Cowboys-Giants Tonight, Steelers-Packers 2011, Referees Today

I’m not a huge NFL fan but was looking forward to this season. My team (49ers) has been bad for a long time and, they are finally poised to return to greatness.

But I’m following ESPN’s Jeff MacGregor’s powerful reasons for why we all should be boycotting the NFL for locking out the referees. It’s a classic ‘we are the 99 percent’ moment with referees making about $8,700 a game, and teams like the Giants and Cowboys who played tonight being worth about $2 billion each. The league’s revenue last year was just under $4 billion. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, if the owners paid the referees what they wanted, it would be 0.2 percent of the league’s revenue.

You’d think NFL fans, a far more working class population than the fans of other professional sports (I’ve heard this a lot, at least), and a league that had a Superbowl between two big labor unions, the Steelers and Packers, just two years ago, would be more sympathetic. I’m waiting….Are Wisconsin’s unions going to protest the next Packer game?

But more importantly, the players are a real disappointment. They got locked out last year. Where’s the solidarity? It’s too late if they are waiting to see how well the replacement refs do. That’s not the point.

When we think about how little money it costs to pay the referees, why are owners fighting this so hard? It’s a bigger question because we see this everywhere. Owners are willing to pay a lot more money to fight unions than how much it’d cost to pay them. What’s that all about?

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