Not that many years ago, professional athletes, including the biggest stars in the NFL, were worker bees, not unlike auto workers, masons, teamsters, and school teachers. They received low salaries, needed second jobs in the off seasons to support their families, endured poor working conditions, and had few, if any, benefits.
The development of players’ unions, that’s what. Unions are responsible for unimaginable salary levels, in all major sports, in particular the NFL. Unions are responsible for safer equipment, for health and pension benefits, for free agency rights, and for shared endorsement fees.
Without unions, and without collective bargaining rights, NFL players would still be poorly paid employees, tied to the teams that drafted them for many years, with equipment far inferior to what is used today that is designed to prevent serious injury, with no pensions, no lifetime health care, no ongoing endorsement monies (except for the very few greatest names) no first class travel, no grievance procedures, no bargaining power.
The Super Bowl will be played in a few hours in Indiana, home of a miserable right-wing zealot governor who as part of the republican wave of busting union rights in state after state across the country, just orchestrated his passage through the gop controlled Indiana state legislature of the end to union rights and collective bargaining in Indiana.
Citizens of Indiana no longer have the rights to fight for the types of benefits that NFL players enjoy – the rights to bargain for livable wages, health benefits, pensions, safe working conditions – that NFL players now enjoy BECAUSE of unions and collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining and union rights averted an NFL lockout a scant few months ago. How quickly the players forget.
Where is the NFL Players’ Association. Silent. Mute. Apparently castrated.
The Players’ UNION should have organized a boycott and REFUSED to play the super bowl in Indiana.