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NFL's Players Want Their Cake and Eat It, Too

October 03, 1987

I am a staunch football fan and have been reading all of the articles concerning the strike of NFL players. I have read the attacks and counter-attacks made by Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Assn., and Jack Donlan, chief negotiator of the NFL Management Council, and have come to the conclusion that the choice is not one of who is right but rather one of who is less wrong.

Clearly both sides must bear responsibility for this mess, but I really have a difficult time appreciating the players' side. It is true that the average salary for the average NFL players is $230,000 for six months' work. Although I find this to be a tremendous sum of money, I do not want to deny them their opportunity.

What I find so upsetting is that the players want to have their cake and eat it too. The players want the ability to earn astronomical sums of money based on individual skills and the ability to negotiate on an individual basis. Then these moguls hide in a union, looking for still more benefits through a collective bargaining process. There is something wrong with their thinking.

It is true the owners make a great deal of money. It wasn't always that way and the owners have taken all the risks. Now the players want a "partnership" with the owners. Where were the players before the big TV contracts? Did they ever volunteer to take a pay cut in the tough years?

Unions were formed to protect people, to give them a reasonable wage and decent working conditions. I'm sure Samuel Gompers never intended the unions to be used to benefit millionaires.

It's been said a hundred times, the real losers are the fans. I also believe the real culprits are the players.

ROBERT FRANCES

Woodland Hills

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