NFL strike shows the selfish side of players

Sunday, to me, has served as the height of excitement in my lifetime.

Mike Ditka took his Bears into Philadelphia and beat on Buddy Ryan’s Eagles.

How sweet it was.

Or at least it would have been—if the real Bears had faced the real Eagles.

Unfortunately, it was what has become known as “scab football” or “replacement games.” The Bears flaunted names like Hohensee while the Eagles trotted out Guido Merkins.

And boy, the fans turned out in droves. In fact, 4,074 showed up inside Veteran’s Stadium. The numbers were only slightly higher throughout the league.

Ironically, there were more fans outside the stadiums protesting alongside picketers than were inside watching the games.

Unfortunately, the scene outside Veteran’s Stadium got ugly when several picketers attempted to prevent people from entering the stadium.

So what’s the point?

The point is, I’m amazed at the gall of the players.

They were lucky to have other unions and the fans take part in their protests.

My question is, would those players, with the contracts they are requesting, stop playing football and picket if, say, the Teamsters went on strike? I doubt it, but there were Teamsters protesting with the players the other day.

All this shows me is the players are selfish. And that’s not all bad.

The problem is the public as a whole tends to put athletes on a higher plane. Athletes are, some how, ultrahuman. So this, I guess, is not all the fault of athletes.

Sorry folks, athletes are human.

Several football players proved that and are continuing to prove it. They said the heck with the union and crossed the picket line. They are people like Joe Montana, Mark Gastineu and Joe Klecko.

They are self-interested. But they are providing a service. They are breaking the back of an unnecessary union.

Hopefully, for the fans of the game, more and more players will continue thinking of themselves and breaking the picket lines. Because before too long, the NFL Player’s Union won’t have a leg to stand on. And that’s when the strike will end.

And hopefully, that’s when unionization will be viewed in a light appropriate to it.

It’s debatable whether any unions are necessary. They served a purpose when they were formed and they were a great benefit to workers for all times.

But now they seem to be a means by which workers can get more and more money for doing the same jobs.

This is especially true of professional athletes. Their salaries range far above those of most people working in most jobs.

So there is no reason athletes need a bargaining chip to get more money. They get enough already, thank you.

Hopefully this strike will prove a point. Hopefully it will allow players to step back and comprehend the mistakes they are making. Maybe they will remember the game should be fun. And maybe they’ll realize the longer they sit out, the fewer games they’ll be able to play in.

In the same regard, if the strike breaks the union, players like Walter Payton in the future won’t have to lose a year off their careers just because they are loyal to a union.

It’s a shame that Payton, who announced earlier this could be his last season, might have to spend the twilight of his career watching the “Near Bears” on TV. Watching Lakei Heimuli carry the ball across the turf at Soldier Field.

Hopefully, the players will consider these aspects and tell Gene Upshaw, their union leader, where he can stick a football. And then they’ll call off the strike.