By any measure, the NFL is the most successful sports league in America. It has the highest ratings, brings in the most money at the gate, and has a legion of rabid fans like myself that buy all manner of merchandise touting their favorite teams. So how do you let the controversy about the care of your ex-players get so bad you’ve got congressional hearings? Regardless of the merits of the NFL’s case (and there aren’t very many), it’s just creating a PR problem where there doesn’t need to be one.
Most teams around the league make a profit. Right here in the DC metro area the Redskins went 5-11 and will still likely rank in the top 2 for most profitable teams! So just do the right thing and take care of the ex-players. Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t been at the top of the league for long, but it doesn’t make much sense to look like a chickenshit right out of the gate by not appearing at this hearing. And Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA head continues to uphold his reputation as a chucklehead who only pipes up when it involves defending a player who has violated the league’s drug policy.
I’ve often disagreed with people who automatically side against the NFL owners with claims of “greed”, because the players are very well compensated for their jobs and nobody is forced to attend games, watch them on free tv or subscribe on satellite. But in this case, the league really does come across as a bunch of mean, greedy, S.O.Bs.