Media Mayhem

The NFL Lockout is over. Today and tomorrow NFL players will be reporting to training camp and breathing a sigh of relief that their arduous time spent away from their team's facilities is now done.

The NFL Lockout is over. In the next few days owners are selling tickets for meaningless preseason games that had been on the brink of cancellation only a few weeks ago. Sponsors are once again making their pitches to get their signage on various billboards, car doors, and bathroom stalls featuring their team's logo and a sign that says "Official partner of the Houston Texans and the NFL."

The NFL Lockout is over. Today fans are calling into their local radio stations and freely discussing the impact that Matt Hasselbeck will have with Tennessee or how many games Hines Ward will be suspended due to his DUI charge or whether Nnamdi Asomugha will even consider their team in his quest to get more money than he really needs.

The NFL Lockout is over. Today the media smugly sits on the back two legs of their chairs and says, "Our work here is done."

We can arguably say that the players or the owners are to blame for this lockout. But for me, my blame rests on the media. The media that needs to break in to its regularly scheduled programming to let you know that "The owners are meeting at an undisclosed location!" and then interrupt again with "We found out where the undisclosed location is: New York!"

When two sides are refusing to meet on the basis that the other side is full of "jerks," then that may be news. But when each side is trying valiantly to resolve their problem - that is not news. That's just unnecessary.

I understand that the NFL is the most revered sport in all the land. Any NFL news trumps all. But the media turned this lockout into a giant waste of my time. Whenever people talked about it, I was done - I changed the channel or turned it off. The only news I desired to hear from the media was that the lockout was over.

I was reading the newspaper yesterday, and a sportswriter's quote really made me think. He wrote: "The intense fan frustration over the lockout was misplaced because, in the end, nothing of importance was missed."*

Why was there fan frustration in the first place? If the media hadn't jumped on the story when they realized the CBA was expiring, then the fans wouldn't have thought any differently. They still had a draft. There wasn't meant to be football between February and July. But because the media feels it needs to have its finger on every menial "Drew Brees said ______!" story, we as fans feel a responsibility to react. If this had been done behind closed doors, 1) it may have been done faster, and 2) we as fans would feel less like idiots for being strung out for 130+ days obsessing over nothing.

So thanks, media. Because you crave the ratings, you are, in fact, the losers of this lockout. Don't warn us that this thing "may take a while" and that it "may cost us up to half the season" when you probably knew full well that a deal was going to get done this summer. Your hyperactivity makes us respect you even less than before.

We're not that stupid.

*Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Oates: "Biggest Winner? The Fans" Tuesday, July 26, 2011 edition


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