NFL Fan Voices Silenced at Today’s Owner’s Meeting
Two Super NFL bloggers representing fans who are not part of the NFL owners meeting threatened with arrest
CHANTILLY, Va. – 3-2-11 NFL blogger Jillian Ricard of Miami flew into town today in the hopes of delivering a “Block the Lockout” petition with 150,000 names on it to the NFL team owners meetings in Northern, VA. What Ms. Ricard and fellow blogger, local resident Alex Greer of Washington, DC, got was an arrest threat if they pressed the hotels’ “no solicitation” policy and/or approached the owners.
Not taking any sides, Ricard and Greer as well as 150,000 of their fellow fans just want to have their voices heard at the team meetings. “There are many parties not represented at these talks,” said Ricard. “However, it’s NFL fans who spend BIG money for game tickets, food, merchandise and so much more that should be allowed to have their say,” added Ricard.
The pair showed up at the owners meeting wearing gray t-shirts with the slogan, “Block the Lockout Let Us Play,” hoping to deliver bound photocopied books the size of yellow pages containing the names of 150,000 fans and a cover letter that states: “We the fans of the NFL demand you NOT lock out players in 2011. The players want to play football and we passionately want to see America’s most popular sport.”
Instead of the special delivery, they were turned away and threatened with arrest if they did not vacate the premises by a hotel security guard. “He should not have been so rude,” said Ricard. “After all, I told him in this shaky economy and the threat of a lockout, his job was also in jeopardy. Fewer fans mean less work for everyone in every NFL city. It’s the ancillary workers and business owner who also have a lot at stake here,” Ricard said. They were not being disruptive. All they wanted to do was personally deliver the petitions to the owners. The guard didn’t seem to care or even understand the significance of the issue at hand.
From the USA Today: Alex Greer, left, and Jillian Ricard, right tried unsuccessfully to hand anti-lockout petitions to NFL owners Wednesday in Virginia.
According to today’s “The Huddle,” on USA Today Online, the two “stood in the lobby of the Marriott conference center where the owners were to meet. They brought along boxes of white paper volumes about the size of phone books, held together by plastic ring binders. They said each contained the list of names of petitioning fans.
Their website is www.nfllockout.com.
Greer said Ricard started the movement via her blog; DolfanJill.com.”She really made a push on her blog and just took it from one blog to the next, and we spread it around getting signatures,” said Greer. “We’ve been making the push since about August … all across the country.”
“They told us not to approach the owners directly,” said Greer. “We were trying to give it to them, (the owners) but we were blocked,” said Ricard. She said an NFL representative told them the league would “make sure they are given to the owners.” But she said of their boxes of books, “If they can’t guarantee us delivery, why would we leave them?”
Thirty-one of the forty or so binders did eventually make into NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy’s hands. McCarthy who recognized Ricard from a meeting in Dallas at the Super Bowl agreed to transport the binders to New York. Two of the binders were delivered to NFLPA headquarters in Washington, DC and two were given to reporters. On a side note, NFL Network reporters were on hand to cover the meetings and did videotape the attempted delivery. According to Ricard, they were forbidden to air the segment by the owners.
NFL team owners have been negotiating in earnest for the last several days with the NFLPA (NFL Players Association) in the hopes of finding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before a threatened lockout this Thursday at 11:59 PM. Neither party could not be reached for comment.
On her blog today, Ricard wrote: “Today was about informing NFL owners where fans stand in regards to the lockout. To remind owners that without fans and our support there would be no football. We account for 1/3 of the pie, (owners & players 2/3) and fans should have a say or at least have our voice considered (before the final decision to lockout the players is made).
So today I set out to remind owners that they were fans once, to remember why they loved the game and to hear what fans really have to say. Success to me is defined as taking a chance and feeling confident you did everything to succeed. So yes I was successful.
I took a chance to give fans a voice, to give footballs tradition the respect it deserves and thanks to press the message will trickle out. Block the lockout and keep yelling football fans, this is our game too!”
Recap By: Steven Rosenberg