Today's the day, June 3rd, when St. Louis' Eighth District Court will hear from both the NFL and NFLPA, and the court will rule in one side's favor or the other.
And when they do, one side certainly won't win—the fans'.
It's now the 80th day of this current NFL work stoppage, the longest such stretch in NFL history.
Yet, we can't get enough.
Billionaire owners and millionaire athletes are squabbling over how to split up their nearly $10 Billion per year of revenue while the people that pay those contracts, the people that shell out for exorbitantly expensive tickets and NFL banded merchandise are struggling to survive.
Those same people, the fans of football, are choosing between paying for necessities (see: food, shelter) versus paying for luxuries (see: TV, sporting events). They're enduring the hardships of a terrible economy, barely making ends meet by working multiple jobs while their "idols" are paid tens, even hundreds of times as much money to play a game.
The irony of the poor masses spending valuable time and money to make athletes into wealthy celebrities to be worshiped is laughable.
Yet, we can't get enough.
In April, after Judge Susan Nelson motioned in favor of the players because—get this—the owners were greedy (they tried to guarantee themselves income during a potential lockout), we didn't care.
Amidst a lockout, knowing the NFL was no closer to actually playing games on the gridiron, all us fans cared about was the Draft.
We tuned in as we dropped out of the realm of reality.
We knew it didn't really matter who our team took in the Draft; they wouldn't be able to meet teammates or practice at team facilities, but we didn't care.
It was business as usual for the fans and the NFL as they put on their three-day, overblown extravaganza in New York called the Draft, and we all slurped it up.
For a league to hold a draft when they knew they weren't close to playing football was like dangling drugs in front of a fiend at rehab.
Because face it, we're all addicted to NFL football.
We know we shouldn't watch, but we did.
Seriously, why would owners and players care about us peons? (Except, of course, where we spend our money.)
Yet, we couldn't get enough.
And now, after six weeks of relative inactivity in the labor dispute, football fans across the country hold their collective breath, holding out hope the court's decision will lead to football sooner rather than later.
When will we, as fans, say enough is enough?
But as the two sides—the NFL and its owners, led by Roger Goodell and the NFLPA, led by DeMaurice Smith—argue they are more deserving of billions of dollars, who will step up for the fans?
In a perfect world, the fans would have their own association, a group led by lawyers that could stand for the fans and their interests.
In a less than perfect world, the fans would form their own group—the Hogettes would represent the Redskins, the viking from Minnesota would be at the mediation talks and Jets superfan Fireman Ed would be the speaker for the fans.
But since having a team of legislators, or even a group of superfans to argue for the benefit of the fans is out of the question, are football fans powerless?
What can we as fans do?
If this months-long labor dispute has taught us anything, it's that we, the fans, don't matter. The only thing that matters to the billionaire aristocrats is our money.
Which is exactly where the fans can strike back.
Our only option, and it's a drastic one at that, is to boycott the NFL.
That's right NFL junkies, we have to actually stay away from ballparks, stop purchasing those snazzy jerseys and turn off our TVs, whenever football season returns.
Just think about it; after months of misery and dispute, the two sides finally reach an agreement. Sure, training camps were missed, preseason games went unplayed—the product on the field will undoubtedly suffer—"But, damnit, it's football!" the NFL would proclaim.
But what if we fans boycotted, if only for the first week football returns? Would the powers-that-be listen to us powerless football fans then?
If nobody shows up to the multi-million dollar palaces, if the turnstiles go unturned, if there's nobody there to watch, will the games still matter?
We are, of course, the reason the NFL even exists. Without the fans, the NFL, and every spectator sport league like it, would crumble to the ground quicker than the Roman Empire, no matter how large, wealthy and powerful said league thinks it may be.
So, what I'm asking from you fans here is to act, take the power back, let the NFL—the owners, commissioner and players alike—know your disgust with their actions, with their holding of us all ransom while they decide the dollars and cents and we figure out how we can afford to watch the game we all love.
We must band together, we must all act as one, a mass of mankind that together can be united against the NFL's tyranny to stand against greed and for a game we all love.
I ask you to sign this petition, and with it, vow to not attend any games the first week of the 2011 season (whenever it begins), vow to not follow any games by any form of media (be it TV, radio or internet) and vow to not buy any NFL merchandise during this same said first week of the 2011 season.
I understand, the task at hand is not an easy one—I have personally watched every single Denver Broncos game since 1995—but it is a necessary evil, a way for the fans to take some of the power back and make the NFL feel us as a group of human beings that has grown tired and disgusted with the egregious greed going on in the league today.
So please, take a second of your time, decide whether or not you're dedicated to boycott the first week of the 2011 NFL season and take action; turn off the tube, stay away from the ballparks and make sure the owners, players and commissioner all understand we, the fans, deserve a voice in these matters.
Update: The two sides, and their lawyers, came together today and both argued to the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals in St. Louis that their side is right. The NFL wants the stay on the lockout to become permanent, while the players hope the three-judge panel sees it the same way Judge Susan Nelson did in April when she lifted the lockout because it hurt both sides too much to continue to lockout. And she argued it hurt the game.
But just because the two sides made their arguments today, don't expect a ruling to come back immediately, or even soon. The court, which is made up of two members that side usually with the NFL and one that sides with the players more often, is expected to take anywhere from one week to one month to come back with their ruling (which will likely be a continued stay on the lockout).
The point here is, training camps are supposed to start up in early-mid July, and with this continued lockout ruling coming only weeks before their scheduled openings, the season would almost certainly be impacted at that point. Even if preseason games aren't missed, valuable training time already has been, many players could be out of playing shape and more injuries could occur. But that's a best-case scenario. More likely, some or all of the preseason could go unplayed, and even regular season games could be cancelled if negotiations continue to go so slowly.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being the CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman is a Denver Nuggets and NBA Featured Columnist for bleacherreport.com, the Colorado/Utah Regional Correspondent for stadiumjourney.com, a weekly contributor to milehighhoops.com, a contributor to milehighreport.com writing on the Denver Broncos and a contributor to Blake Street Bulletin, part of ESPN's SweetSpot Blog Network.
Rich also manages K-Biz and Beezy, a Colorado-based rap group.
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