For all intents and purposes, the NFL lockout is over -- all that remains are formalities. Players will soon be back to work, owners can start making plans for the $200 million they won't be losing with a sacrificed week of the preseason, and the league as a whole will operate as if they didn't just spend 130 days holding a sharp stick to your eye.
That's good. I'm happy about that.
Cause for celebration, though? I don't see it as that, exactly.
The NFL has, for a long time, been something that the public treasures, nay, depends on -- for entertainment, for distraction, for a reason to spend time with friends or loved ones. Some people, like stadium workers and team employees, depend on it in more tangible ways.
An argument over money threatened to destroy all that.
Now, that might not be a tragedy. It's not some huge societal failing. We'd all survive without football, and everyone would be just fine. Enjoying NFL football is no one's birthright, and it's a private enterprise, run by profit-seeking men, none of whom are obligated to do the right thing by you, me, or anything other than their big fat bank accounts.
But none of them were going broke, either. Whatever the financial discrepancies that caused the lockout, there were still zero NFL owners who couldn't afford an appetizer and dessert at Denny's tonight. They were a group of men who had a product that the public loved and it wasn't hurting them to keep providing that thing to the public.
It seems to me that the decent thing to do in that situation is to keep providing that well-loved product. That's radically oversimplified, of course, but that doesn't make it wrong. I wouldn't expect any business man or woman to agree to lose money just because it's more convenient for me that way, but that wasn't the case here. No one was losing money. Everyone involved was still making giant piles of it.
Anyway, they figured it all out now, and we're back on track to keep enjoying this thing that we love. As I see it, we're back to where we should be. Getting back to where we should be, to me, is not a reason to pop the bubbly. Maybe it gets me to stop calling the people involved the most vile names I can think of, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.
Imagine someone built a big, beautiful, magical road in a place that had a crippling traffic problem. Ordinarily, it takes you 90 minutes to drive to work, and 90 more to drive home. And then someone builds this amazing private road, and it helps millions and millions of people travel more efficiently. It's a private road, and you have to pay a toll to use it, but it's worth it to you. It gives you more time with your family, less stress, and generally, a happier life. It does the same for millions and millions of people. You, and many others, come to depend on it.
Then, one day, the person that created and operates that road tells you he's going to shut it down. You ask the man why he would do such a thing -- is the road hurting someone? Is he losing money? No, he tells you, he just feels like shutting it down because, while it is making him money, he feels like he might be able to squeeze a little bit more money out of it, if he'd just agree to deprive a whole lot of people of something they really enjoy.
Eventually, he finds a way to get his money, and he re-opens his road. Yay for him?
I don't feel like applauding that behavior. I'm glad it's over, but my personal celebration will be pretty much non-existent.
There was a fight, and that fight's over now, but it's not like good triumphed over evil here. This wasn't a fight where someone was fighting for a moral cause -- it was just a fight. When it's over, no one really won anything. You just kind of look around, observe the damage done and the amount of blood lost, and you move on with what you're left with.
That's how I see this. Bring on the free agent bonanza, and I'll try to pretend no one just pointed a sharp stick at my eye for four months. That's the best I can do.