Why I Side with the League Against the NFLPA

The labor dispute between the NFL Players Association and the league is interesting; if this were any other labor market, this would have been resolved long ago. Employees have bargaining power only when their labor is specialized, and thus only when the demand for their services is relatively inelastic. This contrasts with auto workers and coal miners, where they can be replaced with relative ease.

In the case of the NFL, I don’t see how labor (players) have so much bargaining power; yes, these are the greatest players on Earth, but are they the only ones that can entertain us? Thousands of players can play football at a ‘very high’ level; it’s just that there are so few teams with a relatively low amount of players at each position, that only the top 30 QB’s in the world, for example, will get to play. What I’m proposing, is that the demand for NFL programming is inelastic, that we want it at whatever cost and at whatever quality. Think about it; we watch college football, despite the varying quality year after year.

A scenario; imagine if all of the current NFL players went on strike, and the league continued without them. You’d have the second tier of players (the lower-tiered players gain nothing by staying with the union, and will break the picket first), and teams will continue to draft the country’s top talent every year thereafter. These college players have ZERO opportunity cost; that is, they have no other alternatives that pay even close to playing in the NFL. They will gladly sign up for the draft.

Do I want to watch an NFL season without Manning, Peterson, Revis, and Mathews? Hell-to-the-fucking-no. But if we can set a precedent here that deters future labor unions from periodically threatening to cancel the season, I am on board. I love my football, and I love my Jets, with or without Revis.

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