Full disclosure: I enjoy Bill Simmons [but for his refusal to call the Thunder by name, a tired joke by now] when he is talking sports. But when he moves into politics or economics the poor fish has a lot to learn.
He has never run a business, as is obvious from his opinion about the NFL referees strike. Bill thinks that we are talking petty cash, so why doesn’t the NFL just give in to the refs and be done with it?
Here’s the quote:
I mean … there can’t possibly be any other explanation for lowballing your officials when they make a pittance compared to your overall profits and the well-being of your players, right? If Starbucks baristas ever went on strike, would Starbucks respond by saying, “Let’s just throw homeless people behind the counter” instead of just increasing their pay from $10 an hour to $12?
Lowballing the officials? They make over $5,000.00 for an afternoon’s work. I mean, we are talking Tax the Rich territory here. Go after them, Obama. They make 2,000 bucks an hour. Not to mention their pensions and benefits.
Let’s have an imaginary dialogue to continue.
Bill: But you make so much money, NFL. Those officials make a pittance compared to your overall profits.
NFL: Bill, have you ever run a business?
NFL: Then you don’t understand how I got so rich in the first place. You will never get anywhere doing business the way you suggest. If you fling your money at all comers just because you have large overall profits, then very soon you won’t have large overall profits, but large overall losses. Wealth comes from not wasting your money, Bill.
Bill: What about the well being of your players? Shouldn’t the refs get double their salary to make sure the player’s well being is preserved?
NFL: Bill, are you on crack now? I mean, if crack was legal. What do you think will happen to the players if I bring in other officials? Will they be beaten and injured by the regular refs for crossing a picket line? Don’t you know the unions won’t do that to popular, high profile folks like NFL athletes? Or maybe you think the replacement refs not call penalties for roughing the passer. But why won’t they?
But let us grant, for the sake of argument, the silly assumption that players will get injured because of inferior refereeing. Meaning that you prefer seventh grade children than professional football players, because some of these refs work those games, as well as college games. And when this strike is over, you won’t care at all about those children, will you? They will be forgotten, to break their necks and die for no reason because now you can watch the big boys on TV. Cold, Bill, cold. You don’t care about anyones injuries. You care about being entertained for a little while, on the backs of these innocents. Prove me wrong, Bill. Start a campaign insisting that the best referees go to the kiddy and college games, and the worst to the pros.
In any case, your perverse sense of priorities is also shooting yourself in the foot. If you allow seventh graders to be confined to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives, they will not play in the pros, will they? Same with college athletes, whose games these refs work. If you let the best college players die on the field, the quality of the pro game will suffer more than if refereed by the lesser gifted.
Not only that, Bill, but I am lead to doubt either your integrity or your intelligence. Because why are you blaming the NFL for these injuries, and not the striking refs? Those cruel refs, because they want to be paid $7,000 a game instead of $6,000, are willing to let the players die on the field. For a few pennies added to their already fat salaries and pensions, they will sit on the sidelines and to hell with everyone else. “Let ’em drop like flies, what do we care,” the striking refs are saying. And you, Bill Sports Guy Simmons, are supporting them. For shame.
Bill: But if Starbucks baristas ever went on strike, would Starbucks respond by saying, “Let’s just throw homeless people behind the counter” instead of just increasing their pay from $10 an hour to $12?
NFL: Bill, like Smiling Dave pointed out, you have no business experience. How do you know what Starbucks would do? Let’s talk about a real world example, not a hypothetical. Walmart’s has resisted unions taking over their stores for years, and guess what? Walmart’s is doing quite well, thank you.
But let’s put that aside. Because you are showing great disrespect and being politically incorrect here, Bill. So unlike you. What have you got against the homeless? Do you want them not to have jobs? Do you think they cannot pour out a cup of coffee? Do you think a Starbucks barista cannot do her job unless she has a PhD and a home with a mortgage? You disappoint me, Billy.
Bill: I have nothing against the homeless. Some of my best friends are homeless.
NFL: Why am I not surprised? At any rate, you were also disrespectful to the replacement officials, who have been refs for many years in various leagues.
Bill: But look what a shambles they made of the games. Take a look at this link:
NFL: The regular refs aren’t exactly competent either, Bill. http://www.provencehome.org/refsuck/pages/waltcoleman.html
And, of course, a whole website devoted to NFL refs and their incompetence:
NFL officials, by far the worst in professional sports.
So we are already dealing with the clueless [not the homeless]. And those clueless ones want a 20% raise for the valuable gift of cluelessness they bring to every game.
The more appropriate analogy is this. Would Starbucks replace a barista who regularly spills hot coffee on the customers and then wants a 20% raise?
Bill: Easy for you to say all this. You aren’t a fan.
NFL: OK, then, let’s hear from a fan:
Bill: I’m still not convinced. Let me consult with Dork Elvis.
Dork Elvis: Bill, you gotta do the math.
Dealing with a union means even the worst of the clueless will never be fired for incompetence. The union will fight tooth and nail for his right to make wrong calls week after week. Contrast this with the replacement refs, who are easily given the boot if they mess up.
Bill: You mean like the teachers union and their incompetent teachers?
Dork E: How do you know so much about that?
Bill: Never you mind.