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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Owner Franchise Tag
Language!  It all comes down to those that get carte blanche regarding both verbal etiquette and the written language.  In this country, we believe in freedom of speech however there is some language that must be confronted at all costs so that there can never be any confusion as an attempt to sullen the leagues image.  On the surface, it appears to be innocent but the reality is devastating.  

Not so long ago, I attended a local athletic association where the parents took turns verbally lashing out against its board of directors which was followed by series of never ending confrontational statements.  I soon joined that board of ecentially the same officers, where one of my first statements ever was, "We have an image problem".  Soon thereafter, everything that board did, regardless of whether it was written or done verbally lied behind its true image ... "Volunteers that provide a wholesome environment to learn & play".  This statement was both simple and direct, and it immediately disarmed that boards prior image back into handling its most pressing issues ... which was defending the growth of our children from questionable behavior as well as to handle day to day business.   

One of the most negative statements that is tossed around today carte blanche that is completely out of control is the term, "NFL owner".  There is no such entity that I'm aware of.  The negative connotation of these two words are obvious however I've never seen this issue touched by any commentator or journalist primarily due to fear & political correctness.  To be direct, this issue is filled with landmines but this perpetual negative statement must be address head on.  The correct statement is, "NFL Franchise Proxy", as the proxy has the authorization over a franchise that "Plays-by" a set of league rules.  There is no ownership over anything ... just a tenuous right of proxy.  To put this in perspective, the 31 other league proxies could have stripped the Super Bowl Championship from the New England Patriots for cheating however the commissioner was given carte blanche over that decision as the commissioner held a pre-determined proxy over all of it's 32 franchise proxies to make this decision.  Its expediency, right or wrong, protected the league interests.  What people don't seem to understand is that a single NFL Franchise Proxy is powerless to the other 31 proxies, other than in its ability to recoup its assets if forced out, and not $1 in profit is guaranteed.  For most this arrangement is beneficial but it involves inspiration, perspiration and risk understanding that no NFL franchise proxy, nor any common corporate owner, can do it all.  To put this statement in perspective, could any corporate owner make the 19,286 decisions that an organization made on this day?          

Most corporations do not use contracts, as their people are generally free to come and go as they please.  It is understood by all NFL parties that contracts must be used as without them the teams ... the ultimate goals behind these contracts ... could not function without these agreements.  What people tend to forget is that these binding documents involve volunteers on both sides, as neither party is forced to do anything.  Where things go sour, is when one of these volunteers decides not to live up to their end of the agreement.  This might help to explain why new contracts appear to be undervalued to the general lay person.

Where this argument all goes astray, which should be the #1 focus of the players union is in regard to the Franchise & Transition Tag.  This is a complete and absolute winning argument for the players union.  It is my opinion that regardless of its issues, this needs to be addressed directly by all the NFL Franchise Proxies to protect the integrity of its interests.

NFL fans, right up to today's NFL Franchise Proxy's have an unquestioned desire to protect its best player, to protect it's franchise, however this is not how this tool is being used.  For example, Michael Vick regardless of whether he's Philadelphia's best player or not should be an unrestricted free agent.  He's earned that right.  He should be allowed to negotiate the security of his future as today the most significant part of a players contract is in it's guaranteed money.  If the Franchise Tag is allowed to continue under the new collective bargaining agreement and Michael Vick ends his career this year due to injury, he will be forced by the collective bargaining agreement to forgo his right to his security.  No NFL player wants this stipulation applied to them unless there would be no other way to realize the offered money.  On the other hand, if Michael Vick holds back on his play, to protect his future, he will clearly forgo his true market value.  Either way, this restriction does much more than to not to negotiate in good faith.  No union should be allowed to forgo the rights of an individual to an NFL franchise proxy.  This particular collective bargaining restriction can be viewed no other way as under the negative term "ownership", as it restricts a players freedom to chose, and to be direct it destroys the credibility of this league at its very foundation.  It is what it is!  

How is the Franchise Tag different from being a restricted free agent?  Restricted free agency applies to every NFL player, not just an individual.  Yes, it does give leverage to the NFL Franchise Proxy in forcing the NFL player to the bargaining table but in no way does it force the player into anything.  The way restricted free agency is viewed is to pay ones dues in producing for the league ... the way it should be.  As for the four versus six years of restricted free agency, that was the NFL Franchises Proxy's leverage to get the union back to the bargaining table.  

The rest of the arguments, other than rookie contracts, just might be a pipe dream for both parties involved.  Do the right thing! What is set in motion is not by my hand.  

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: July 5, 2011

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