Albert Haynesworth “made almost $35 million in just 20 games for Washington.”
An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of republics.
Paul Daugherty, columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, hits the nail on the head.
Doc: Do you care when NFL’s here?
Or are you shrugging, as I am
6:40 PM, Jul. 20, 2011
Apparently, the NFL lockout is nearing an end. There will be football. It can’t be helped.
Are you smiling?
Does the prospect of the regularly scheduled NFL thrill you? Or are you shrugging, as I am?
We figured things would be settled as soon as losing money became possible. If work doesn’t commence very soon, the fake games of August will be in jeopardy. Owners couldn’t forsake the chance to gouge their customers for full-price tickets featuring half-baked football. Can’t have that. Can’t have billionaires losing a few dollars.
As we crossed the months since early March, dozing through legal maneuverings while trying desperately to avoid nausea listening to owners, players and the commissioner make their cases, one word kept circling my head like the Goodyear blimp:
Contempt for owners, rich socialists, some of whom were born into a system that guarantees their wealth, regardless of their competence. Contempt for players, who celebrate their great, good fortune by getting arrested. Contempt for a culture that’s OK with paying $50 million to a rookie quarterback, while laying off school teachers.
Through all of this, did the league and its employees have any idea just how out of touch they all were? Or is the NFL such a powerful entity that it doesn’t really matter?
They’re arguing over dividing $9 billion a year. You’re wondering whether to get new tires or have the furnace fixed.
There will be lots of fans stepping more lightly when the deal is finally done which, by most accounts, should occur within the next several days. These people aren’t concerned with the mechanics of the situation, or the arrogance. All they know is, come Sunday, they’ll be watching football. The carpet’s all paid for, God bless the TV.
Fire up the Weber. Where’s my Ickey Woods jersey?
They just like to watch football. Leave the complicated stuff to the lawyers. Relax and enjoy yourself. It’s just a game.
Is that you?
And yet. . .
Rich people spit-balling over money is not an inspirational experience. It’s really not a good time for them to be rattling their jewelry. Anyone else notice that? I could think of a billion reasons I feel no joy for the end of this little Greed-o-rama, but we don’t have that much time, and sickness isn’t my preferred state. So let’s go with just a few:
• The economy still stinks. Unemployment remains above 9 percent and that doesn’t count the folks who have stopped looking for work. Everyone knows someone who’s not working. A member of my family has been laid off two jobs in the past 18 months and recently had the hours for Job 3 cut from 40 a week to 24. Good and decent co-workers of mine have gotten the axe. And I’m supposed to care about NFL owners and players?
• This isn’t exactly the noble working man, fighting to feed his family. Guys making the NFL minimum $325,000 salary are sweating their COBRA payments? Really?
• The Bengals. This has been the worst offseason in team history. Thanks to Adam Jones, Marvin White and Ced Benson, it just keeps straying. How excited are you for what is to come?
I wrote months ago that the best thing for the Bengals would be no season, and that was before Benson’s second arrest in a year. If commissioner Roger Goodell is allowed to impose discipline for offenses, alleged and proven, that occurred during the lockout, the Bengals could be looking at an extended suspension of their most important offensive player.
A lost season would have given the Bengals a break from what is going to be a backbreaking year. It would have given angry Bengals fans – a majority these days, it seems – a break from the Bengals.
Perhaps, a lost season would have given everyone involved an education in what it means to be humble and to struggle to make a living. That wouldn’t be so bad.
Now, Goodell can proceed with one of his stated goals: To build more new stadiums. That is: To try to extort more public money from taxpayers and travelers, using fear as a weapon. If you don’t build it, they will leave. Goodell’s predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, was expert at this.
Goodell wants to “grow’’ the league. Only, the league is already too big for its hat. A downsizing, in all respects, might have been helpful. That’s not going to happen. Pity.
3:53 PM on July 20, 2011
In general, I don’t care if the Bengals are here or not. I’d prefer the Bengals be a good team and would like to watch/follow them but they give no good reason to do so.
Cultures don’t pay rookie quarterbacks or teachers. Organizations do. I don’t hold any contempt for the culture. Life is too short to worry if others are making more than me. I can get in my car and, in a short period of time see and do an incredible array of amazing things so it’s pretty hard to hold contempt for that.
I lost my last job and started my own business and am doing alright. This culture makes it pretty easy and inexpensive to start a business and have your own stab at the American dream. If Mike Brown makes a hundred million and the NFL makes or loses billions, I still have my chance to live my dream and they really don’t impact what I make.
Your fellow employees were likely laid off due to a dramatic shift in the manner in which the public gets its news as well as how and where advertisers spend their ad dollars. The writing has been on the wall for the newspaper industry for quite some time and it’s not withering because other people are making money. It is what it is.
We can always count on one constant and that is change.
3:59 PM on July 20, 2011
Couldn’t agree with you more Doc. Although I grew up in New England, a transplanted Pats fan who adopted the Bengals when moving here, I stopped attending Bengals games 2 years ago when it became obvious that the ownership doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about delivering a quality product, just putting more money in his own pocket. I dropped NFL Sunday ticket last year when they raised the price yet again. I’m just not willing to feed the beast anymore. If the Bengals are blacked out, oh well…usually there’s another game on Fox. And if not, there are plenty of things for me to catch up on around the house. And there’s always college ball on Saturday to satisfy the need!
4:30 PM on July 20, 2011
Love the Bengals. You either a fan or your not – whatever. You don’t get it because you are closet (not so much) Steeler fan. Again whatever.
You are for the “nati” or your not. You get what it means to be from a parrish and you get why your high school matters. You get why we love Huggins and why we hate Kelly or you don’t. I don’t get why you live here or write for our paper but again whatever. It is easy to root for a winner but not as rewarding. It is easy to be a hater.
4:46 PM on July 20, 2011
Football is America, and I’d argue its more important than baseball for the average American. The NFL is an escape for many of us who work hard and just get by. Without football there are many places that would simply fall apart, places here in Cincinnati. The greed and the disputes are not the game, and honestly who cares, its all politics. Once the whistle blows and the ball is kicked all that matters is the game. A beautifully brutal game. I leave you with a poem from Ohio native James Wright, hopefully his words will help wipe away your malice towards the players and league.
Autumn Begins In Martins Ferry, Ohio
by James Wright
In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.
All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.
6:07 PM on July 20, 2011
The NFL was never here. They have professionals, Cincinnati have Browns.
6:34 PM on July 20, 2011
Simply, no, not until Mike Brown is out of Cincinnati..
7:26 PM on July 20, 2011
I was looking forward to taking this year off of what is surely going to be a long and agonizing season. I think every Bengals fan is looking at the news of the lockout ending with contempt. The only one celebrating an end to the lockout in Cincy is going to be the Brown family as they will have new greenbacks to count.
7:40 PM on July 20, 2011
High School football is the best deal around. Who needs the NFL? Not me. There is grass to mow and leaves to rake on Sunday afternoons.
8:13 PM on July 20, 2011
I gotta tell ya I was really hoping the Bengals wouldn’t play this year. They are such a downer to the city mainly because of Mike Brown. I would rather have no team, root for the Colts or Browns, then continue to have MB hold this city hostage.
8:37 PM on July 20, 2011
Finally, I can agree with Paul Daughtery about something…I could care less about the NFL and its greedy owners, players and league officials.
9:46 PM on July 20, 2011
The Bengals have made pro football about as much fun as going to the dentist for a filling.
10:20 PM on July 20, 2011
Why don’t you finally go the full monty and really lay some naked aggression at the feet of The Family and encourage the whole city, county, and region to BOYCOTT THE BENGALS!!! Everytime you talk about little mikey, you always seem to equivocate just a bit by calling him a “nice and loyal guy”. All the evidence points to the contrary. What is so nice about a gin blossomed pig faced grifter? What is so charming about a tyrant who is a “loyal guy” to his necessary stooges? Heck Doc, Hitler was loyal to his guys too. Whoopty Doo!
As to the bit about the commish looking for so more witless rubes to vote the NFL some more corporate welfare stadiums, why don’t you make it a point to tar and feather the chap by emailing this column along with a link to the WSJ story that, paraphrasing here, called the PBS deal, “the worst deal ever struck between a local government and a private entity”? to whatever city the commish campaigns(sic) in?
Finally, I bet a least one of your amigos would still have his/her position if they had the gravitas to an investigative piece about the most obvious APPEARANCE OF IMPROPIETY ever seen with brazen offer of employment with the bengals for Bob Bedinghaus after we voted his sorry arse out of office.
PS How bout a new slogan, Garrison Kelior style….. “Cincinnati where the ink is red, and all the journalists are yellow, and all the Browns are in the black…
10:23 PM on July 20, 2011
I don’t agree with much Doc writes, but I couldn’t have described my feelings over the past few weeks any better.
The contempt that the NFL owners have shown the fans is nauseating. We built and paid for their stadiums, we buy their tickets, we buy their jerseys, we treat them like they are doing us a favor by having football. They increase ticket prices, year after year after year. They develop new ways to get more money like personal seat licenses, where you pay $500+ for the privelage of paying more to actually get in and watch a game in those seats you licensed (and built and paid for). They want $400 a year for Sunday Ticket. They charge you $8 for a beer and $40 to park, all because they can. When they decide they want more, they shut everything down so they can get a larger slice of a $9 billion pie.
And what are we supposed to do? Get excited that this is going to start up again? I was thinking about taking my Sundays this season and doing something with someone who would appreciate me.
10:38 PM on July 20, 2011
ESPN would have you believe that the world will cease to exsist if there is no NFL season. If they play, yeah I’ll watch cause I’m a sports fan. But if they take the year off, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.