July 20, 2011

The Worst Sports Column of the Year

The Delco Times' Jack McCaffery, always a contender, has outdone himself. His angle on the pending end of the NFL lockout? The entire lockout was a "ruse," "ginned up" by the players and owners. Why?

The contracts will be approved, the marathon TV watch will begin, and by business hours Friday, the NFL will be back...All of which will prove that it can be done that way unless there is another motive. And if that motive is to artificially tease the fans for months into discussing player movement and obsessing over unsigned contracts, then the victims can blame themselves.

So just remember that next offseason when some draft choice is holding out or a player transaction stalls: None of it is more than manufactured nonsense designed to worm football conversation out of people.

And then, be strong. And then, resist.

Because the NFL will have proven that everything important really can be accomplished in a snap.

This is so, so wrong it's almost hard to know where to begin (other than the word "ruse" being spelled wrong in the headline). This isn't happening. McCaffery presents no evidence that it is, because there is none. It's in neither side's interest to fake a lockout, while doing so would almost certainly be illegal.

Not only has the lockout not led to more interest in the league than usual, but there's actually been much less- fans usually spend the entire offseason speculating about player movement anyway, but due to the lockout, football has largely been out of site and out of mind. Because, of course, there has been no player movement.

The labor dispute is "manufactured nonsense" that could and should be solved instantly? That isn't any more true of this than, really, any dispute between two parties ever, including the debt ceiling negotiations.

And why would a lockout that lasted for the entire offseason lead to an increase in ratings? McCaffery was around during the baseball strike in '94, right? He does realize that labor disputes in sports cause fans to turn away with outrage, and not to watch in greater numbers, right?

To believe McCaffery's theory, you'd have to believe that the players and owners got together, decided mutually to spend months pretending to fight over labor and faked hundreds of court documents and negotiating sessions, all in order to get fans to have interest in nonexistent player movement and increase ratings. Sounds like a perfect plan!

UPDATE: KSK, thanks to some reader named "Stephen," has noticed this too.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 20, 2011 12:08 PM
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