By Ken Reed

Roger Goodell and the NFL owners lost. NFL fans and social media won.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners chose to make a mockery of their “product,” and tarnish their “shield” by locking out the league’s officials before the start of the season. It was a bonehead move based not on money (the couple million dollars it cost the owners to settle with the regular officials amounts to little more than valet service expenses for the owners) but on pure ego and an amazingly inflated sense of power.

The NFL owners thought their league was so popular with the fans, media and sponsors that they could do anything, at anytime.

But in this case the fans rose up and called them on it. “No mas” was the primal scream heard loud and clear at NFL headquarters in the first 24 hours after the sad joke that was the Monday Night Football game between Seattle and Green Bay ended. Fans had simply had enough of the consumer fraud Goodell and the owners were putting on display every weekend.

The fans turned to social media to express their disgust. Goodell’s cell phone number was circulated via Twitter and thousands of fans left him, let’s say, strong messages. Thousands of other fans posted blogs on websites and posted angry opinions on Facebook. This thing went viral fast. Social media sites were buzzing. Fans were upset with the replacement officials and incensed that Goodell and his billionaire owners continued to allow them on the field. Call it a democracy uprising.

Goodell and the fat cat owners surrendered late Wednesday night.

In the aftermath, the owners, Goodell, the players’ association, the media, the regular officials, and probably others, will all claim credit for settling this labor dispute. But make no mistake the heroes in this NFL drama were the fans who demanded to be heard.

A tip of the fedora to all the fans who rose up and said enough is enough.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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