Friday, April 22, 2011

Marvin Miller and NFL Labor issues

This is a great interview with Marvin Miller, the former head of the baseball player's union and one of the most important and influential people in the the last 50 years of sports. I agree with him wholeheartedly about the NFL Labor situation.

Money quote:

I don't think the public understands what's going on. I don't think the media, by and large, does, either. For example, from President Obama down, we get these clich├ęs. "Oh, it's billionaires arguing with millionaires." Those are not the issues. What are the issues? No one is explaining it to the public. Not so long ago, the National Football League didn't know where its next dollar was coming from. It's now a money powerhouse like we've never seen. A $9 billion-a-year industry, and the top is nowhere to be seen yet. Its revenue is well in excess of baseball or hockey or basketball. They're sitting on top of the world..... And then, despite the $9 billion a year that comes in -- and every indication that there's more coming up -- they come and say we're going to have your salaries cut and we want to increase the amount of work you do, increase the season. In addition to being a bunch of hogs, it means that all the lip service about worrying about the disabilities is hogwash.

I also disagree with him about the Salary Cap. He may be right about it from a union perspective, but it seems clear to me that caps have helped keep the leagues healthy, especially the NFL, which results in more prosperity for all. But what do I know? I hate baseball's uneven distribution of resources and the titled playing field that results, and I hear people complain about it all the time, but it doesn't seem to have hurt the overall revenue flow or popularity of the sport. Red sox fans loved to complain about the Yankees and all their riches, but they sure embraced it quickly when they became Yankees North.