NFLPA Super Bowl Ad, Video Courtesy NFLPA and Third Story Films.
A year ago, the large majority of people across the nation would never have pictured the NFL when they heard the term “lockout”. As we near the summer offseason, the debate over whether or not the NFL will exist next season intensifies with each passing moment. The problem lies in the disputatious labor negotiations between the owners and the NFL players. The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) has become increasingly more active and has been featured constantly in sports media in the past few months. The main problem for the NFLPA throughout this negotiation period has been the fact that most fans side with the owners, opposing the views of the professional athletes they usually admire. Most fans take the stance of “I would play for free”, and can’t sympathize with the millionaire athletes’ complaints about pay issues. Fans don’t seem to have a problem backing the billionaire owners who they couldn’t pick out of a line-up of old dudes in expensive suits. The NFLPA is looking past the ignorance of these football fans and has recently made numerous efforts to get fans back on their side. They’ve taken the battle online, launching a blog titled NFLLockout.com in their new campaign aptly named “NFL Lockout”. Despite their obvious lack of creativity with campaign names, they’ve also launched a twitter account and Facebook Page. Several thousand fans now tweet in support of the NFL players, and over 44,000 people like the Facebook Page that proudly states “Players and fans will stand as one”. Their goal is to change their connection with fans, and they’re using the Social Media Age to spread a petition to block the lockout. NFLPA tweets highlight the effects a lockout will have on NFL fans, and allow fans to directly share and discuss issues with the player’s association. NFLPA even featured a Super Bowl ad where the NFLPA president himself states “We want to play.” The NFLPA in these regards has made several brilliant moves in the chess game between the owners and the players. More and more fans are beginning to sympathize with these players and realize that the owners have made some unfair moves that are not in anybody’s best interest except for the owners themselves. Fans and players are now on the same side of the debate, forcing more pressure on the owners and increasing the likelihood of an agreement to this collective bargaining negotiation. It is quite possible that this tremendous PR move will ultimately save the 2011 NFL season.