Dear NFL players, good luck the next time you want to sue the NFL owners to protect your rights and the money you make. Based on how you just treated the named plaintiffs in the Tom Brady(notes) et al v. the NFL antitrust lawsuit – you know, the guys who stuck their necks out for the rest of the players – nobody else is ever going to want to do that again.
Certainly not a prominent player, not a star. Certainly not a player whose mere presence might show that your “union” (and, by extension, all of you) is actually powerful. Then again, this is why when it comes to the business of the NFL, players are sheep and not shepherds.
As the owners and players negotiate a settlement of this thorny labor impasse, the players have reverted to the form that has made them so weak for decades. Instead of standing in for the greater good and taking care of the very guys who put their names on the line, NFL players dropped the ball and are running back to their jobs.
At least that’s the way it’s playing out.
When it came to an apparent request from Logan Mankins(notes) or Vincent Jackson(notes), the rest of the players trampled them like Jerome Bettis running over a cornerback. When it came to fighting so Jackson, Mankins, Peyton Manning(notes) and Drew Brees(notes) wouldn’t be slapped with the “franchise” tag (a device that drastically holds down salaries), those guys got as much support as Rupert Murdoch at a privacy seminar.
Not only did these guys not get so much as a “thank you,” you had players like Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe(notes) calling some of them “douche bags” in a tweet. (As an aside, Chris, you’re a pretty clever guy and I loved the “Downfall” parody, but you missed the boat on your tweet.)