Buried deep in an excellent column by PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE writer Ed Bouchette, a piece we found via PROFOOTBALLTALK, is one of the best articulated attacks on the NFL in the economic recession, and it’s completely cogent. According to Bouchette, NFL teams are laying off workers to hedge their profits, not because they need to in order to avoid losing money.
(Is this team losing money? Not a chance.)
He’s absolutely right. If teams like the Redskins were really feeling the crunch of the recession, they wouldn’t be spending $100 million on Albert Haynesworth. Instead, the NFL as a whole is trying to paint a dire economic picture as it heads into a standoff with the NFL Players Association because of the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.
Here’s the best snippet of Bouchette’s rant, which is easily the most on-point critique of the NFL’s status heading into another year of economic doom and gloom.
By using the economy as an excuse, the most successful pro league in sports has set a poor example for others. They’re throwing people out of work, not because they’re losing money but because, at best, they fear the future — although it won’t stop the owners from staying in $500-a-night rooms at their meetings on the California coast later this month.
That is precisely the kind of thinking the country does not need now, and if we’re getting it from one of the nation’s thriving businesses, what can anyone else expect? Instead of leading in tough times, the NFL has cowered.
Ouch. That’s a burn, NFL. And you know what? Given the fact that teams like the Redskins are firing secretaries and media staff, setting them loose in the worst job market in years, the league deserves it. End of story.