September 10, 2010
Minutes before the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings kicked off the 2010 NFL season, players from both teams stepped on the field and raised one finger into the air in a show of union solidarity.
The move was a public message to owners that players are united in negotiations for the upcoming collective bargaining agreement, which threatens to derail the 2011 season.
Union representatives from each team came up with the idea earlier this week. "Even though five minutes from then we were going to go out and bash each others' heads in," Saints quarterback Drew Brees(notes) said, "we're all one voice." The players hope every NFL team will do the same thing this weekend.
As a show of union solidarity, this isn't something that's going to go down in the annals of labor movement history alongside the textile workers strike or "Norma Rae", but it's an effective way of drawing attention to the cause. Whether it backfires -- men who get paid millions to play a game generally don't get much sympathy from the public (see: baseball strike, 1994) -- is anyone's guess.
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