Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers.
Richardson, according to sources has told Peyton Manning "what do you know about player safety" at a recent collective bargaining session. While the league has backed Richardson publicly, and denied that ol' Jer has anything but sweet syrupy love and respect for the players, something tells me the report is dead balls accurate.
When a player like Manning, with his own $18+ million money machine cranking away as his career sunsets straight into Canton, is willing to stand firm with the rest of the NFL rank and file, then you know he's probably secretly pissed off at owners like Richardson.
It was reported that Richardson said last year "we made a (expletive) deal last time, and we're going to stick together, and take our league back". Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports fleshes out a new round of inflammatory douchebaggery from the Richardson-Manning dust-up, in the eyes of a source who was in the room.
Jerry's stance on player safety and short careers?
Among other things, Richardson became so angry at Sean Morey after the recently retired player cited a slew of statistics on player safety and average career length that the Panthers’ owner snapped, “You guys made so much [expletive] money – if you played three years in the NFL, you should own your own [expletive] team.”The bottom line on NFL owners - and truly, pro sports owners in general - is summed up nicely in this column by FoxSports.com's Mark Kriegel, even though the topic was about Albert Pujols about to break the bank, not the NFL.
First, the owners cheat worse than the players. Hence, you have stuff like collusion, $8 hot dogs, and, as is currently the case in the NFL, a steadfast refusal to open up the ledgers.
Second, owners like to be known as fearless businessmen, self-made apostles of market law, when, in fact, they really want to be insulated from the consequences of their bad decisions. That’s why you have salary caps and luxury taxes. Owners are laissez-faire when it comes to parking, concessions and, in the case of certain big-market baseball and basketball clubs, television revenues. But most of them are really angling for welfare, the most preposterous form of which is the publicly financed stadium with an overabundance of luxury boxes.
Amen to all of that. It's like the NFL owners are guys who decided to buy huge McMansions with sub-prime credit. They view the players like their housekeepers. "Hey, this new house is bigger, but it makes all of us 'richer.' Don't you like cleaning this new big house for me? Oh, but you do have to clean 2 more rooms. For less money too, because damn, this house is expensive! Somebody gotta pay the rent!"
My wish for the players: walk away March 5th, and tell the owners: "Call us in February 2012, and see how your financial mood is, minus a whole season, and minus a Super Bowl. You wanted this. We're going to give it to you."
I know, it'll never happen. The players, like usual, will crumble. But just once, I'd like to see a good ol' boy like Richardson get the financial ass whippin' of his life, based on an arrogant miscalculation.