Being the sports nut that I am, it was pretty cool to interview NFL legend Terry Bradshaw last Friday for the Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine. The four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and current Fox NFL broadcaster is the featured speaker at our 2011 awards dinner this fall.
The excitement over the Super Bowl coming to Indianapolis should be building come November 17 when Bradshaw takes the stage at the JW Marriott. He said to expect some good stories, reflection and humor in his speech entitled, “Why Not Your Best.”
Thankfully, today it now seems assured we will have a football season. When I spoke with Bradshaw, he didn’t hold back on his feelings regarding the labor negotiations between the players and owners, the general public’s perception of it and how things used to be:
“To a fan, it’s greed vs. greed, but I’ve wanted to tell the fan this for years, for decades: The players were held in bondage. They were like Exodus in the Bible. The Israelites wanted out and the pharaoh wouldn’t let them go, and finally Moses came and performed his miracles and set his people free. That’s kind of what happened with the players. We didn’t have the freedom to move from team to team, we didn’t know what players were making, and we didn’t know what the teams were making and whether or not that little $40,000 check I got at the end of the year should have been making $400,000 or $500,000. The (first) CBA (collective bargaining agreement) forced them to open up the books.
Like any worker out there, if you’ve got a four- or five-year contract and it expires, and some other organization says ‘We want you to come over to our place,’ the Indiana Chamber of Commerce doesn’t have the right to say, ‘Wait a minute, we have a right of first refusal.’ You take the best offer and you part company. It’s all about money; always is. If somebody offers you twice what you make now, you’re leaving. This is the American way; it’s capitalism at its best.
The players only get roughly two negotiation periods in a football career, because the average life is only four years, I think. I’m definitely more inclined to support the players in this.
When it’s all said and done, the players are still going to be taken care of. The older people (retired players) are going to be taken care of; the pensions are going to be taken care of. There’s a lot of great things. And that’s why the CBA is taking so long. I do not blame the players for taking their time as I would insist they do, to make sure. Because it’s 10 years before they can come back and revisit. ‘Well, you didn’t talk about the helmet issue,’ … then it’s too late.”