Why No One Cares About Scab NFL Refs
August 25, 2012 Leave a comment
The NFL is using replacement referees during the preseason as the regular refs have been locked out. Apparently refs need a union and the union cannot come to an agreement with the NFL, thus the lockout. The replacement refs have been generally dreadful, though because no one really cares about the preseason complaints have been minimal. No doubt once the Lions get hosed by one of these replacement refs in a real game I’ll be outraged. Of course, I’d be equally outraged if the regular refs hosed the Lions. I suspect most fans are like that, which is one of the reasons why no one really cares about the replacement refs. It’s not like the regulars were highly respected.
Jeff MacGregor at ESPN can’t seem to figure out why fans don’t care about the replacement refs. He goes beyond the absurdity of having Division II and III college refs officiating pro games and looks at the political side of it. What he can’t figure out is why fans aren’t calling these replacements scabs and why there isn’t general outrage over the treatment unionized refs are receiving from the NFL. In short, MacGregor is living in a world long since left by the rest of us. What MacGregor and the folks at ESPN can’t seem to figure out is why Americans don’t care about unions anymore. It’s something the Democrats have been scratching their heads about for awhile.
Only 11.8% of American workers are part of a union. Only 6.9% of private sector workers are in a union. The rest of the folks in unions are public sector employees. After what happened in Wisconsin it seems pretty clear that the public has little to no respect for public sector unions. Between teachers unions demanding higher taxes, more wages and not providing a result and lazy government bureaucrats hiding behind obscene union work rules complete with salary and benefits greater than in the private sector, it’s no wonder unions are generally not trusted or held in high regard. So few workers are part of a private sector union these days that no one sees any need to feel “solidarity” with people in other unions. After all, most of us aren’t part of a union so we have no need or desire to have solidarity.
Just 30 years ago when the government started compiling union statistics 20% of Americans were in a union. Go back to the 50′s and it was likely over 33%. ESPN is shocked that people don’t feel any solidarity with the NFL referees union but the fact is we don’t feel solidarity with any union anymore. Unlike the 30′s-60′s, there isn’t a huge minority of Americans in a union so the unions can’t rally other union members like they used to. The Democrats and the media can’t seem to wrap their head around this fact, which is one of the reasons why they were so surprised when Scott Walker was successful in Wisconsin. The unions have tons of money but they don’t have the power to command 1/3 of the country to stand behind them anymore.
There is of course another explanation to the failure of fans to support the NFL refs. Most Americans hate sports unions because they consistently threaten to take away our entertainment. No body likes the owners but most fans react in horror at the thought of a millionaire athlete striking in order to make more millions. It’s a special sort of obscene reserved for players unions. Still, the refs aren’t threatening to take NFL football away, they’re only threatening to make the officiating marginally worse than it would have been. The fact is, with less than 7% of the country in a private sector union and less than 12% of the country over all, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone when we shrug our shoulders at “scab” workers. We just don’t care about unions anymore.