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the NFL “Locke” out: would Locke approve?

April 7, 2011

To all those sports fans who have been in a coma the last few weeks, believe me when I say I am here with you. It’s as if a black cloud has found its way directly above the heads of any self-respecting sports fanatic. March 11 was a sad day for all of us, Sundays seemed to officially assert themselves as the worst day of the week. Football is way to cope with knowing that you are one day away from going back to work, or in our case, class. Now there is a possible absence of America’s greatest form of ecstasy…football.

Now the question comes, would John Locke approve of the current NFL lockout? I believe he wouldn’t. Locke rooted his theories in the thought that each of us has a right to life, liberty and most of all property. He felt that it was the governments purpose to assure protection and preservation of the property. Most of all, he felt a contract was a binding source of trust that must not be broken, instead upheld.

In the case of the NFL lockout, the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA (Player’s Association) has expired. Despite weeks of so-called “negotiating,” all that was left was billionaires pointing fingers at millionaires. Despite associates from both sides claiming possible deals to have been in place, the sole issue was money, there is now way around it, no ifs ands or buts. Here is my issue, Locke wouldn’t approve of the NFL not allowing players (whom I might add are under contract with there respective teams) to participate in the upcoming season. He believed that a contract, especially in this case dealing with property and the right to play, should not be broken. Since the NFLPA has decertified, players can no longer participate in any activities related to the team whom they are under contract with. If there in fact was no NFL season in 2011, each city with a team would have to pay $160 million in order to make up for lost revenue. I think Locke would see the lockout in general as team owners and representatives infringing upon and taking away the rights of their players whom they have under contract to play. One of the reason’s that the NFLPA was skeptical of giving more money to the owners was because they felt they were in need of money to pay off debt’s from sponsors and other business representations. Locke would see this as money that could and most likely should be going to the player’s, but instead is being taken away from them in order to benefit the owner’s own credit.

This brings us to another point as to whether or not Locke would see owners tyrants. Considering that he could very well see them as violating player’s rights, I think that Locke would agree that owners were acting as a tyranny. Not only are they attempting to take away the player’s right to play, but they are also violating a contract between the two parties. Lock would also see them as acting solely for selfish benefits in terms of asking for more money to pay off debts or even to invest in new corporations. Although it could possibly be a beneficial business endeavor, it would not be helping both parties in the contract, rather only one.

Locke was one who saw contracts as a defining agreement between parties, one that should never be broken unless mutual. With the NFl lockout, not only do we see a breach of contracts, but we see rights of players being taken away because of what seems to be owners and other representatives of the NFL asking for more money without proper cause or reasoning. I think Locke would be wholeheartedly against the lockout, it has now been sent to court where players are suing owners in anti-trust lawsuits. Locke saw the main purpose of government as one to preserve property of the people and ensure that rights were not taken away, especially when a contract has been agreed upon. If the government and congress does in fact have to intervene because an agreement can’t be reached in court, I think you know who Locke would side with. He would stand for the preservation of rights and above all else, to restore football to the homes of every American who seems to have lost hope for a pastime that can’t be replaced.

4 Comments
  1. mi71592 permalink
    April 7, 2011 2:42 AM

    I agree with you completely. Locke would believe that the lockout was unfair and would define the owners as tyrannic. These owners fit his description of a tryant; one who exercises his power beyond right and breaks laws to act on his own behalf. The owners are in no way doing this for the players (adding two extra games) but instead are looking for more profit. The players are signed under contract, and the owners are breaching their contract agreement. Great post and clever title.

  2. Zachary TeBeau permalink
    April 7, 2011 10:30 AM

    I think this post is very relevant to a large part of the news today. I think that John Locke would support your opinion all the way because the NFL is taking the rights away from the players that have playing contracts with the teams. Locke would say that this is unfair because everybody has a right to life and liberty, and If the players had a contract with their teams, then the NFL is required to uphold that or else they are taking away the liberty from the player.

  3. Jacob Miller permalink
    April 7, 2011 12:29 PM

    I believe you are failing to mention that the players are also in it for the money. Granted the owners are seeking a heavy paycheck; however, just as many other professional sports organizations, the athletes are just as greedy as the owners. So, when you say that only one side disagrees with the contract, it actually was both. It takes two people to disagree, thus the reason why the NFL is in this mess.

    As for your interpretation of Locke, not once has the NFL taken the right to life away from anyone. Life would constitute well-being, ability to survive, etc. As we all are aware, the NFL compensates the athletes with a large sum of money and one year (if that’s all it will be) off of a steady paycheck will do little harm to these guys.

    As for liberty, what liberties is the NFL taking away? The right to play in front of thousands of fans? The right to collect benefits from winning games and/or winning the SuperBowl? Well, of course that would be a loss that the organization would have to face; however, Locke’s interpretation of liberty is not related to said luxuries. Rather, he means the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to live without having someone/body infringe on your rights.

    Overall, this NFL collective bargaining agreement is a ridiculous act by the organization to hold as much money as they can, which you stated; however, the relation you present is irrelevant to what Locke actually claims.

  4. jasonkraman permalink
    April 8, 2011 2:30 PM

    I think an interesting thing to review is why the NFL exists in the first place. The athletes have talent that the owners need to fuel their teams. The owners have money to compensate the athletes for offering their talent, work, body, time, etc. Both parties benefit from the agreement and thus the NFL has been a thriving institution for many years. Similarly, a government wants to have citizens because they have necessary things for a government to thrive, namely capital, labor, etc.. The government benefits from acquiring taxes and other things that make it function properly. The people only enter into this government, paying taxes and sacrificing liberties because their best interest is being carried out by the government and the government works towards ensuring the protection of their life, liberty, and estate. However, a people that are being abused by a government has no need to stay with that government and can take its labor and capital elsewhere. Thus, based on Lockian theory, if the athletes aren’t being adequately treated and protected by the NFL, they should rightly take their talents elsewhere to another governing body that can better utilize their talents and afford them greater benefits. If the NFL is not working to its greatest extent to better the people then its purpose is void and it should to cease exist. I do not know how Locke would feel about the “Lockout” but he definitely would be for the athletes to search for a better ruling body than the NFL and its owners.

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