Abolish the NFL Draft

It’s time to restore labor freedom to professional football.

On Thursday, April 25, millions of prime-time television viewers will gather to watch a a middle-aged man read off a bunch of names in 10-minute intervals. This will go on for three days. By the end of the weekend, 254 young men will be assigned to one of 32 potential employers. Welcome to the 78th annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting, better known as “the NFL Draft.”

The sports draft is an anomaly of the American labor market. In most industries new hires are free to seek employment wherever there's an opening. Even promising high school athletes may accept a scholarship offer from any college. But the NFL shield has stood resolutely against labor freedom since 1935 when Bert Bell, then the struggling owner of the last-place Philadelphia Eagles, convinced the rest of the nine-team league that poorly performing clubs should be rewarded with first choice of promising college talent. Under this new system, a “drafted” player could only negotiate a contract with a single team.

The first NFL Draft took place on May 9, 1935, in a ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia (where Bell worked before buying the Eagles). Bell selected University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger with the first-ever pick in the nine-round draft. Bell then made the first-ever draft deal, trading Berwanger's “services” to the Chicago Bears for veteran tackle Art Buss. Bell reportedly balked at Berwanger's demand for a $1,000 per game salary. Berwanger declined to sign with the Bears and never played professional football.

Nearly 77 years later, the Indianapolis Colts selected Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Luck signed a four-year, $22.1 million contract in July 2012. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Colts also made Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish the final selection (253rd overall) in the draft, earning him the traditional moniker “Mr. Irrelevant.” Harnish spent last season on the Colts' practice squad, where the minimum salary was $5,750 per week.

This vast improvement in player compensation since the 1930s has muted any criticism of the NFL Draft as a restriction on the free movement of labor. Most commentators and fans accept on faith Bert Bell's original argument that the draft enhances the league's competitive balance. In reality, this “balance” is mostly the product of the league's 16-game regular season, which makes a year-to-year swing of one or two games much more important than in any other professional sport.

Another critical (and overlooked) factor is the absence of labor restrictions for non-player personnel. There is no draft for coaches, general managers, or other front office staff. Competition for managerial talent drives innovation and improvement far more than restraints on incoming players. The NFL in 1935 had no professional scouting. Today, all teams have entire departments dedicated to player assessment. Eliminating the draft would not impact the need for, or work of, these staffs.

Nor would abolishing the draft significantly alter the structure of the modern NFL. Regardless of how players come into the league, they are all subject to a salary cap that fixes total compensation as a percentage of football-related revenues. The present collective bargaining agreement further constrains rookie salaries, and roster limits prevent a team from simply stockpiling players. All the draft does is increase the likelihood that the most promising new talent—the players taken at the top of the first round—will go to teams with a demonstrated history of mismanagement.

This should concern the league as it faces a rising tide of concussion-related lawsuits brought by former players. While the NFL tinkers with playing rules in an effort to make the game “safer,” there's been no effort to question the role of the draft system in promoting unsafe working conditions. Let's say Player X is a highly touted quarterback prospect drafted by Team A. What if Team A has a poor offensive line and a coach prone to recklessness with his quarterbacks? Player X can't turn around and negotiate with Team B, which offers a better line and a coach with a stronger record of developing young quarterbacks. Player X is stuck with Team A, and if that means he's out of football after four years, a record number of sacks and a half-dozen concussions, then so be it.

The problem is that the NFL never thinks through the consequences of the draft system. League officials are far too enamored with the marketing spectacle the draft has become since the 1980s, when ESPN started televising the event. Commissioner Roger Goodell expanded the draft from two to three days to maximize the hoopla. It's part of the NFL's evolution into a year-round television reality show where the players are mere contestants. The NFL Draft may not be a sensible way to allocate talent, but it provides football-starved fans, media pundits, and “draft experts” with something to discuss endlessly between the Super Bowl and the start of training camps.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • John||

    The draft is part of a collective bargaining agreement agreed on by both the players and the owners. They seem to like it. And it is their league. I am thinking it is not time to abolish it until the people who own the league decide it is.

    If you think a league without a draft would do better, go start one.

  • robc||

    The problem is the people being drafted arent members of the union...yet.

  • robc||

    Its a bigger problem in baseball, as the union is for Major League players, so being drafted or signing that first contract doesnt even get you into the union.

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  • Auric Demonocles||

    They elected to submit themselves to the draft.

    More generally, if an owner wants to hire only union members, that is their choice.

  • John||

    Exactly. And the players also get all of the benefits of the union like minimum salaries and such.

  • robc||

    Not in baseball.

  • John||

    In baseball, they are either subject to the draft or if they are international players, sign as free agents very young.

  • robc||

    Yes, and my point is that the drafted players dont become union members when they sign their first contract, like with the NBA and NFL.

    You dont become a MLBPA union member until you get called up (or maybe when you get added to 40 man roster, but same difference, as everyone on the 40 man gets called up in September). If the baseball union covered minor league players too, I would feel different about it.

  • John||

    That is true. And foreign players get really fucked by the system. Top US players go in the draft and get big signing bonuses. Top Dominican players often get signed for pennies in comparison.

  • robc||

    Foreign players can sign and negotiate whatever they can get. Which is why cuban defectors get huge contracts. The Dominicans are signing at age 16, which is why they are getting pennies. If they waited until they were 22, they would do better than American draftees.

    But, considering their situations, getting 6 years of minor league monies is probably worth it for them. The big money is always in the majors.

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  • Incredulous||

    So a low salary is a benefit? Interesting. Perhaps the players would have higher salaries without forced union membership. We'll never know since they don't have the option or freedom to decide not to be a union member.

  • Drake||

    Too bad the players lost their balls and didn't de-certify the union last year.

    Instead they stupidly agreed to keep the union and the worst contract in professional sports.

  • John||

    It is an incentive issue. Players in baseball and basketball have longer careers and can afford to think long term. NFL players have very short careers and thus have no incentive to think long term. Basically, to get the union to really stand up to the league, you have to get players to sacrifice their money in return for benefits to future players. And most people just are not going to do that.

  • Ruckus||

    While the NFL contract is bad from the union's perspective, I don't think it's close to as awful as the contract the NBA union signed.

  • John||

    NBA still has guaranteed contracts though.

  • Ruckus||

    Yeah but the NFLPA were never or will likely never be in any kind of position to secure that in negotiations. It's the nature of the sport/business.

  • John||

    I wish the NBA didn't or the contracts were only guaranteed for three years. The NBA is being killed by players signing big contracts and then coasting while they take the money.

  • robc||

    People say that is baseball too, but is there any actual evidence?

    For every example you give, I can give an example of a player obviously playing hard (like Kobe).

    And there are slackers in football too.

  • John||

    There are huge evidence for it in the NBA. The NBA has the most fucked up pay structure in all of sports. Because there is top salary and salary cap, the top players are hugely underpaid. Someone like LaBron James or Kobe Bryant brings in close to over a hundred million dollars a year for their teams. But they can only make max salary in the 20s. Meanwhile, the league has a minimum salary and teams don't want to be seen paying too little salary or else their fans will think they are not trying. So what you end up with is a whole lot of very average and replaceable players making way more money than they could ever generate in revenue.

    The NBA really should have a pyramid salary structure. Because a single star can make so much difference, there are 15-20 players in the leagues who should be making tens of millions of dollars and then a whole bunch of other pretty much interchangeable players who should be making somewhere a bit north of vet minimum.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The top salary also leads to the Miami Heat "superteam" style.

  • John||

    Yup. They can only afford that because other teams can't offer what each of those players are actually worth.

    If I ran the NBA, I would give every team one salary slot that was totally uncapped and did not count against either the cap or the luxury cap. If you want to offer LaBron James $75 million a year, you go for it. This would create 32 slots where the top players could make what they are worth and also be distributed around the league so that every team had a competitive chance.

  • Ruckus||

    I agree with all of problems you have mentioned John.

    The problem is the new CBA does more harm than good. The max cap was not increased, but the min cap was. The penaltax for going over the cap was drastically increased, yet the max contract for the top 10-20 players was not increased. The salary structure in the NBA is going in the wrong direction, AND the players lost more BRI% in the negotiation.

  • John||

    Yeah, the CBA did nothing to fix the problems of the league. But what do you expect when the chief negotiators were David Stern and Billy Hunter? Stern is a terrible commissioner. People think he is so great because the league grew so much on his watch. But the growth had nothing to do with Stern. His tenure as commissioner included the primes of the three most popular and marketable players in history (Bird, Magic and Jordan). It wasn't real hard to grow the league. And still managed to fuck it up by over expanding, letting the referees turn the game into a wrestling match in 1990s, and creating a terrible salary structure.

  • Loki||

    There are huge evidence for it in the NBA.

    See Odom, Lamar.

  • John||

    See Gilbert Arenas

  • Libertymike||

    You'll have to go overseas to do that.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    When it means that you end up missing a year of getting a paycheck in what is usually a very short career, perhaps you can brag about how large your balls are.

    Also, an appeals court basically ruled that decertification wouldn't have worked.

  • Drake||

    For most of them, their careers are short due to the violence of the game, not their age. A year without collisions would extend many of those short careers by a year.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    John Elway proved that if your chip is blue enough and your hype is big enough, you can shit on the draft.

  • Libertymike||

    As did the Manning family.

  • robc||

    As did Dave Winfield.

    Get drafted in all 3 major sports, tell two to fuck off.

  • KDN||

    And Eric Lindros. Where's the NBA example? Can't think of one off the top of my head.

  • ||

    Lindros changed the NHL. Before his hold out, rookies who never played a game or proven themselves were paid accordingly. Suddenly, rookies were demanding crazy salaries even though they may not have been worth it. I'm thinking Alexandre Daigle.

    Lindros for his part, despite the haters (and I wasn't crazy about how he and his family behaved), was quite productive and brought the Flyers to the finals one year.

    If he didn't get afflicted with several concussions, he had a shot at a cup.

    The NHL has its own concussion scandal waiting to break open. Since Pat Lafontaine there have been numerous players who had to end their careers.

    Patrice Bergeron is one hit away and perhaps even Sidney Crosby.

  • Incredulous||

    "They seem to like it."

    They don't have any f'ing choice. How do you know if they would like a non-union job better? You don't since they can't make that choice. Get it, dumbass?

    The NFL is a corrupt organization unfairly exempted from antitrust and anti-monopoly laws. They collude in order to restrict the freedom of labor - the freedom to play football at the age of 18, the freedom to work where they choose or the freedom to negotiate a non-union contract.

    They even negotiate sweet deals with politicians which gives them an unfair advantage over potential new competitors or leagues. This is called crony capitalism or crapitalism. Ever heard of it?

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  • ||

    What good are antitrust laws if a monopoly as crooked and awful as the NFL can just get an exemption? Seriously, fuck the NFL, and not just because my team is the worst team in it.

  • John||

    They don't have an exemption. But the only people who have standing to sue them are other leagues and the players union. There are no other leagues. And the players union agrees not to sue as part of the collective bargaining agreement.

    That is why the players union threatened to decertify during the last lockout. If they had done that, individual players could have then sued for anti-trust violations.

  • ||

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just going by memory, but I don't think the NFL has a general exemption from antitrust laws, unlike MLB.

  • John||

    They only have one with regard to broadcast rights. I didn't know that. But they don't have one with regard to how they acquire their players.

  • ||

    In any case, we can agree that the NFL is crooked and horrible and ruins football.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wait. . .oh, you mean your team in Cleveland. Right. Sorry.

  • ||

    Are the Browns really a "team"? Aren't they more of a loose association of suckitude?

  • John||

    They are a profit making organization whose single purpose is to torture the people of Cleveland while taking their money for the pleasure.

  • ||

    As long as it tortures Warty, I'm ok with it.

  • ||

    Much like the administration of the City of Cleveland, in that regard.

  • ||

    Don't forget that they're run by a thieving hillbilly now. I mean, I guess it's better than being run by the idiot son of a credit card baron.

  • John||

    The NFL always tries to act like they are some legitimate business instead of the crooked crony operation they are. I love how they claim to be so careful about who buys a franchise, yet outright crooks like this guy and Eddie DeBartalo along with carnival barkers like Jerry Jones, mobsters like Al Davis, and direct marketing retards like Dan Schneider keep getting teams.

  • Libertymike||

    John, have you no respect for the dead?

    Al Davis may have had ties to mobsters, but he built the best organization in professional sports - for a while. One make a credible argument that the Raiders were just that between 1966-1984.

  • John||

    I didn't say he wasn't a successful owner. Davis just didn't exactly fit the black shoe pillar of society model the NFL tries to pretend it is.

  • Libertymike||

    Okay, agreed.

    Like Steinbrenner, Davis also had a huge charitable streak in him.

    But, I can't deny that the Raiders became one of the worst run organizations in sports due to Davis.

  • John||

    I think Davis was so successful because he was the first guy to give players real freedom and not care if someone was a malcontent if they could play. Back in the 1960s and 70s, if a player didn't fit the mold or gave coaches any problems, teams just cut them. And Davis was able to collect all kinds of great players due to this foolishness.

    If you notice, in the 1980s when teams started being more tolerant of players' behavior, the Raiders stopped being so good. No way would a talented guy like John Matusak or Ted Hendrix ever get run off a team the way those guys were run off the Colts and Redskins respectively. But back then they and others were and it gave Davis a hell of a competitive advantage.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Kind of like how the Celtics won the 60s with an all black lineup, when that was still uncommon in the league.

  • Libertymike||

    Good point, John.

    To your point, do you remember Howard Cosell referring to the Raiders' "reclamation projects"?

  • Cro's Innumerous Basterds||

    The Cleveland Browns are a Factory of Sadness.

  • Cervantes||

    More like an assemblage of mediocrity.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    What good are antitrust laws

    None. They make things worse, and everyone should be exempt from them.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Awwww, Warty...Cleveland will be back. One day. Once the NFL introduces powder puff rules.

  • Fluffy||

    Antitrust laws are tyrannical and shouldn't exist.

    So if they aren't any good - great. Awesome. Chalk up a win for liberty and free association.

  • Raven Nation||

    So, you're a Chiefs fan too?

  • sarcasmic||

    Sports shmorts. You couldn't pay me to care.

  • robc||

    The union is partly to blame. Without them accepting the draft, it would be dead.

    Of course, since its used to keep the salaries of currently non-union members down, that benefits the current members.

  • ||

    Shouldn't that be 224 men, not 254? Seven rounds, 32 teams.

  • robc||

    They are additional picks due to free agent compensation rules.

  • ||

    Ah, thanks.

  • robc||

  • Pro Libertate||

    If I may, the appropriate picture and caption for this article is a photo of Paul Cohen wearing his "Fuck the Draft" jacket.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Let's say Player X is a highly touted quarterback prospect drafted by Team A. What if Team A has a poor offensive line and a coach prone to recklessness with his quarterbacks? Player X can't turn around and negotiate with Team B, which offers a better line and a coach with a stronger record of developing young quarterbacks. Player X is stuck with Team A, and if that means he's out of football after four years, a record number of sacks and a half-dozen concussions, then so be it.

    He actually can refuse to sign with Team A and reenter the draft the following year. Its generally viewed as a dick move, but the player is allowed to do it.

    Or he can go join a different league.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Alex, who is Bo Jackson?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    One of the times when it isn't considered a dick move!

  • pmains||

    Or, for that matter, Eli Manning. Manning demanded to be traded after being drafted by the Chargers, and he was. He didn't even have to wait out a year and re-enter the draft.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But the threat he made was predicted on the ability to wait out the year, leaving the Chargers with nothing.

  • Houkt Un Fanixs||

    It was a brilliant move on Eli's Part. Seemed everyone outside of the Charger's Organization knew A.J. Smith, "The Lord of No Rings," was a Career Killer.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Yes, but of course the Chargers got a pretty good package in return for Eli Mannning. That's the point of it all.

  • ||

    Eli Manning is a reasonable rejoinder to the above example.

  • Rasilio||

    He was not the first, John Elway pulled the same stunt being initially drafted by Baltimore (the Colts back then) and then refusing to sign threatening to go play Baseball professionally instead (he already had 1 year minor league experience at that point).

    There was another player at the least, Tom Cousineau who was drafted by the Bills in 79 but refused to sign with them, instead he went up and played in the CFL and the Bills later traded his rights to Cleveland for the draft pick they used on Jim Kelly.

    Basically this entire article is baseless because any player with enough talent to not just be thankful to be on a roster in the first place could if he were willing to pay the price it would cost him avoid the draft and pick where he played. Basically it would require his not entering the NFL draft, signing a contract to play in Canada instead, then when that expired coming into the NFL as an unrestricted free agent.

  • ||

    Actually that's an interesting spin. Can you sit out a year and then come in as a UFA? I don't know the rules well enough for that. For late round 1 / round 2 players that would seem the wisest course of action (as playing in Canada would bring with it attendant risk of injury or, more importantly, risk of showing you're not worth the money).

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If you sit out a year you come back into the draft again.

  • Rasilio||

    If you sit out a year you go back into the draft, if you don't go back into the draft, say because you played baseball or basketball or signed with a different league (CFL, areana league, etc.) or even just sit out I think it is 3 or 4 years at which point you become an unrestricted free agent.

  • Paul.||

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  • Sevo||

    Unless there's a government role here, WIH does it have to do with libertarianism?

  • Paul.||

    Like public health departments, we're trying to "nudge people" in the right direction. Or something.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Well, the government threatened to kill the NFL in the late-50s/early-60s under anti-trust laws unless the NFL bent the knee because the teams wanted to collectively negotiate TV rights with CBS. It ultimately resulted in the Sports Broadcasting Act which gave the NFL an anti-trust exemption.

    Specter tried the kill the exemption because Comcast had its dick up his ass, but that's a story for another day.

    Basically, the NFL is pretty tied up in government at all levels.

  • Sevo||

    "Basically, the NFL is pretty tied up in government at all levels."

    True, but there is no coercion. Guys want to play? Play by the league rules.
    Think it sucks because of the draft? Don't watch it.
    It's not like GM where the taxpayers get stiffed.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It's not like GM where the taxpayers get stiffed

    Except when the owners come begging for a new stadium, but that's local.

  • Loki||

    WIH does it have to do with libertarianism?

    There's a lot of government stadium subsidies? Also, people like football. Articles about football generate a lot of page views.

  • ||

    Who says every subject on Reason has to do with libertarianism? Check out the movie reviews, for example.

  • ||

    Seriously, people forget the "culture" part:

    Reason Online is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. (from the about page)

  • Toolbox18||

    I am not sure I agree with your point that abolishing the draft would significantly alter the structure of the modern NFL. Yes, there is a salary cap in place, but this does not account for revenue opportunities outside the league salary. The top athletes can make more from lending there name\image to products, than they do from their salary. There is a significant difference in the size of populations and wealth from NFL city to NFL city. Think NYC vs. Buffalo, the most talented players would go to the Jets or Giants to get a hold of the lucrative NY endorsement market.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Stupid is, as stupid does.

    If you want to see sporting leagues that have virtually no labor restrictions, look no further than European soccer. For the past 15 years, there are basically 5 teams in the English premier league that compete for a championship an a year-in basis.

    If you want a very good example of what the NFL would look like without a draft, Peyton Manning would have been playing for a big market team, Andrew Luck would probably be on the Niners, and Calvin Johnson would be on the Cowboys. It would be even worse in baseball. No draft, means that Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Mike Trout are all playing on the Yankees.

    If you don't mind a leagues where only a few teams have a realistic shot at winning championships into perpetuity, that's fine. At least be honest about it, and say there are consequences that some people might not like in your Ayn Rand utopia.

    Other parts of this article are unintentionally hilarious. On the one hand it bemoans labor restrictions in the form of a draft, but then says it won't be a big deal to get rid of the draft because there are other labor restrictions, like the salary cap. Okey then.

    The whopper though is that somehow the draft contributes to the concussion risk. Seriously, do you actually believe the drivel that you write?

    Dogmatic libertarianism doesn't work for every little part of life. It's not the end of the world.

  • ||

    What do you think about Chicago-style pizza?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It would be in a bigger market if it wasn't for the draft.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    What is the "it" that you're referring to? You might end up with more entities that call themselves professional football teams. You'll just have a few really good ones and a lot of crappy ones.

  • Sevo||

    Deputy Van Halen| 4.23.13 @ 2:44PM |#
    "What is the "it" that you're referring to? You might end up with more entities that call themselves professional football teams. You'll just have a few really good ones and a lot of crappy ones."

    I guess, but it really has nothing to do with libertarianism.
    Don't like it? Don't watch it.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Well, the article is in a libertarian publication, and is clearly saying that libertarian principles would solve all of these problems and wouldn't cause all of these other problems. It's clearly bullshit.

    Of course, I believe that labor restrictions make the overall product better. So I, and about 100 million people watch it. In the long run, the NFL would have a lot few customers if you did away with the draft.

  • Sevo||

    Deputy Van Halen| 4.23.13 @ 2:58PM |#
    "Well, the article is in a libertarian publication, and is clearly saying that libertarian principles would solve all of these problems and wouldn't cause all of these other problems"

    Wouldn't be the first time someone confused their pet issue with libertarianism.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    What is the "it" that you're referring to?

    Deep dish pizza.

  • John||

    The problem with the NFL is that it is hard to set up leagues to compete with it. As far as how the NFL itself works, the teams are just divisions of the same corporation. People need to stop thinking of the teams as being competing entities. They are not. They may be on the field every Sunday. But they are not in the larger sense of competing for business. It is a corporation and its bottom line benefits from a competitive balance among the teams.

    You wouldn't expect any other big corporation to grant its employees absolute choice in where they lived and worked. Why does Reason insist on treating the NFL so differently?

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    If the teams aren't competing entities, then why not have a single committee decide specifically which players go to which team, or why not do draft preparations in public and in collaboration with other teams.

    The point you're missing, and that the author fails to grasp, is that the product itself is competition, which by definition comes with rules imposed by the people involved in it. It's just a matter of how far you want to go. That's debatable, but of course, just be honest about the consequences.

  • John||

    If the teams aren't competing entities, then why not have a single committee decide specifically which players go to which team, or why not do draft preparations in public and in collaboration with other teams.

    You could totally do that if the owners of the corporation decided that was the best way to do it. Why couldn't the owners vote and decide that a central committee divide up the players? The only reason they wouldn't do that is that each team drafting and signing its own players gives its fans a sense of ownership and masks the fact that it is not a team but just a division of a larger corporation.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    So in other words, the owners are trying to create a product that attracts customers? Quick, call Murray Rothbard.

  • John||

    Of course they are. But they are still just co owners in a joint venture. All of this collusion stuff only works if you think of them as being 32 or however many competing businesses. And they are not that at all.

  • Libertymike||

    Since 1970, which has had more franchises win the championship, the NFL or MLB?

    The answer is MLB without the NFL's vaunted socialism. Revenue sharing and salary caps do not guarantee more competitiveness.

    We don't want facts to get in the way of lame anti-libertarian rants, do we?

  • John||

    What the NFL system did was allow teams to keep their players and thus have multiple competitive teams from a given group of players. So once a team has a Aaron Rogers or a Joe Montana, they can keep him for all or most of his career.

    Sure baseball allows teams to rise up and win. But only the big market teams stay there. The small market teams quickly lose their players to free agency and slide back to the bottom.

    Sure football has dynasties. Baseball has them too. The difference is that in football a small market team like Green Bay can have a long run and in football a small market team will never have a long run of success.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    You're moving the goal posts. MLB has had major labor restrictions since the 1960s, including a draft, which the article is talking about, and rules that prevent players from going into free agency until their late 20s. A salary cap, or the lack thereof, is only a small part of the equation.

    The Yankees were able to go out and sign players like Joe DiMaggio and Micky Mantle, and have their dynasties, because there was no draft. The same way the Yankees in all likelihood would have Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, or could at least offered them the most money, without a draft.

    The bottom line is that if you want a sports league that can give 30 teams some realistic chance of competing, a draft is necessary.

  • Libertymike||

    You want Rothbard and success? Two words:

    Branch Rickey.

  • John||

    That is an excellent point Van Halen. Until free agency, baseball was by far the most unbalanced sport. Teams like the Phillies and the Cubs went decades without so much as fielding a competitive team. Meanwhile, the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cardinals were good for decades on end.

  • Libertymike||

    John, take the Red Sox.

    Do you know that they gave a tryout to Jackie Robinson and a couple of other negro league standouts in 1945? It was arranged without the knowledge or permission of Tom Yawkey, the owner. During the course of the workout, which was conducted at Fenway Park, Yawkey appeared and demanded to know why the bleep scouts were hitting balls to "f.............. n...........s".

    Yawkey was a rabid racist. Although he had the dough to sign a Jackie Robinson or a Josh Gibson, he chose otherwise. Thus, he sacrificed a better shot at winning upon the altar of his racism.

    Do you know how good the Red Sox were in 1946? How good they were in 1948, 1949 and 1950? They were damn good. Imagine if they had signed Jackie Robinson instead of the Dodgers?

  • Libertymike||

    Thus, the proposition that the Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers were so good because there was no draft is one not supported by the evidence.

    What did the Dodgers do prior to 1947?

  • John||

    They were very good those years. Just not as good as the Yankees. The Yankees suffered from racism as well. They were the Cadillac of baseball teams. Black players would have flocked to play for them. But they were behind the curve. Think about how good the Yankees would have been if they had gotten a few more of the great black players other than Elston Howard?

  • Libertymike||

    Yes, but my point is that you can't point to the lack of a draft as the reason why the Yankees and Cardinals and Dodgers dominated.

    Look at 1946. The Red Sox won the American League pennant. In 1948, the Dodgers went 84-70 while the Red Sox went 96-58 and lost the 1 game playoff at Fenway Park to the Indians. In 1949, the Red Sox went 96-58 and lost the pennant to the Yankees on the last day of the season at Yankee stadium. Going in to that last series, they were a game ahead of the Yankees. That year the Dodgers went 97-57 and won the national league pennant.

    In 1950, the Red Sox went 94-60 and finished 4 games behind the Yankees. That 1950 Red Sox club was one of the best offensive teams in MLB history. The Dodgers went 84-65 that year.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    @Libertymike:

    You can point to this team or that team being good in a particular year. It doesn't change the fact that richer teams could go out and get the best prospects without restriction.

    It also isn't fair to compare the 1940s and 1950s with today. Back then you had 16 teams. And I'm sure some of them were perpetually bad because they lacked the means to go out and sign the best prospects. So in effect, you really did have a league with labor rules that could sustain only a few teams.

  • Sevo||

    "At least be honest about it, and say there are consequences that some people might not like in your Ayn Rand utopia."

    Hmm. Missed that. What did she say re: The NFL draft?

  • Libertymike||

    Although he did not participate at the combine, every NFL team should consider drafting John Galt.

  • ||

    “There is no such thing as a lousy job - only lousy men who don't care to do it, like Eli Manning.”

  • Libertymike||

    My guess is that you do not like Ray Lewis.

  • Sevo||

    Only Ray Lewis likes Ray Lewis. Oh, and Ray Lewis' mom.

  • Libertymike||

    How about all of those who have been touched by his inspirational life story?

    Did you have a father who abandoned you whom you have forgiven and made part of your life?

    Ray walks the walk.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Getting off for covering up a murder isn't an inspiration to me.

  • Libertymike||

    Fact, AD, facts.

    Do you have evidence that he covered up a murder?

    Not allegations, but facts.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Lewis' own words admitting that he lied to the cops about it.

  • Ruckus||

    That's assuming that draft picks never "bust", and that teams like the Lakers/Yankees would not waste too much of a % of their resources chasing players that fail.

    Hell, Mike Trout was the 25th pick. 24 teams passed on him even in a rigid structured draft environment, so how would he fair in a free market?

    Evaluating amateur talent is a fucking crap shoot in all but a few instances (Elway, Harper, Alex Rodriguez, Lebron James, etc) so even the richest teams would still have trouble fielding talent, even in an open market

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Yes of course there are busts. But, all things being equal, if you have a draft, each team has the same chance of drafting a bust.

    However, if you can spend as much as you wanted on amateur talent, you can throw more money at a lot more prospects. Some will be busts, others will be stars. The teams without that much money would be all but guaranteed to have nothing but busts.

    That's the way it works in European soccer, where teams go out and sign players as young as 14 and put them into these academies. I'm sure a lot of them don't amount to much, but it's a virtual guarantee that the ones who will turn out to be stars are only going to end up on a very select group of teams.

  • Ruckus||

    It doesn't work like this in MLB.

    There is no international draft for players, yet the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and the like are not the ones that completely dominate the free market of international players. Of course there is a competing interests with investing money in amateur drafts and free agents, but still if this was the one area were their inherit financial resources would allow them to dominate, and yet they don't.

    I'm not opposed to a draft, I actually kind of like it. But I'm not convinced that a no draft sports league would automatically lead to the competitive imbalance you are worried about.

  • Fluffy||

    Ayn Rand would not be in favor of using antitrust law to force the NFL to change its draft rules.

  • prs130||

    Comment #8,000,000 finally somebody gets it...

    In a "libertarian utopia" the NFL would have a draft because that's what the NFL owners want. In our world, the players' unions (via the gov't) can threaten "collusive" owners with antitrust scrutiny.

    Either the author doesn't understand this, or the author is merely expressing a personal preference as to how NFL owners should run their league. Either way, I'm not sure what it's doing on Reason.

  • robc||

    The problem with soccer isnt the lack of an NFL-style draft, its the lack of an NFL (or even an MLB)-style revenue share.

    The champions league revenue stuff makes it worse. Unlike Scotland, England was fairly balanced until the CL got big, then it got hard for teams not getting Euro money to break into it. You needed a Liverpool self destructing to open up a spot.

    The worst, and easiest to fix example, is the way the FA Cup pays out. Paying by level achieved, fine. But if you are picked for TV, you get a big bonus check. The TV money should be split among the teams at that level, regardless of which games get picked for TV.

    They have already done one thing to rectify issues, and that is put in a roster size limit. Previously, the variable roster sizes allowed big teams to stockpile good players on their reserve team in crazy numbers.

  • Overt||

    ^This.

    The Yankees are always strong in the MLB because they will always have tons of TV cash to throw around at free agents. They don't recruit internationally heavily or depend on the draft because they can shop for players that have proven themselves in the league.

    In the NFL, all licensing revenue and tv revenue is split across all teams. It is hard for a team to skim the cream off the league with huge money, because most teams can match the pay. This prevents a team that had some financial problems for a year or two from falling apart.

    But this isn't the whole story. Rev Share happened during the 80's and 90's when we still had "dynasties" and the dominance of the NFC.

    The recent competitiveness comes from a combination of draft, salary cap and rev-share. It means that a team has a limited window to get players, assemble a run and compete before they start losing stars to free agency. Of course this is no way to run a market. But I am not interested in a market. I WANT TO BE ENTERTAINED.

  • ||

    Jezebel'ians are all pissed off at MRA (Mens Rights Activists) for "cyberstalking". And admittedly there is some pretty serious harassment going on...

    however...

    When the MRA came to speak at the campus, the wimmins set up with bullhorns outside the hall to try to interrupt the speech and when THAT didn't work, one of them pulled a fire alarm (a criminal act) to get the room cleared.

    Iow, when it comes to speech they don't like, it's perfectly ok in their eyes to try to STOP it from happening.

    Over and over we see feminists having little to no respect for free speech. They have for example torn down pro-life displays on college campuses vs. just countering speech they don't like with their own speech.

    So, considering their massive obstruction of MRA speech, I am having a hard time finding sympathy.

    But the video is amazing. This is possibly the most obnoxious annoying woman I have ever seen.

    http://jezebel.com/rape-and-de.....-476882099

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Since when do people on the left (where feminists generally are) care about free speech, or even pretend to?

  • Sevo||

    "Since when do people on the left (where feminists generally are) care about free speech,"

    They did at one time: McCarthyism.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Over and over we see feminists having little to no respect for free speech. They have for example torn down pro-life displays on college campuses vs. just countering speech they don't like with their own speech.

    That's because even the most ardent left-wing pro-abortion supporters realize that bragging about how cool and fashionable abortion is would be pretty poor PR.

  • Loki||

    a “drafted” player could only negotiate a contract with a single team.

    Although in some cases some players have been able to get out of having to play for the team that drafts them. John Elway was drafted by the Colts, but threatened to go play baseball instead, so he forced a trade to the Broncos. Bo Jackson was originally drafted by the Bucs, but did go and play baseball instead, and was "re-drafted" (not sure is they're allowed to do that these days) the next year by the Raiders to play football part time. In more recent history, Eli Manning forced a trade to the Giants because he threw a fit over the prospects of having to play for the Chargers.

    IOW, it's not like players don't have a choice. They can always just refuse to sign or force a trade to another team. Not that I give a shit either way, but it's not like the poor dears are slaves at an auction. Although I'm pretty sure I've heard some people make that comparison (seriously).

  • John||

    And players are nearly always very happy to sign with whoever drafts them. Further, they interview the hell out of players before the draft. And if you are a guy who says flat out, I hate the bay area, chances are the 49ers or Raiders are not going to draft you. There are a lot of players to be drafted and no one really knows for sure which ones are going to pan out. So most teams are not going to bother with drafting someone who doesn't want to be there.

  • prolefeed||

    And players are nearly always very happy to sign with whoever drafts them.

    "Look, boy, all the other slaves are happy with how their massas are treating them. Why do you keep mouthin' off at me about how YOU are so damn special?

  • John||

    Yeah, getting paid six and seven figure salaries to play a child's game is just like slavery. And if players feel that exploited they are always free to get another job. But they never do. Perhaps that is because they are really well compensated for the horror of being drafted? Maybe it is that?

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    Not to mention the fact that the players collectively bargained for those rules.

  • Sevo||

    "Although in some cases some players have been able to get out of having to play for the team that drafts them. John Elway was drafted by the Colts, but threatened to go play baseball instead, so he forced a trade to the Broncos"

    Regardless, all this occurs within a non-governmental agency.
    If the draft ruins the entertainment value, I won't watch it, and vice-versa. I don't care; I don't own stock in it.

  • Andrew S.||

    Steve Young refused to sign with the Bucs (poor Tampa Bay... could you imagine, in an alternate world, an uninjured Bo Jackson and Steve Young on that team in the early 90s?) and forced a trade to SF.

  • John||

    I thought Young played as a back up to Steve Deberg for a couple of years in TB.

  • Loki||

    He did. And I thought the Bucs traded him because they were dumbasses, not because he forced them to.

    I mean, if he had forced them to trade him because he didn't want to be a career backup, being traded to the 49ers, who had Joe Montana in his prime, wouldn't have been the smartest move. Although as it turned out, it worked out pretty well for him in the end.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    He did. And I thought the Bucs traded him because they were dumbasses, not because he forced them to

    There was also that little matter of them drafting Vinny Testaverde.

  • aliciasable||

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  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm drafting this guy.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I was trying to think of a NFL draft pick thing we could do like the pick 'em but failed to come up with a viable strategy.

    (Also I would suck cause I don't really follow college)

  • Libertymike||

    Well, in order to overcome your knowledge gap, you would engage Mel Kiper, Jr.

  • Ruckus||

    My friend hosts a little draft party every year where we do a pick 'em.

    Before the draft starts we fill out our mock draft for all 32 1st round selections and you get points awarded for predicting the correct draftee in the correct slot (team is irrelevant). Each correct pick is worth 3 points

    Then during the draft, we do an additional running pick 'em where you have till X minutes before the pick is announced to make your prediction. Correct picks are 1 point You can predict a trade in this running pick 'em: 2 points for calling a trade, 1 point for guess ing the correct team, and 1 point for guessing the correct player selected.

    It's fun, fairly fast-paced, and a very simple excuse to drink a few beers.

  • ||

    I'm puzzled. If I'm a hotshot programmer out of college and Microsoft doesn't want me to work in the particular division I'd prefer, well, I might not make quite as much with Cisco, but I can certainly go there. How is this any different? As a hot athlete, I can play in Canada, Europe, Arena, Lingerie, whatever. Or play a different sport.

  • Sevo||

    Old Man With Candy| 4.23.13 @ 3:08PM |#
    "I'm puzzled. If I'm a hotshot programmer out of college and Microsoft doesn't want me to work in the particular division I'd prefer, well, I might not make quite as much with Cisco, but I can certainly go there. How is this any different?"

    Thank you.

  • Libertymike||

    Pure, unadulterated competition without one penny of taxpayer subsidies.

    That is not the case with the NFL.

  • Sevo||

    "That is not the case with the NFL"
    So?

  • prolefeed||

    What if you're a hotshot programmer out of college, and Microsoft and Cisco and every other major company that might hire you, openly decided and declared that you could either work for Microsoft at the salary Microsoft decided to give you, or you would not get to work at any of the dozens of companies at all?

    Would that collusion be even remotely legal?

    THAT is an accurate analogy.

  • Fluffy||

    It should be entirely legal.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    @Old Man With Candy:

    The analogy you make isn't perfect. In your hypothetical it would be Microsoft and Cisco getting together and saying each will get an equal share of entry level candidates from MIT and that they can only make X amount of money for Y amount of years before they can go out and work for the other one without the consent of the owner.

    It's obviously a bad system where the product is software or virtually anything else. As I've said though, the difference is that the NFL is selling competition. However, as you correctly noted, a group of owners could get together and try to set up a "competing" product that has different labor rules. They tried that with the USFL, but it didn't work (not to mention the fact that the USFL was a gambit by Donald Trump to get his own NFL team).

  • John||

    Once again you are assuming that the Bears and Packers are like Cisco and Microsoft. They are not. The Bears and Packers are just divisions of the same corporations. They are not independent competing businesses. They only exist because the league granted them franchises. That what what they call them you know "franchises". Just like McDonalds. They are all just outposts of the same company selling the same product.

  • ||

    Precisely. The NFL is just one collection of franchises out of many. It might be the most desirable sports collective to a particular athlete, but it's not the only one.

    Taxpayer subsidies are a different question entirely.

  • prolefeed||

    They elected to submit themselves to the draft.

    So, you're saying that other people in the past can vote to take away your rights, and that you, as an INDIVIDUAL, then personally agreed to this?

    Exactly. And the players also get all of the benefits of the union like minimum salaries and such.

    What if the INDIVIDUAL does not regard the results of this collusion between the owners to be a benefit?

    These posts are rife with collectivist thinking.

  • Deputy Van Halen||

    And people wonder why I drew Ayn Rand into the comments (unless I'm missing the sarcasm).

  • Fluffy||

    Ayn Rand would tell you to your face that owners can collude to set employment terms if they choose to, and nobody should be allowed to use the state to stop them.

  • Sevo||

    Deputy Van Halen| 4.23.13 @ 3:44PM |#
    "And people wonder why I drew Ayn Rand into the comments (unless I'm missing the sarcasm)."

    Dragging that strawman all over the place must be tiring.

  • Fluffy||

    No, I'm saying that the OWNERS can agree among THEMSELVES the terms on which they will hire players, and if players don't like it they can work for somebody else or start their own fucking league.

    The entire argument against permitting the owners to do this presupposes the existence of antitrust laws that themselves should not exist.

  • prolefeed||

    No, you are saying that a majority of the OWNERS can impose upon a minority of the OWNERS the terms by which they can hire players, and can also impose upon ALL players the terms by which they can be hired if they do not want to go to some marginal little league paying poorly.

  • Sevo||

    prolefeed| 4.23.13 @ 3:58PM |#
    "No, you are saying that a majority of the OWNERS can impose upon a minority of the OWNERS the terms by which they can hire players,...."

    So? If the minority doesn't like it, they can sell. No one is forcing anything.

  • prolefeed||

    If the minority doesn't like it, they can also tell the majority to go fuck themselves, and strike a mutually beneficial deal with players who do not like the draft outcome.

    But then they would get sued in a government court.

  • prolefeed||

    The suing in a government court -- not coercion? Not forcing?

  • Sevo||

    prolefeed| 4.23.13 @ 4:07PM |#
    "The suing in a government court -- not coercion? Not forcing?"

    Enforcement of contract, period.

  • Sevo||

    "But then they would get sued in a government court."

    Yes, because they broke the contract they signed.
    WIH is so hard to understand? Are you suggesting that the government, under force of law, dictate employee practices to the NFL?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    No, you are saying that a majority of the OWNERS can impose upon a minority of the OWNERS the terms by which they can hire players

    Yeah, that's the deal the owners took when they joined the league.

    and can also impose upon ALL players the terms by which they can be hired if they do not want to go to some marginal little league paying poorly.

    Yeah, players aren't entitled to a job at a particular company.

  • prolefeed||

    I wouldn't have a problem with this arrangement, BTW, if the majority owners could not drag a minority owner into a government court and sue them for hiring players that were drafted by another team.

    That's where I have a problem with this -- there are still government guns that will be pointed at players and owners who tell the majority of owners (who voted to take away the rights of the minority owners) to go fuck themselves.

  • Sevo||

    prolefeed| 4.23.13 @ 4:04PM |#
    "I wouldn't have a problem with this arrangement, BTW, if the majority owners could not drag a minority owner into a government court and sue them for hiring players that were drafted by another team."

    Mr. or Ms. Minority owner, do you understand the terms of the contract? And if you break the contract, that we will sue?
    Thank you.

  • Libertymike||

    No, in a free society, no socialist arrangement should be upheld at everybody else's expense.

    That is called socialism.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Are you saying contracts are socialist?

  • prolefeed||

    Are you saying contracts are socialist?

    Not in a free market and a free society where no government guns can be used to enforce contracts that violate individual rights.

    But, for example, if a contract between two people agrees that they will turn me into a slave, and a government court will be used to enforce me being turned into a slave, do you think that contract is NOT socialist?

  • Fluffy||

    You can just work for somebody else.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Are you one of the two people making that contract?

  • Sevo||

    Auric Demonocles| 4.23.13 @ 4:20PM |#
    "Are you one of the two people making that contract?"

    Who are you asking?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Who are you asking?

    That was for prolefeed.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:07PM |#
    "No, in a free society, no socialist arrangement should be upheld at everybody else's expense."

    Sarc or stupidity?

  • Libertymike||

    sarc does not capitalize his name.

  • Sevo||

    Neither does No

  • Libertymike||

    Dr.?

  • Libertymike||

    In a free society, I should not have to pay to have your socialism enforced.

    If there are owners who decide to buck the socialism, too bad for the remaining socialists.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:14PM |#
    "In a free society, I should not have to pay to have your socialism enforced."

    In a just society, you'd be in stupid jail. Go away.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    In a free society, I should not have to pay to have your socialism enforced.

    If there are owners who decide to buck the socialism, too bad for the remaining socialists.

    So you are saying that contracts are socialist.

  • Fluffy||

    "You are not free if you can sign a contract!"

    Whatever, Teddy Roosevelt.

    The primary penalty the owner would face is league expulsion. Are you saying the other owners should be COMPELLED to associate with the defiant owner? Socialist!

  • prolefeed||

    Mr. or Ms. Minority owner, do you understand the terms of the contract? And if you break the contract, that we will sue?

    What if the majority of the owners decide to get together and prohibit any of the minority of owners to hire ANY players at all?

    Or decide to steal all of the money of the minority of owners?

    Or decide to SHOOT the minority owners?

    Are you gonna argue that, hey, they signed a contract, and it is a LIBERTARIAN outcome if the outcome, no matter how repulsive, of the voting by the majority is enforced by a government court?

  • Sevo||

    "What if the majority of the owners decide to get together and prohibit any of the minority of owners to hire ANY players at all?"

    The same damn thing that happens if the majority of the stockholders in company X chose to do something.

  • prolefeed||

    The same damn thing that happens if the majority of the stockholders in company X chose to do something.

    The various team owners are not stockholders in a single company. They are COMPETITORS running different companies.

  • Sevo||

    "The various team owners are not stockholders in a single company. They are COMPETITORS running different companies."

    Bullshit. The owners own a 'franchise' of the NFL with certain voting rights.

  • Fluffy||

    The minority owners can quit the league.

  • Gladstone||

    You guys are aware that the NHL was created in order to kick out the owner of the Toronto team in the NHA?

  • Sevo||

    Gladstone| 4.23.13 @ 4:21PM |#
    "You guys are aware that the NHL was created in order to kick out the owner of the Toronto team in the NHA?"

    Don't tell LM; he's start screaming "SOCIALISM!".
    Or prolefeed. He'll say it's unfair and the government should do something!

  • Libertymike||

    SOCIALISM!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You don't have a right to work for a specific employer without a union contract.

  • Sevo||

    "take away your rights"
    What rights?

    "What if the INDIVIDUAL does not regard the results of this collusion between the owners to be a benefit?"
    Yeah, what about that?

  • Libertymike||

    And if one or more owners decide to sign a player drafted by another team, would you be A-Okay with the league looking to government to uphold its socialist arrangement at your expense?

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:06PM |#
    "And if one or more owners decide to sign a player drafted by another team, would you be A-Okay with the league looking to government to uphold its socialist arrangement at your expense?"

    Were strawmen on blue light special at Kmart?
    There is no socialism involved here, other than local gov'ts being dumb enough to front the bill for stadiums.
    Go away.

  • Libertymike||

    Please identify the strawman.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:23PM |#
    "Please identify the strawman."'

    Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism, Socialism.
    Is if clear now?

  • Libertymike||

    In case you hadn't noticed, we are talking about private entities, subsidized by government, looking to government to enforce their socialist arrangements, at taxpayer expense.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:31PM |#
    "In case you hadn't noticed, we are talking about private entities, subsidized by government, looking to government to enforce their socialist arrangements, at taxpayer expense."

    In case you haven't noticed, that dog won't hunt.
    The fact that local gov't puts up taxpayer money for a stadium in now way allows the federal gov't to dictate employment practices.
    If it did, there would be zero circumstances where the gov't *couldn't* dictate such.
    Go away. I'm tired of you finding socialism under your bed.

  • Libertymike||

    Ah, when have you ever read a post from me where I support the proposition that the federal government should be dictating employment practices?

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:41PM |#
    "Ah, when have you ever read a post from me where I support the proposition that the federal government should be dictating employment practices?"

    OK, what ARE you proposing?

  • Libertymike||

    Let's see how the NFL would do without taxpayer subsidies.

  • John||

    Just as fabulously well as they do today. Owners just wouldn't have big new stadiums to play in. But the league would be just as popular and very profitable, though not quite as profitable without the welfare.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Owners just wouldn't have big new stadiums to play in.

    Kraft would.

  • Libertymike||

    According to leagueoffans.org, the commonwealth of Massachusetts kicked in 70 million bucks towards the construction of Gillette Stadium.

    Don't forget that Kraft attempted to blackmail Massachusetts with his Connecticut gambit.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Just checked, since every reference I've ever seen has Gillete at 100% privately funded. The $70 million was on infrastructure, not the stadium.

  • Libertymike||

    So, that subsidy does not count?

  • Libertymike||

    The infrastructure cost should have been borne by the Patriots, not the taxpayers.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    So you personally pay for all the roads you use by your house?

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:10PM |#
    "The infrastructure cost should have been borne by the Patriots, not the taxpayers."

    So what?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's explicitly not part of construction of the stadium.

  • Libertymike||

    According to whom?

    You are dodging the issue. Why should Massachusetts taxpayers have to fund the infrastructure costs associated with the construction of the stadium?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why should Massachusetts taxpayers have to fund the infrastructure costs associated with the construction of the stadium?

    Because we aren't arguing about whether the government should build roads might now.

  • ||

    They don't. But they won't be bitching to Kraft when the line of cars up Route 1 is five hours long.

  • JohnLocke||

    Because they elected officials who agreed to do it. Elections had consequences, if the taxpayers really cared they would boot the people out of office, democracy in action. The fact that they don't generally indicates that they do not care, or do not care enough.

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  • prolefeed||

    The Case Against Libertarian Paternalism
    There is no practical, objective way for an outside observer to define another individual's best interest.

    Anthony Randazzo | April 23, 2013

    Unless, of course, it is a HNR commenter figuring out what is best for some athletically talented individual.

  • Sevo||

    "Unless, of course, it is a HNR commenter figuring out what is best for some athletically talented individual."

    Yeah, why are you doing that?

  • Fluffy||

    The competitors of the NFL owners are the NHL owners, and MLB's owners, and the NBA owners, and the movie studios, and the video game manufacturers, and every other company in every industry and medium that produces entertainment as a product.

    The NFL owners aren't a monopoly. (Not that I'd give a rat's ass if they were, anyway.) Just because professional players have a very specific set of skills that aren't easily transferable means nothing. Park fucking cars for a living instead.

  • Libertymike||

    Thus, pursuant to your reasoning, Reason is a competitor of the NFL.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:03PM |#
    "Thus, pursuant to your reasoning, Reason is a competitor of the NFL."

    As a competitor for entertainment money, yes.

  • Libertymike||

    But not for hiring galloping ghosts or monsters of the midway.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 4:09PM |#
    "But not for hiring galloping ghosts or monsters of the midway."

    You need to lay off the stupid pills.

  • Libertymike||

    you need to come with more than ad hominems to do battle with moi.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Alright, this did make me literally laugh out loud.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Alright, this did make me literally laugh out loud.

    If I could edit, using some sort of EDIT BUTTON, I would make it clear that this post was responding to liberymike's assumption that he was winning the 'battle'.

  • Libertymike||

    You will note that the entirety of sevo's response to my post was an ad hominem.

    Since when do ad hominems constitute effective or winning argumentation?

  • Loki||

    You never know, some football players may very well have journalism degrees. And a few of them may also lean towards libertarianism.

  • Sevo||

    And if they don't, they can still change tires for NASCAR teams.

  • Gladstone||

    Erm so how exactly are contracts to be enforced since using government courts is socialist? Does that mean contracts are bad or we should be using private courts?

  • Sevo||

    mumble, mumble, stadium subsidies, mumble, mumble...
    See?
    (me neither)

  • Libertymike||

    Argumentation by ad hominem does not carry the day.

    Never has.

    Never will.

  • Sevo||

    "Argumentation by ad hominem"

    You really should learn what a phrase means before you use it.
    No 'to the person' involved; I called your argument bullshit and I do again.

  • Gladstone||

    Also I thought libertarians oppose anti-trust laws? Wouldn't that mean allowing corporate collusion?

  • prolefeed||

    This thread seems to have turned into a proxy minarchism versus anarchism discussion. Basically, we have the minarchistargument "a contract is a contract, not matter how seemingly unjust, and it should be enforced by a government court", versus the minarchist argument that majorities can certainly TRY to vote to take things away from non-consenting minorities, but in a free society the non-consenting minorities can tell them to go fuck themselves.

    In a free society, the majority of owners could vote to institute a draft. The minority of owners and the players who feel this deal hosed them could decide fuck that noise, and agree to mutually beneficial owner-employee contracts. The majority of owners could decide, on the grounds of free association, to boycott the minority of owners and not schedule games with those teams -- but only if there were so few owners in the non-consenting minority that it would not FUBAR the season for the majority.

    And under that system, a cartel like the current system would almost certainly fall apart, because too many people who disagree with the majority of team owners would be better off not abiding by their dictates.

    The current system, if you dig deep enough into it, relies on government coercion via a lawsuit in a government court.

  • Gladstone||

    mutually beneficial owner-employee contracts

    And these contracts will be enforced how?

  • prolefeed||

    And these contracts will be enforced how?

    By private arbitration agencies, not government courts.

    And, by the contracts actually being mutually beneficial ... i.e., either party is worse off if they walk away from the deal.

  • Rasilio||

    "The current system, if you dig deep enough into it, relies on government coercion via a lawsuit in a government court."

    Incorrect.

    Even if you presuppose anarcho capitalism there must be a mechanism for resolving contract disputes.

    In our current environment that mechanism is government courts but they could just as easily be private courts mutually chosen by the parties in the dispute without changing any of the specifics of the case and therefore there really is no coercion.

    The facts are these...

    The NFL owners have agreed that as a condition for membership in the league teams must abide by a common set of rules.

    Among these rules is governance over how teams acquire new incoming talent

    The players so called rights are irrelevant here because they have no right to a job in the NFL, they can go play in Canada, the Arena League, or found their own league if they do not like the employment terms offered by the NFL.

    While it is true that an owner could violate the terms of the NFL agreement said owner and team would be summarily kicked out of the league and replaced by one who played within the rules and he could not force the other 31 owners to associate with him by allowing his team to play in NFL games.

  • Rasilio||

    The simple fact is there is no slavery, not coercion, no force involved in the NFL. You could take the NFL exactly as it is today and drop it in Ancapistan and it would not need to change a single one of it's rules because membership in it as either a team or individual player is entirely voluntary.

    In fact the league would be better off because the coming shitstorm over head injuries would be laughed out of court in Ancapistan and there would be no NLRB hanging over the leagues head should negotiations with the union go poorly.

  • grey||

    I'm not sure why this article is even on Reason. Essentially, its asking that the State interfere with private enterprise and enforce arbitary hiring standards and rules. About half way down the blog it was finally brought into the convesatio - competition is the product, the NFL is made up of franchises. This a rule to benefit the franchise owners by creating a quality product (competition). No different than a fast food franchise requiring standards hiring/product or otherwise or even protecting regions from cannibalization, etc. If players don't like it..create a competing franchise. USFL anyone?

  • prolefeed||

    whoops, first paragraph should read "... versus the ANARCHIST argument that majorities ..."

  • Libertymike||

    Excellent analysis, prole.

    As usual, the anarchist arguments are far more reasoned than those of the minarchists.

    Look at sevo's argumentation. He almost always relies upon short declarations followed by waves of ad hominems.

  • Sevo||

    Libertymike| 4.23.13 @ 5:00PM |#
    "Excellent analysis, prole."

    Got it.
    You two assholes have been false=-lagging some anarchist shit the entire day.
    Fuck you both.

  • Sevo||

    prolefeed| 4.23.13 @ 5:30PM |#
    "And these contracts will be enforced how?"

    "By private arbitration agencies, not government courts."

    Oh, I see! If it isn't anarchy, it's SOCIALIST!
    Go away.

  • hannah42||

    upto I looked at the check saying $8083, I did not believe that...my... sister was like they say truley taking home money in their spare time from there computar.. there best friend haz done this 4 less than fifteen months and recently cleard the mortgage on there house and bourt a brand new Buick. go to, http://www.wow92.com

  • Robert||

    Hell, we draft in the Warrior Football Club. We draft...CHILDRENZ!! http://bronxwarriorsfootball.org

  • kpkfinancial||

    This is an impressive article. Rarely does Reason publish an article with such little substance. How this author manages to trivialize the important points, and magnify trivial points is unprecedented in this otherwise fine magazine. Congratulations.

  • JohnLocke||

    eh... in a free country a private organization is free to set their own rules for employment or membership, and private individuals are welcome to accept those rules and join, or reject them and abstain.

    Why is Reason writing about this?

  • Off A Cough||

    There is really only one company here, and that is the NFL... the individual franchises work under this labor-provisioning agreement as part of the conditions for participating in the NFL program.

    This is driven by choice - that of the League, the franchises, the players union, and that therefore is how the potential employees should consider this.

    This is not the Cowboys vs. the Redskins: that's just one of the entertainment products: products that actually are competing against MLB, NBA, NHL, DWTS, Real Houswives of Fresno, etc.

  • grey||

    We can't have companies and unions deciding for themselves. There must be State intervention. And if competition is ruined and the product sucks and the franchises are devalued and players make a lot less money, at least the State got to try and enforce someone's idea of good. Too many are missing the point, it's not about results, it's about collectively trying to change things for the better. If a few liberties get crushed along the way, so what?

  • Raven Nation||

    What the hell is going on with the time stamps on the comments?

  • Bert McGerkelburger||

    I find it incredibly entertaining when someone who knows absolutely nothing about a topic tries to write an expert opinion about it. This is a perfect example.

    Does this writer know a single thing about professional football, or is she just some hack for a liberal labor attorney trying to apply her UVa degree to an industry that she knows little about? Look at all the pro-union barbs included throughout the text. You are SO obtuse!

    She implies that the draft has nothing to do with the turnaround of teams at the bottom. Have you heard of Andrew Luck? Did you happen to notice how many games they won in 2011 without him and how many they won in 2012 with him? Do you think Andrew Luck would have ended up in Indianapolis without the draft? Not a chance. Yet Andrew Luck is just the latest in a long line players who have been able to reverse their team's fortunes because of the very existence of the NFL draft.

    The history of the NFL is plastered with examples of teams who have benefitted primarily because of the draft, and the parity within the NFL is the direct result of the draft.

    That parity has helped the NFL thrive, and the popularity of the league as a whole is what has made these players millionaires beyond their wildest dreams.

    So get over your liberal bias and leave your inane opinions to someone that knows what they're talking about.

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