Don’t Get Caught Up In The Smoke Screen

The best advice I can possibly give anyone is don’t get caught up in the smoke screen. What I mean by this is that you cannot believe the spin and propaganda being projected to take your eye off the ball and what really matters. Companies, organizations and individuals will do this all the time to focus your attention on something that really doesn’t matter. They make it the focal point, when typically it is irrelevant to reality. It’s the same technique a magician would use to get you to look away while they are tricking you into believe that what they are performing is actually magic. It’s called a trick for a reason.

It happens all the time when a statement is made that gets you thinking in one direction instead of on what the real meat of the matter is. Take the current NFL lockout, for example. It’s laughable that the Players Union (NFLPA) would not be considered a union just because they filed papers stating so. Just because they say they are not a union, doesn’t mean they are not acting in a unified way and as a union. The NFLPA, no matter what they call themselves, depending on what suits their cause best, is in fact a union. It’s a shame that any appointed judge would allow the smoke screen tactic of filing for decertification to be entertained as anything but a sham.

I love having conversations with people who say it’s the NFL owners’ fault that the players turned to the courts, because the owners are greedy and they invoked the lockout. The lockout occurred because the past CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) favored the players when it came to compensation, and the owners can’t operate within that former compensation program. If the players thought that they were getting too little, you know they would have thrown up their collective hands in objection and went on strike.

We have to look past the fact that we are fans of the players and start thinking about being fans of the game. The NFLPA would have you believe that the players are the victims in this particular situation. How? How are players the victims? If they were victims they would never have agreed to continue playing under the former CBA. Why would they want things to be the same if they were unhappy with the way they were? It’s a smokescreen to position the players as victims.

The owners of the NFL teams are asking for an adjustment in compensation in probably the worst economic times we have seen in our lifetime. In the past two years, I believe many companies have made similar requests and most employees have accepted the change in their compensation structure rather than lose their jobs, even union workers in other industries.

We have all seen the economy tank, and I’m sure everyone is feeling the pinch in one way or another. I think it would be fair to assume that health care, operating costs, and everything to do with running a team and a stadium has increased. Just seeing gas prices topple $4 per gallon, we all could agree that costs have gone up.  So, it could be a bit presumptuous of anyone to say that the owners do not have just cause to want to change the compensation structure of the players due to changes in the economics of running a team. The owners obviously believe strongly enough that they would prefer to close the doors than to operate under the current financial structure.

If you owned a company and it was more conducive for you to shut the doors than remain open, would anyone blame you? If the owner at the corner bakery thought he’d be better off shutting the doors and becoming an accountant, you might be unhappy because you enjoy their bread, but how could you blame him? Now don’t get me wrong and get all crazy, I’m not suggesting it’s remotely the same. I’m not even saying that the owners have any desire to shut down the NFL. Let’s call this what it is and check the propaganda at the door. This is absolutely a game of chicken. The two sides want more for their own side and each wants the leverage to be able to gain more concessions from the other.

Can we agree that there are just two sides positioning themselves for the betterment of a deal? We don’t have to be happy about it. We can be pissed that there is no enjoyment in our off-season. But we have to face facts, neither side is the victim. Neither side is fully right. Neither side is completely wrong. There is only one solution – check the spin at the door, have all the lawyers take a vacation and let’s get down to business and a meeting of the minds. As the saying goes, there are three sides to every story. Let’s get past the smoke screens and get to the middle ground.

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  1. Well said, Lou. Especially the aspect of removing the lawyers – who get fat fees regardless!

    1. Lou Imbriano says:

      Thanks Steve. The lawyers absolutely love the “smokescreen” ~ the more murky, the longer the can draw it out. My best.

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