners with the owners.
The owners have, of course, encouraged this notion by engaging in collective bargaining and giving their employees a guaranteed percentage of their total income.
The NFL owners should end the lockout and institute a true free market.
That means that owners like Jerry Jones (Cowboys) or Daniel Snyder (Redskins) may very well hoard great players.
Similarly Al Davis (Raiders) or Ralph Wilson (Bills) might cheap out and spend dramatically less.
That said, in a free market players would have more, not less choices.
With no rookie draft they would be able to decide where they want to go.
With no minimum salary a veteran could lower his price to stay in the league or a rookie could work for next to nothing to get his foot in the door.
Experienced players would have to decide if they should take big bucks as a backup on one team or less money to start on another.
The free market dictates things for most Americans and our athletes deserve the same system. No more unions, no more collective bargaining — and, of course, no more collusion by owners — just an open market where everyone is free to compete.
Daniel B. Kline’s work appears in over 100 papers weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com or you can see his archive at dbkline.com.
You can listen to his podcast or buy his upcoming book, Worst Ideas Ever, at Worstideasever.com.