I Have a Gripe

February 7, 2011

NFL Players Union vs. Owners: The Ultimate Nonsensical Showdown

While the football season is over by less than one day, reports on the news about collective bargaining have already begun. Some are already even talking about a lockout for the next season. I’m sorry, but if you ask me, both sides need their heads smacked together like Moe.

So most of these team owners are billionaires and most of the players are millionaires, plus the  millions they make in endorsements. The NFL wants to extend the season by two games, the players want more money (big shock) and the owners don’t want to share (again, big shock).

So, let’s make the assumption that everyone doesn’t play nice and they go to the lockout. Who is this really going to hurt? The guys who sell the hot dogs, the people who take the tickets and all the other people with jobs related to the games, but don’t play in them. I seriously doubt that any of these individuals are millionaires.

So what is this really all about in my opinion? One word: Greed! The median salary for an “average” player is roughly $700,000. The median salary for the “average Joe” is $46,000.

Also, let’s think about the prices of tickets for a game. In 2010, Giants tickets increased 26 percent to $111 for an average ticket and Jets increased 31.8 percent to $114 on average according to an article on the New York Post website. So, when a father wants to take their child to a game, when you count up two tickets, parking, a couple of hot dogs and sodas and maybe some kind of souvenir, we are up around $500 for the day. Seriously, who can really afford that?

So while all the boys posture for position, I suggest they remember who their fans are and what it costs for them to attend a game. Ultimately, if they go to lockout, it will hurt the NFL big time. In today’s society of high unemployment and making tough family budget decisions, I think the fans will retaliate and just like the last lockout,  it will take a long time to win back the fans.

Trust me, the NFL, the owners, the players; they will gain sympathy from no one. They all need a dose of reality.

October 16, 2010

Football, Loyalty and Perfection

OK, I’ll admit, many may see this as a post discussing something somewhat, well, silly, compared to the major issues of today. However, trust me when I tell you, read to the end and you will see there is a message here.

I love professional football. I grew up watching football in a household with Giants fans, Pittsburgh fans, Houston (Oilers, that is) fans, Redskins fans and San Francisco fans (me). Sunday was an awesome day in my house. Grandma’s macaroni and fried meatballs, my cousins over, playing gin with my Uncle Tony, and of course, football. It was a great day.

Those were the days of Staubach, Bradshaw, Montana, Swann, Payton and Rice. Whenever I play the “Pick Six” in New Jersey, I actually have a set of numbers that are all the jersey numbers of my favorite players. I remember watching “The Steel Curtain” and loving every minute of it.

Now, why am I telling you all this, you are probably wondering at this point? It is simple, these players, and those teams, represented two things to me; the constant pursuit of perfection and loyalty. They worked as a team and not as an individual just trying to increase their numbers so they could negotiate a better contract. There was no such thing as collective bargaining and there was respect for your coach. You started your NFL career with a team and you ended your career with that team. I mean, seriously, can you imaging Bradshaw playing in Minnesota? Payton in Buffalo? Never. Period.

When Montana left San Francisco to go to Kansas City, I was not just mad at San Francisco management for treating a player that defined the meaning of excellence, but I was mad at him. He was a 49er. How could he ever be part of any other team? It killed me. Over time, I got over it, but it still killed me. This is my favorite player of all time. He was single-handedly the reason why I was, and always will be, a San Francisco fan. Just like back then with the players, fans stick with their team through good times and bad.

Players today could learn by taking a page from these classic players. They believed in teamwork and loyalty. They played for the love of the game. They were aware that their actions off the field were a reflection on not just them, but their team. Everyone is entitled to make a good living, but the showboating and bragging that goes on today and the attention they require is shameful. Look at that nonsense with Darrelle Revis this year. Shameful.

These players taught important life lessons, not just lessons on the field.

See? I told you there was a point. I hope I made it.


May 19, 2010

I’m Sorry Mr. Cavuto, You’re Wrong

Let’ me start out by saying I am a long-admirer of Neil Cavuto.  He is both incredibly articulate and intelligent. He has overcome multiple health problems with grace and honesty. He is certainly someone of personal and professional accomplishment and a great role model.

On the way home each day, I listen to Your World on satellite radio. Each show ends with a personal commentary by Cavuto called Common Sense. I will say I agree with his point of view on politics, business and every day life more than a majority of the time. However, today, I must say I was very disappointed with his commentary about the “thin skinned teachers of New Jersey.”

He spoke of merit pay and compared it to other jobs that receive pay increases based on job performance. First off, if you, Mr. Cavuto, have received fair increases based on your performance, good for you. Like most of the people I know, that is not normally the case and has not often been my personal experience. Most increases in the private sector (in my experiences) are more related to playing the corporate game, sucking up to management and other under-handed office-politic maneuvers. While I have, on rare occasion, like others, received fair increases for performance, it is as I said earlier – well, rare.

Now let’s look at the public sector, like teachers. You said that teachers should be held to the same standard. That teachers are doing their students a disservice otherwise “that when they grow up, they either perform on their job, or they loose their job.”

Let’s think about that statement for a moment. I know many teachers who try to teach values like these in their classrooms. That there are winners and sadly, losers, in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, you are forgetting one important factor – the parents. The parents that often bully teachers into overlooking their child’s poor behavior, half-hearted homework assignments and failed tests. The parents that often make excuses for their children. The parents are the ones that are creating this “touchy, feely” environment today. Where, to quote you from an earlier commentary, “every kid gets a trophy for simply showing up.” The parents that are teaching them no matter what, someone else will fix it for you.

You also used the example of “the CEO that seeks his company’s stock swoon, then his corner office soon gone.” Well, we both know, if the CEO’s company’s stock declines, the CEO will get a golden parachute and continue to live the good life. So, this is not the best analogy either.

I completely agree that teachers should be held accountable, but how do you handle merit pay? More standardized testing? We all know how great that works. What about fine and performing arts? How do you determine if an art teacher is doing a good job? If the kids are all Picasso’s? And what about music? Is the music teacher only doing a good job is the child can sing like Pavarotti or play cello like Yo Yo Ma? Last time I checked, there’s no standardized test for fine and performing arts, so I guess that will continue to be decimated by the public school program.

You tell teachers, “this is the real world.” Well, I say teachers know better than most what the real world is. Teachers are expected to repeatedly do more with less, often purchase supplies for their classroom with their own money and are regularly the butt-end of jokes and abuse by people who have no idea what it is to manage a classroom or, God forbid, protect students in a Columbine-like attack.

Teachers know all too well, what the real world is all about Mr. Cavuto. On this one, you’re wrong.

February 7, 2010

The Price of Fame

Filed under: Finances,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 9:13 pm
Tags: , , ,

As the majority of the U.S. stops today for an “unofficial holiday” called the Super Bowl, one must stop and wonder what are these players really worth.

Peyton Manning has one year left on his contract and speculation is already starting about what his extension will be worth. A signing bonus of $50 million? A possible $22 million per year? Really? And that doesn’t count any endorsements he may have.

Now I’m not one to say we should limit anyone’s potential to earn a living, however isn’t this a little excessive? This is a big part of why the average fan can’t afford to attend a game. I watched on the news as senior citizens who have had Giants or Jets season tickets for decades are forced to give them up because in addition to the cost of the tickets for the games, there is now a “Personal Seat License” (PSL) with a price tag in the multiple thousands. This is why you see men in suits and ties at games sitting in corporate-owned seats instead of a father taking a son to his first football or baseball game.

And then there is the regularly reported embarrassing behavior of some of these players. Whether they like it or not, they are role models. Yet we hear over and over again about players getting arrested for weapons possession, domestic violence and more. We were all sickened by Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, yet in his first year of eligibility, he’s snatched up by Philadelphia. Obviously, there are a lot of players who lead decent lives, work to give back something to their communities and stay under the radar of poor personal behavior.

I say the heroes and role models are the people we meet every day. The fire fighters, police officers and teachers. Those that are in the military putting their lives on the line keeping our country safe. The parents who work multiple jobs and sacrifice day after day so their children can have a better life than them.

Sports reporters talk about “the pressure” of the game. What about the pressure of going to a job you hate every day making way less than you should? So I ask while you watch the game today, remember who the real heroes and role models are and what they should be earning versus a guy who throws a ball.

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