July 25 brought a close to the National Football League (N.F.L.) lockout as Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith finally found a comprise. Cheers echoed throughout the nation as fans can now discuss free agency, trades, and week one matchups for the upcoming 2011-2012 season.

Several variables led to the compromise but one noticeable—underrated—component was the power of the American people. Many fans pressured owners and players by protesting outside stadiums and on the news, showing strong disdain for the lockout. But nothing compared to event that took place with the N.F.L. draft on April 21 as TV ratings dropped by 4 million (compared to 2010), showing where the true power of the lockout lies. It’s clear the American people demand their God-given right for football and won’t settle for anything less.

But football is more than a game for the United States. Thousands, if not millions, depend financially on the N.F.L. every year. Here is some perspective. The 2010 season brought in more than 9 billion dollars of overall revenue. With no labor agreement, each N.F.L. city sacrifices more than 3,000 jobs and 160 million dollars (4.9 billion total). Let us not forget 28 out of 31 stadiums came from public funding (taxes)—most still needing ticket sales to pay off debt.  This last March, rumors speculated the city of Indianapolis, expected to host the 2012 Super Bowl, would lose over 200 million dollars.

All this said, a new deal was reached and N.F.L. football is officially back

One can only imagine the possibilities if we had such passion for alleviating other problems. 3.5 million Americans—including 1.3 million children—are still homeless and the unemployment rate hovers at 9.2%. We are still at war in Iraq and hold over 14 trillion dollars in debt.  The list goes on and on. How can we raise these issues to the level of universal concern comparable to the N.F.L lockout? How do we tap into that “it will get done or else” mentality to help the less fortunate? Perhaps this all comes down to a fundamental question: Where do our values lie? 

Comments

Anonymous | 7/29/2011 - 3:46pm

Mr. Avery,

There are essentially two competing philosophies on how to alleviate the problems you describe. The average person hasn't a clue about it and follows the debate based on sound bites in the media.  Consequently when they eventually vote, if they do, it will not be based on a clear understanding of each philosophy and how they work but for other often contradictory reasons.
 
And to make matters more complicated, each philosophy has hundreds of variants with the not too infrequent occurrence that a variant of one of the two philosophies looks like a variant of the other.  For that reason, even with one's heart in the right place, one's decisions can actually work to support just the opposite of what they want.  Football is much easier.  And did you notice that the veterans voted to take a bigger slice of the pie for themselves.