The players have a chance for an enormous PR win right now, if they act quickly. With news today that many NFL franchises are already cutting pay of secretaries, PR people, salespeople, etc. (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/05/24/the-list-of-teams-cutting-pay-during-the-lockout/), the players union has a chance to make a splash. Granted, I tend to be on the side of the players through this debate; I can not understand why teams are cutting pay already? This seems like a horrible PR move to cut pay during a period when they are not usually receiving large amounts of income during regular, non-lockout times. This is a serious blow to the employees of these teams, and strikes me as a heartless and un-needed business decision.
So how could the players capitalize? It doesn’t have to be a large donation, but why not get the highest paid players on each team to donate a little money to the team employees in need. Let it “slip” out to the press, and voila`! instant positive PR (and karma).
But how important is PR in this battle? Most fans, judging from conversations and message boards, do not really seem to care who is right and who is wrong, they just want football starting in early September. Does it really matter who the public supports? Do we as fans really have any say over anything? Given the rising costs of parking and beer we have to pay while watching the games, I think the answer is an unequivocal “NO” with the owners. I identify more with the players, but don’t think they genuinely care too much about the fans either.
So what is the point of generating any PR at all? Well, both sides need to be careful. The longer this drags on, past opening day (if it goes that long), the more dissatisfied fans will become. The catalyst may be Fantasy Football. If draft parties are disrupted, who knows how fans will react. Without the fun of FF, the NFL may find not as many eyes will be glued to TVs and computers in the Fall. It would be wise for both sides to keep trying to show support for the fans. If not for their own benefit, then for the benefit of the league as a whole.