The NFL Players Union was on
Capitol Hill this week to lobby Congress regarding the lockout. The potential
of an NFL lockout has terrified fans as it seems a real possibility that next
season could be football-free. One group has been galvanizing the fan voice in
a strategic manner to attack the lockout with facts, negotiations, and a strong voice in
This week the NFL Players were on Capitol Hill, what are your thoughts on their having Congress involved? What do you think of the NFL's criticism of this activity saying that ""This deal will be reached at the negotiating table, not in the halls of Congress"
Everyone hopes that Congress doesn't have to get involved in the situation, but the fact that both sides are actively lobbying Congress suggests that this fight will not be over anytime soon. The NFL's criticism of the NFLPA for taking to Capitol Hill represents the height of hypocrisy considering the NFL's own political action committee (NFLPAC) has spent around $2.5 million on lobbying in the last two years. The players aren't spending anywhere close to that kind of money; they're just trying to use their star power. The fans have neither, but they do have numbers.
What can fans do to stop the lockout? Why should they bother? Is their voice really relevant?
Their voice is absolutely relevant if fans can unite into one collective voice, which they can do by signing the petition at www.SaveNextSeason.com The NFL and the NFLPA are already very concerned about the Sports Fans Coalition and our efforts. If those efforts are backed up by hundreds of thousands of fans, we could seriously force an end to the resolution -- and one that's in the best interest of fans.
Breakdown the FCC's recent retransmission ruling and how it affects fan viewing. You were an early voice in that discussion - why?
Besides the NFL what are some other key sports disputes which you want to influence in the next few years?
Our concerns with the NFL aren't just limited to the looming lockout. We also want to put an end to the NFL's blackout rule which punishes fans in particularly hard-hit communities who can't afford to go to games but who have had to pay taxes on their team's stadium. This is why we have spent so much time raising the concerns of sports fans with the FCC. The blackout rule is on their books and they have the power to change it.
Also looming on the horizon is a possible NBA lockout. And that fight could be even uglier than the NFL's fight. Unlike the NFL, which has never been more popular, the NBA has serious problems now, including the situation involving the New Orleans Hornets, who are now owned by the league and may relocate or contract.
Finally, we will continue to fight for a college playoff and will work to gain Congressional support of any action in that direction. The NCAA is clearly unable to gain control of its most profitable product and given the inequities that are inherent in the BCS system, Congressional action may be the only hope for change. The vast majority of sports fans everywhere hate the BCS enough to accept Congress' involvement, I believe.
Who do you believe currently thinks they speak for fans but really doesn't?
Well, clearly the NFLPA and the NFL both feel that their interests represent the best interests of fans. And I believe that they believe that. But there's no way they can objectively assess or speak to fans' true concerns. Only a nonprofit advocacy organization can challenge both sides. In addition, sometimes some sports media tend to believe that they are speaking for the fans, but they don't ever truly challenge the leagues or the owners because they don't to lose access or because they have business relationships with the leagues. This creates a problem for our organization when we depend on the same media to get out the word about the issues affecting fans. Which is why we are so dependent upon people spreading the word about sportsfans.org. When fan interests don't get coverage, it's not because those interests aren't important -- it's because those interests conflict with the interests of the sports-media complex.
Maury Litwack is a recognized lobbying expert and founder of the advocacy training and education firm - Capitol Plan where he publishes the weekly lobbying letter - an insider resource read by lobbyists, policy makers, and government relations professionals.
political strategy. Maury left the Hill to expand the Washington office of Miami-Dade County, the 6th largest county in the country. His analysis of lobbyists, lobbying, celebrity advocacy, and earmarks have
appeared in political publications such as The Hill, Daily Caller and FoxNews.com and on the radio in programs such as AOL's Politics Daily and XM/SIRIUS POTUS. His take on ongoing tech advocacy issues have
appeared in top technology publications Business Insider -SAI, TechCrunch, and Mashable