No chance NFL "stars" sit out season for Kaepernick, Reid


There's a report out there that says "star" players are considering sitting out the season until or unless free-agents Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid get jobs, and, sorry, but I'm not buying it. It's not that I'm not sure that happens. It's that I know it won't.

In fact, I'd say there's a greater chance of Cleveland winning the Super Bowl.

Look, it's one thing to voice support for a cause, a dissenting player or both. But it's quite another for individuals to sacrifice paychecks worth millions of dollars, and NFL players simply won't do it.

That's not an opinion. It's a history lesson.

In 1987, players went on strike for free agency, benefits and higher wages and said they would not return until they got what they wanted. So the NFL dared them, assembling what were called "replacement teams" -- ballclubs composed of strike breakers -- and went on with the season.

What happened? What happened is that striking players couldn't cross the picket line fast enough, with an estimated 15 percent -- including stars like Mark Gastineau, Tony Dorsett, Joe Montana, Lawrence Taylor and Steve Largent -- returning to work because they missed the money.

Within 24 days the strike was over, and NFL players were back on the job.

Now the question: If players then weren't willing to sacrifice millions for a cause, why would they do it now for a couple of dissidents? And the answer is easy.

They wouldn't.

Now let's fast-forward to the 2011 lockout when players preached union solidarity and insisted they would sit out the season if they didn't gain a collective bargaining agreement that satisfied them. OK, fine. But I remember attending the NFL Players Association meetings that spring and reminding players of the 1987 experience -- telling them that owners believed they weren't as unified as they thought and, in the end, would fold before the season started.

And, of course, that's exactly what happened.

Yes, they gained a CBA that benefited them. But it benefited owners more. Worse, it gave the commissioner sweeping powers that he wasn't afraid exercise -- with Tom Brady and Ezekiel Elliott Exhibits A and B. Players complain that Roger Goodell shouldn't be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to hot-button issues or potential suspensions, and they're right.

He shouldn't.

Except for one thing: It was those same players who gave him extensive powers with the CBA. Nobody put a gun to their heads. Nobody threatened them. They signed it voluntarily … which means they have only themselves to blame.

In the end, of course, they gained what they wanted, which was inflated paychecks for that season and seasons to come. But if they weren't going to sit out the 2011 season … or preseason … to benefit themselves, why would they sit out the 2018 season in support of Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid?

I think you know the answer.


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