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Mike Stagg LIVE: Louisiana Coastal Plan

Thursday, 26 May 2011 10:22
Saints Fans Say NFL Owners, Players Are Greedy
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No games have been lost: preseason or those that actually count.

Yet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell conceded the owners' lockout of players that is in its third month -- and with no end in sight -- is doing damage to the NFL (No Football League). Fans, he said, are beyond restless.

In some cities across the league, season-ticket sales are down. That isn't the case locally. The Saints have sold out all tickets for this season, if there is one. The Saints fans I quizzed believe there will be a season and it’s their opinion that both sides are greedy.

Following are thoughts from Saints fans on the lockout and what they will do on Sundays if there isn't a season:

David Thiac, landscaper/bartender: "Both sides are greedy. The league should take better care of the ex-players, many who are living in pain and can't walk up stairs like Earl Campbell.

"Today's high-profile players are set financially. The owners should set up a special fund for the old-timers, who made the game what it is.

"If there isn't a season, I'll be tending bar (Coach's Corner in Metairie) on Sundays, but not getting a lot of tips like I would get from a Saints crowd watching the games."

Jody Young, grocery store clerk "There will be a football season. The players should realize where else could they make money like they're getting in the NFL. They make too much money. There’s only a handful of these jobs. They are a chosen few like rock stars and movie stars.

"They have a short time to play, so they should take advantage of their opportunities. What Brett Favre did, play 20 years as a starter, was a miracle. Not many of these players can afford to miss a season.

"If there isn't an NFL season, I'll concentrate on college football."

Richard Preis, high school teacher: "It's billionaires vs. millionaires. I can't relate to making that kind of money. Players are too concerned about big contracts while the owners are too concerned about their own pocketbooks.

"I'll miss the NFL games if there isn't a season, but I will survive without it. I'll watch college games if necessary. I can't relate to the lifestyles those guys (owners and players) have."

Ole Smith, Jefferson Parish administrative assistant: "The owners won't open their books for the players to see how much they are making. The league grosses 18 per cent profit each season and the owners and players should be satisfied with that kind of profit.

"When the Saints were bad, I'd go away for the weekends. I can live without the NFL. I only watch it on TV anyway."

At the league level, the annual rookie symposium, scheduled for June 26 in Canton, Ohio, is the first casualty of the lockout.

What's next? Training camps? Preseason games? The preseason is set to open on Aug. 7 when the Bears and Rams meet in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton.

The regular-season opener is set for Sept. 8 with the Saints taking on defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin. Owners were briefed on plans to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the first full week of the season.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is leading 40 of his teammates through workouts at Tulane, said the players have a plan and purpose during these workouts. "We just continue to modify and escalate the type of training we're doing to be even more football-specific and that kind of things as we close in on June and get ready for training camp."

This statement implies that there will be a training camp, something that gives us all reason for hope during an offseason that has been littered with feelings of football hopelessness.

Former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita recognizes a deal needs to be made to end the lockout.

"The reality is this has been a well-calculated, pre-mediated plan to lock the players out," the Browns linebacker/voice said during an interview on PFT Live the other day. "Basically they're got everybody by the -----, and that's unfortunate.

"It becomes really hard to trust anything. It's unfortunate.  And that's too bad because I believe both sides have contributed to make this game what it is. And that trust has been broken."

Ed StatonBy Ed Staton

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