Well it's Monday, and we've known since Friday that the owners have "officially" locked-out the players. Of course much has been said in the media by both sides, but we as the fans (the real losers in this ordeal) need to take a very critical look as to why we're hear in the first place.
Two years ago, the owners attempted to lock-out the players, but that action was rejected by the courts, and business continued. It would seem that any time the players have needed anything to get done, they've had to resort to litigation (just ask Reggie White).
Now fast forward to 2010 & 2011. The owners and the NFL asserted that they were running out of money, and needed a bigger share from the players to continually sustain the league. The owners and the NFL also began to campaign for a longer regular season from 16 to 18 games. However they waited "too-late" to substantiate what they would do in return for the players since it's the players who were putting their physical well-being on the line with a prolonged regular season.
The owners also (as I've mentioned before) failed to comply with "total-fiscal-transparency" to show that they were "truly" in need to ask for a bigger share of the pie. The owners also went out to lunch when it came to seriously addressing the players retirement and medical benefits as well. To me, if these owners "really" understood the physical dangers every player faces in each game, this would not be an argument. Plus, the NFL would have "guaranteed contracts" like Baseball and Basketball. No, (like Marv Albert would say) "It Has Come To This"....
On the other-hand, I don't believe that the players have helped their situation (from a public relations stand-point) by enlisting DeMaurice Smith, who by profession is a prosecutor. Prosecutors make their living making life miserable for criminals, and putting them away. Have the owners so "indicted" themselves to the point that the players felt it necessary to appoint a "razor-sharp" litigator like Smith to get what they want? If so, that's mistake number "1".
Mistake number "2", is the very manner in which Smith came "charging" out of the gate by referring to the negotiations as "war". Smith has also come across the fans as very "unlikeable" to say the least. Honestly at this point I don't see much difference between Smith and the NFL's general counsel Jeff Pash. These negotiations were "doomed" for the court room from "day-one" PERIOD! So let's stop kidding ourselves...
On the other hand, I still give very "high-marks" to Bears Ownership for their continual commitment to doing their best to make this as easy for the fans as possible. Just today, the Chicago Sun Times released an article that stated that the Bears would provide "refunds" to the fans for any missed games this year (see article).
If anything Bear Fans, we should rally behind our players, and ownership in hope for the best. I firmly believe (even though I've been one of this ownerships harshest critics) that the Bears organization did not want this for it's players or the fans. Ted Phillips has shown on a "daily" basis that the organization will "stay-the-course" and be "diligent in getting a championship back in the Windy City despite this labor dispute.
GO BEARS GO, GO TED GO!!!!