March 25, 2011
Fans are getting involved in the NFL's labor battle.
A Cleveland businessman is suing the National Football League and its teams, claiming his right to buy tickets through his personal seat license has been violated because of the lockout. Ken Lanci, a self-made millionaire, has asked the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to overturn the lockout that is threatening the 2011 NFL season.
He is seeking $25,000 in breach of contract from the Cleveland Browns and the same amount from the league and its teams for contract interference.
In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Lanci summed up his complaint:
"It's a fight between billionaires and millionaires. There isn't any sympathy for multi-millionaires. It's just not going to happen. And somebody has to stand up and say, 'Enough's enough.'"
In other interviews he's called out the owners for being greedy and players for being ungrateful for making so much money when many in the country are suffering. But isn't he a millionaire himself? Was this lawsuit filed from a glass house?
I'm so confused. Between the billionaire owners and the millionaire players and the millionaire businessman who is calling out his rich brethren, I don't know who to root for. This is like watching a Soviet Union-East Germany hockey game from the 1976 Olympics.
Since everything I know about the law was learned from staying home sick from school and watching "Matlock," I can't speak to the validity of the lawsuit. However, on the surface it doesn't appear to have much merit. As I understand it, PSLs give buyers the right to buy season tickets. As long as there's a refund policy, where's the breach of contract. (And this ignores the fact that the lockout is still five whole months from canceling games.)
Kudos to Lanci for stepping up and trying to force the NFL's hand, but this isn't the way a lockout is going to end. It'd be more effective if wealthy fans like himself said they weren't going to buy tickets even if a lockout is averted. If enough of that happened, then the league might have to take notice.
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