Monthly Archive: October 2017

Today’s For Fish’s Sakes moment: NFL player protests

Sometimes, The Stupid, it hurts.
And sometimes it goes beyond stupid into the For Fish’s Sakes zone.
The really bad arguments against NFL players have just gone into that zone.
There is a multi-part narrative (I’d call it a theory, but that would be giving it way way too much credit) that comprises the following assertions (again, I’m not calling them arguments because they never have any evidence to back them up):

1. NFL players cannot be oppressed or treated unfairly because they are paid a lot of money to play the game
2. Therefore, NFL players should shut up, be grateful, and play the game.
3. And they should respect the flag and stand for the National Anthem because…if my employer told me to stand to attention for the National Anthem every day I would have to do it, therefore those greedy whiny-ass NFL players should damn well do it too

(3) is bullshit and hokum, and I already wrote about it here. Only idiots, assholes or totalitarian regimes think that it is OK to demand respect and fealty to symbols. Despite the whining of the POTUS, the NFL is not going to mandate that the players stand for the anthem for two compelling reasons:
(1) it is not a requirement in current player contracts under the NFL CBA,
(2) it will likely be ruled a violation of the Constitution by SCOTUS, which has ruled multiple times in the last 75 years that nobody can be compelled to perform those actions. (This is why Roger Goodell, a lawyer, deliberately uses the advisory “should” and not the instructive “shall” when commenting about the current NFL rules).
The argument about other employers not allowing employees to protest on company time is a false equivalence. Technically, the anthem ceremony is not part of an NFL game, and it did not exist prior to 2009 except on special occasions. Any employer, especially in the IT or tech sector, that tried to implement a rule forcing the players to stand daily for the national anthem would immediately drop to the bottom of the list of places to work, and would rapidly lose most of its best people. Young, mobile or highly qualified knowledge workers have a low tolerance for totalitarian horseshit. Most employers would not touch this idea with an extremely long barge pole. They are not stupid.
(2) is also bullshit. Being well-paid confers no obligation on any person to surrender their rights to public comment on any issue. If that were true, we would not be hearing a peep from corporate CEOs, television and movie stars, and famous musical artists. The idea that people should shut up because you might not like what they have to say reeks of totalitarian, intolerant conceit. it’s also an argument I have been reading and hearing for years. It has been bullshit all of that time, and it will continue to be bullshit.
I mean, I want world peace, but I am not entitled to get it any time soon.
NOTE to Daniel Snyder: You can claim that 96% of NFL viewers want the players to stand (wherever that claim came from), but here’s the reality, you authoritarian dickweed; opinion polls and fan surveys do not trump legal or constitutional rights.
(1) is also bullshit, for two reasons.
Firstly, most NFL players do not initially enter into freely negotiated contracts with their employers. They are drafted. A team selects them, and their consent to be drafted by a specific team is legally immaterial. (One or two players, most notably John Elway and Eli Manning, managed to maneuver themselves into playing for the team that they really wanted to play for, but the rarity of such outcomes tells you about how invariable the process normally is).
Secondly, once drafted, NFL players have next to no ability to negotiate their contracts. They are bound by the rookie wage scale, which “slots” player remuneration according to position and draft selection sequence. Any variation is financially minor. The deals are all for 4 years with the team having the option to unilaterally extend for a further year.
Once upon a time, in England, people could be “pressed” into service in the Royal Navy by being, essentially, kidnapped, and placed on board a navy vessel. They were then informed that they were serving in the Royal Navy. No way out existed, since by the time they were actually untied, the ship was already at sea. To me, the NFL entry process for many players looks remarkably like the press gang.
Most NFL contracts are not guaranteed, and a team can essentially fire a player at any time. Now…some players mitigate this via pre-paid bonuses. However, the bottom line is that players are, in most cases, press-ganged into the NFL, and are vulnerable to being fired at any time. I cannot recall that I was ever press-ganged into joining an employer like that.
Now…did the players enter into that sort of arrangement as part of the NFL collective bargaining agreement? Well, yes, and No. The NFLPA agreed to the CBA. However, college football players are not members of the NFLPA, and they certainly did not agree to the CBA. So the players entering the NFL, in most cases are stuck in a process they did not agree to that they cannot vary, where they have no real freedom to negotiate. Now, is that slavery? In the sense of them being forced to work in perpetuity while enduring grinding poverty…No. However, they have a lot less freedom than most regular folks to select an employer, negotiate a contract, and change employers.
Secondly, as most people soon find out, money does not cure all ills or guarantee happiness. The idea that if we all had 10 million dollars we would be happy is a superficially attractive one, but most of us eventually meet people in life, who have a lot of money, who are some combination of miserable or assholes. So the idea “you make a lot of money so you should be happy” is total bullshit. As the old saying goes, money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a better class of misery.

Some final thoughts.
An example of the reality that leading practitioners in sports do not forfeit their rights to push for improvements in their sport simply because they are well paid.
When he was driving in F1, Jackie Stewart began campaigning for improvements in car and circuit design and safety, and guess what? Exactly the same arguments being deployed against the NFL players were deployed against him, including “just shut up and drive, you highly paid ungrateful so and so”. People said that motor racing was intrinsically dangerous, and the drivers volunteered to drive, so they knew the dangers and therefore deaths were simply part of the sport. If you want to understand the results of casual acceptance of bad circuit design at the time, Google “helmuth koinigg” (WARNING – Not pleasant viewing).
Jackie Stewart ignored the pushback, and partly due to his advocacy, Formula 1 slowly changed from a sport where at least 1 driver died a year in an accident, and several were forced into retirement due to crippling injuries, to a sport where any serious driver injury is now a rare event.
The NFL is a collision sport, and this always carries risk of injury, although the worst effects seem to be occurring long after players retire, due to body damage and brain trauma. However, the idea continues to be espoused by many NFL fans that the game should be dangerous. This is nothing more than a relic of the prize-fighting mentality, and you don’t have to be a genius to see that a lot of the people making arguments that the NFL is being “wussified” are pretty much the same people who are demanding that the players STFU and stand for the anthem. They are also, from my personal Twitter analysis, mostly elderly white guys (some of them are bots, but that’s another story).
In other words, a lot of the people making the most noise about those nasty un-American players are precisely the sort of people the NFL should not be listening to, because they will not be watching the sport very much longer.


Dear City of Duncanville

So you think that citing us for having kept tree logs on the back of our property for 5 years (in order to prevent people using the back alleyway from driving over our grass area, running into sprinkler heads, and churning up our grass) and for having a piece of fencing leaning against the fence for 7 years to act as a cat ladder, is somehow useful and constructive?
This is bullshit.
If this censorious nonsense does not stop, we will move to a different city. You have been warned.


Colin Kaepernick’s claim against the NFL for collusion

I decided to go read the NFL Collective Bargaining agreement, under which Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance alleging collusion to deny him employment.
The short answer to my questions is that the bar is set pretty high for a finding of collusion, but that if collusion is found to be widespread, the NFLPA can indeed file to terminate the entire CBA.
The CBA contains an entire section on collusion: ARTICLE 17 – ANTI-COLLUSION begins on page 119.
The probable grounds on which Kaepernick is claiming collusion are almost certainly defined in Section
17 (Prohibited Conduct):

(a) No Club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express
or implied, with the NFL or any other Club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit
individual Club decision-making as follows:
(i) whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player;
(ii) whether to submit or not to submit an Offer Sheet to any Restricted Free
(iii) whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player…

The enforcement mechanism is defined in Section 5:

Section 5. Enforcement of Anti-Collusion Provisions: Except as provided in Section
16(d) below, any player or the NFLPA, acting on that player’s or any number of players’
behalf, may bring an action before the System Arbitrator alleging a violation of Section 1
of this Article. In any such proceeding, the Federal Rules of Evidence shall apply. Issues
of relief and liability shall be determined in the same proceeding (including the amount
of damages, pursuant to Section 9 below, if any). The complaining party shall bear the
burden of demonstrating by a clear preponderance of the evidence that (1) the challenged
conduct was or is in violation of Section 1 of this Article and (2) caused any
economic injury to such player(s).

The important things to note here are that (1) this is not a court hearing before a judge or a jury; it is an arbitration hearing. (2) the Federal Rules of Evidence apply. This means that full Discovery is allowed as part of a pre-hearing process. (3) the burden of proof is not a criminal burden (beyond “reasonable doubt”) but the civil standard (“clear preponderance of the evidence”).
The remedies for a finding of guilt, however, extend beyond the matter of monetary damages to the player. The ultimate sanction is contained in this section:

Section 16. Termination: The NFLPA shall have the right to terminate this Agreement,
under the following circumstances:
(a) Where there has been a finding or findings of one or more instances of a
violation of Section 1 of this Article with respect to any one NFL season which, either
individually or in total, involved five or more Clubs and caused injury to 20 or more
players; or
(b) Where there has been a finding or findings of one or more instances of a
violation of Section 1 of this Article with respect to any two consecutive NFL seasons
which, either individually or in total, involved seven or more Clubs and caused injury to
28 or more players. For purposes of this Subsection 16(b), a player found to have been
injured by a violation of Section 1 of this Article in each of two consecutive seasons shall
be counted as an additional player injured by such a violation for each such NFL season;
(c) Where, in a proceeding brought by the NFLPA, it is shown by clear and
convincing evidence that 14 or more Clubs have engaged in a violation or violations of
Section 1 of this Article causing injury to one or more NFL players.
(d) In order to terminate this Agreement:
(i) The proceeding must be brought by the NFLPA;
(ii) The NFL and the System Arbitrator must be informed at the outset of
any such proceeding that the NFLPA is proceeding under this Section for the purpose
of establishing its entitlement to terminate this Agreement; and
(iii) The System Arbitrator must find that the Clubs engaged in willful collusion
with the intent of restraining competition among teams for players.

Clearly, with only one player grievance, the only grounds on which the NFLPA could apply for the termination of the CBA would be that laid down in Article c (collusion among 14 or more NFL teams). That seems, at first reading, to be a pretty high bar to clear in terms of evidence.
You will also notice that the NFLPA must state before the hearing that they intend, if successful, to apply for the termination of the CBA. They can’t turn around later if the hearing finds in favor of Colin Kaepernick, with proof of more than 14 clubs colluding, and then say “OK now we won, we are terminating the CBA”.

So, there is a spectrum of possible outcomes:

1. Special Arbitrator finds no compelling evidence of collusion; grievance is denied
2. Special Arbitrator finds compelling evidence of collusion among multiple teams, but less than 14 teams are involved; finds in favor of Kaepernick
3. Special Arbitrator finds compelling evidence of collusion among 14 or more teams; finds in favor of Kaepernick and nullifies the CBA IF the NFLPA had requested it as part of the hearing process

I still regard (1) as the most likely outcome, unless a “smoking gun” emerges in the form of informal communications between teams, coaches and/or the NFL. Absent any smoking gun evidence, it will be down to circumstantial evidence, which is unlikely to be compelling enough. Correlation does not equal causation, as the old saying goes. At that point, it then becomes a “court of public opinion” fight.
If (2) is the outcome, the NFL will be on the hook for (I am guessing) up to $50m in damages or more, with a significant public dent in its reputation.
(3) is the NFL’s worst nightmare – the premature end of the CBA, requiring a new CBA negotiation. The current CBA, which is a 10 year agreement with no opt-outs, is generally regarded as more generous to the owners than the previous CBA, which the owners had voided after 3 years in order to force a negotiation for a better deal for them, threatening a lockout as part of the negotiations. The NFLPA is unlikely to be feeling as generous next time around, especially given the strife over the conduct policy enforcement, and things could get messy in a hurry.


The era of overt censorship on the internet may be over…

Once upon a time, not too long ago, you could easily spot the intolerant corners of the internets by the speed with which they would remove critical comments and ban or block people.
Now, the game has changed completely. Banning people is no longer seen as useful. Instead, the owners of forums merely call up sockpuppet users and bots to flood the comment threads of the social media platform with supportive comments or snark about opponents. Gaming the system has changed from trying to abolish opposing views to simply drowning them out.


Fercryingoutloud – Monday 23rd October 2017 – Treason

No, you blustering bloviating authoritarian asshats.
Shut it.
People who disagree with you and your cockanamie ideas of “freedom” are NOT guilty of Treason.
Treason has a very narrow definition, as explained here. It is narrowly defined in order to guard against the sort of fuckwittery that I read from you on social media.
POSTSCRIPT – This website, which is claiming that George Soros should be arrested for Treason sedition and just about anything else anybody can think of, takes today’s award for insult word salad with its deployment of “Globalist PedoSatanic Supporting Libtard Crybullies”. A few too many syllables, but it sure reads well…and the few comments on the post are delightful. Intolerant eliminationist keyboard warriors? Oh no. Absolutely not…scribble like those comments always reminds me of this XTC song.

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