(FreedomJournal.com) – NFL owners have been pushing hard for players to accept a proposal from the league for a new collective bargaining agreement in recent weeks. The current CBA between the league and the NFL Players Association doesn’t expire until March 2021, leading many to believe the owners are pressing for a deal now so they can ensure labor peace for another decade.
It turns out the owners have another motivation to get a deal done soon — the possibility that Bernie Sanders could actually become president.
With Sanders as the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination, at least for now, NFL owners are doing what they seem to do best — prepare for the worst. According to a report from Sports Illustrated, there are some NFL owners who are concerned about the stock market’s performance to Sanders being elected president, or even officially named the Democratic nominee.
Sanders has repeatedly trumpeted an equity system that would impose huge taxes on the richest people in the country, and the NFL owners are among those people who could be hit the most. A new CBA with the players now would lock in labor peace during what could be an uncertain time for NFL owners, and it would also allow them to pursue more lucrative deals with media now, before the economy takes a hit.
The good news for owners is it seems their wishes might come true. Player representatives voted to send the owners’ CBA proposal to the full membership for final approval, which could happen in the next few weeks. All that’s needed to put the final stamp on the owners’ CBA is a simple majority of 2,000 players.
Another reason the NFL owners aren’t keen to Sanders as a candidate — the likelihood that a Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders general election would make for quite the TV spectacle. TV ratings throughout the league took a huge hit in 2016 and 2017, and many media experts pointed to the 2016 presidential campaigning between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton as a big reason for it.
If a Trump-Clinton campaign drew plenty of potential NFL viewers away from watching games, then it’s possible a Trump-Sanders campaign could do the same on an even grander scale.
Player reps were concerned about some of the items in the NFL’s latest collective bargaining proposal, but they ultimately voted to send it to the full player membership by a narrow 17-14 margin, with one abstention. If passed, the new CBA would increase the number of regular season games from 16 to 17, reduce the number of preseason games from four to three, increase the players’ revenue percentage and also upgrade the pensions for former players, among other measures.
Of course, all this concern over a Sanders candidacy could be for naught. While he’s currently the frontrunner among Democratic candidates, that could change quickly following the South Carolina primary on February 29, and Super Tuesday on March 3.