Spin zone: Time for some owner-speak

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
11:34
AM ET
Jim Irsay says there is no animosity between the two sides in the NFL labor fight.

That’s great if it’s the case for him with his strong players -- Jeff Saturday is a big player in the NFLPA, Peyton Manning is a plaintiff in the players’ suit against the league -- but I sure hope he realizes that on a bigger scale, player anger is a huge issue here.

It appears to me that it’s the biggest issue right now, and until emotions settle, there is no hope of new talks.

I’m glad Irsay had a news conference. I really wish I was there, because I would have liked to ask him if he didn’t think it made him look out of touch to be doing some of his wacky tweeting about a contest Friday evening as the union was decertifying and the league was preparing for a lockout. I was embarrassed for him and the timing, frankly.

I do appreciate Irsay’s stance on the potential for furloughs at Colts headquarters.

"I just don't anticipate that sort of thing," Irsay said. "I look at someone who's making $40,000 or $50,000 a year, who has rent to pay ... and I just can't see it for me as an owner asking them for anything."

I’d sure like to hear Bud Adams (and Wayne Weaver and Bob McNair) echo that.

Adams, instead, will hide on the issue. A team spokesman told Jim Wyatt that any such moves are “between the team and its employees.”

I’m not looking to name names. I don’t seek to embarrass anyone. And I am completely sympathetic to anyone who suffers such a fate.

But furloughs and layoffs are, allegedly, arriving for some owners because of their economic struggles. Doing them in secret doesn’t do much to illustrate this grand plight that is forcing the lockout, does it?

If Adams is laying people off or putting them on furloughs, he should suffer the public PR consequences of doing so.

Like Adams, Weaver has chimed in with a cookie-cutter letter to fans that reveals little. He emphasized that there is no risk in buying season tickets because “our promise continues to be that fans will not pay for games that are not played.”

How generous!

The thing he and his colleagues seem to be missing out on is the part where, if I am a season-ticket holder, I get to give them my money well ahead of scheduled games and don’t get it back until a long while off if they aren’t played.

Much as these guys like to think of themselves as a bank, I’d prefer to put my money in one that has ATM machines.

It’s reasonable that I don’t want to pay until I know you’re going to play.

Also, I’d advise against playing fans for fools by steering around the term “lockout” and instead writing messages about the “CBA development process,” as Texans president Jamey Rootes did.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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