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Kraft, Wilson feel for fans in labor squabble

5/16/2011

Two AFC East owners were heard from over the weekend. Both of them sympathized with the fans in the whole lockout mess.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft attended an event Sunday at Gillette Stadium and shared his feelings about the labor stalemate.

"One of my concerns is that we not aggravate our fan base, and we have to be very careful," Kraft said in a story written by ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss. "I think we're coming to that point now where we start to hurt ourselves collectively in the eyes of our fans. In the end, the fans just want football. They don't want to hear about all this meaningless squabbling."

Buffalo Bills founder Ralph Wilson spoke with New York Daily News writer Gary Myers about the lockout.

Myers tracked down Wilson to revisit the collective bargaining agreement that was reached in March 2006. Wilson and Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown were the only two not to vote in favor of that CBA. The owners voted 32-0 to abandon the deal in 2008, but Myers wrote Wilson refused to gloat over his foresight.

"I hope the sides come to an agreement," Wilson said. "I hope they can. I miss football like millions of other people."

Wilson, 92, hasn't been involved in the latest negotiations and didn't attend the annual owners meeting in New Orleans two months ago.

Wilson also commented on the economic hardships of doing business in Western New York.

"It's very difficult," Wilson said. "We've had a tough time. We've hung in there. Buffalo has lost population, and it's a tough go. When I came in the league, it was the 14th largest city in the league. All the corporations moved out of Buffalo. We're doing alright. We will make it, but it's not easy."