MIAMI - DECEMBER 19: Stephen Ross owner of the Miami Dolphins poses for a photo before his team plays against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Who doesn't love a good millionaires-vs-billionaires fight? Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is just as upset about the ongoing battle between NFL owners and their players as the fans are. So upset, he told the world exactly who is to blame for the threat of a season without football in 2011: the players' union.
"Unions," Ross told reporters on Monday, "have kind of exceeded their bounds, if you know what I mean, in just about every aspect of life."
And the players' union is the worst union of them all, he says.
"Other unions, we’re talking about wages up to $50-60 an hour,” Ross explained. "Here you’re talking about players making $2 million-plus a year. Big difference. There’s a bigger sense of entitlement when you’re making a huge amount of money."
Ross' main gripe is the demand that the players get a percentage of gross revenues.
"Anyone who has been in business who has worked for everybody, you don’t pay players a percentage of the gross," he said. He charged that if the owners give in to the players, the impending collective bargaining agreement "wouldn’t work," because the owners "can’t raise prices."
We're not experts at labor relations, but we're pretty sure unions are not crazy about being told that they don't understand business and that a bunch of wealthy old white guys have all the answers.
With a number of players filing suit against the NFL to prevent a lockout, Ross does not sound optimistic about the courts fixing the labor dispute. "I don’t think anything’s going to be resolved in the courts, because at the end of the day it’s the players and the owners that have to resolve the issues," he said. "The most important thing is that everybody start talking again."
If only those spoiled bratty players hadn't formed a union, right Steve?
"Every single industry that is union dominated, those companies are in trouble," Ross lamented. The NFL is no different. Ross called the NFL "a system that was broke, and it made no sense."
This criticism would sound fair to you, if you bought one of the two NFL teams that lost money in 2009. To everyone else, it sounds like a guy who admits he did not "understand all of the nuances" of the NFL before spending billions of dollars to buy a team three years ago showing more than a little buyer's remorse.