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Well, the NFLPA is decertifying, the lockout is upon us, and there hardly is anything more to say about the subject.  It becomes a period of watching and waiting to see which group of exceedingly greedy and selfish professional sports groups blinks first.  While I previously have written about how fans feel (generally) about this matter in NFL Determined to Throw Fans for a Loss, it only just occurred to me to give at least one fan a forum to let loose about the unmitigated gall and greed of these organizations.

The whole 2011 season ticket invoicing scheme from most, if not all, of the NFL teams is just starting to make it’s run around the sports talk shows and publications.  Here is an angry email I received from a Philadelphia Eagles’ season-ticket holder, Mr. Robert Whalon, and I reprint it with his permission.  Mr. Whalon brings some serious heat and anger, and it’s a rage that is undoubtedly stoking the angry fire of fans across the nation.  It’s a well-written flame-fest directed at the Philadelphia Eagles and apropos to the entire NFL.

Tony,

There is no disputing the greed of the NFL. The millionaire players and billionaire owners are arguing over how to divide $9 billion of their fans’ hard-earned money. But that greed pales in comparison to what I experienced recently.

As the perfect example of greed, I give you exhibit A: the Philadelphia Eagles.

As you probably know, the NFL is in the middle of a little labor dispute. The owners and the players are currently trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement so that they can continue to extract as much money as possible from their fans. I know it’s a business, and businesses want to make money, but these guys simply have no conscience. That brings us to the Eagles.

As a season ticket holder for the Eagles for the last twenty years, I have enabled these egomaniacs. I’m like the drug “Charlie Sheen” that Charlie Sheen is on. My mindless devotion to whatever the NFL does allows them to take advantage of the fans. Unfortunately every other football fan across the country is the same as me. The NFL has a monopoly and they know it. As a football fan, I either pay the Eagles whatever they want or I can’t watch a game in-person.

So, the NFL and the individual teams know that they have us by the short-and-curlies. That’s where the Philadelphia Eagles distinguish themselves as the, ahem, “Gold Standard” of Greed.

Since there is no labor agreement between the owners and players, there might not be an actual football season in 2011. But that little fact doesn’t stop NFL franchises like the Philadelphia Eagles from insisting that their season ticket holders pay for their tickets a full six months before the start of a season that isn’t even guaranteed to happen. Gordon Gekko would be proud. “Greed is good.”

But wait, I’m just getting started.

The Eagles are usually nice enough to only demand half of the money by this time of year. I could have mailed a check to the Eagles’ offices in South Philadelphia, but since I am so “green” I decided to pay online. Or maybe I just wanted to rewards points on my credit card. Whatever. That’s where the real greed of the Eagles came to light.

When any Eagles season ticket holder went onto the team’s website to pay their bill there was no option to pay only half of the total amount. Normally you can choose the amount you wish to pay, but not this time. After calling the Eagles and getting a busy signal for hours (I wonder why?) I was told that we should just pay the full amount and then click on the “contact us” button on the screen. That would send the team an email where I could complain about not wanting to pay the full amount for my season tickets six months before a season that might not even happen. I did this and eventually got an email back confirming that I would only be charged half of the full amount.

What’s the big deal you ask? Well let me explain.

The Eagles know full well that the average football fan (actually the average American) is basically illiterate these days and they are taking advantage of that fact. If I didn’t call, I wouldn’t have known to click that “contact us” button and demand that I be allowed to pay only half now, as I have always been able to do in the past. And I’m betting that a large percentage of season ticket holders didn’t bother to call.  The average American is also pretty damn lazy, so they just figured they had to pay the entire amount now. You know, six months before a season that might not even happen.

The reason for this “glitch” on the Philadelphia Eagles website is that the Eagles and the rest of the NFL owners’ wallets are suddenly $4 billion lighter after Judge David Doty ruled that the owners couldn’t accept those funds from the networks even if there wasn’t an NFL season this year. Seems that the players union figured out that the NFL wasn’t negotiating in good faith when they agreed to take less for their TV contract in exchange for this little $4 billion safety net. That side deal took money away from revenues that should have been shared with the players under the CBA. More greed from the NFL and the owners.

Well, without that $4 billion, the owners might actually have trouble paying all of their loan obligations associated with stadium construction and the like. So now, owners like Jeffrey Lurie and even Jerry Jones (after building that new bazillion dollar palace of his) suddenly had to search the sofa cushions for loose change. Or maybe just shake down the poor unsuspecting fans.

Yes, season ticket holders have to pay in advance for any tickets that they wish to purchase, but the owners get to earn a whole lot of interest on that money. And if that the amount of money, that the owners like Lurie collect, is suddenly doubled, well then, that’s just a bit more money to keep them afloat in their ongoing struggle to crush the players’ union. The owners correctly assumed that the players would run out of money and get desperate to settle long before the league. Well, without that $4 billion, their plan took a big hit.

This is a disgrace. It’s bad enough that the Eagles charge $10 for a “handling fee,” whatever that means, on all tickets. Or that they charge an additional $1 for any payments made with a credit card. Now they are intentionally deceiving their customers. Someone notify the Better Business Bureau. Or at least tell Jeffrey’s grandmom who gave him every single penny he has. He needs a talking-to.

If  anyone thinks that maybe the team’s website just had a glitch, I’m going to have to insist that you never reproduce because you are so stupid I’m surprised you remember to breathe and we sure as hell don’t need any more of your moronic gene pool out in the population.

The bastards who run the Philadelphia Eagles knew exactly what they were doing. They were banking on their fans being either stupid, lazy, or both. And I’m sure they figured that they could count on the many lap-dogs they have in the local media to keep it quiet as well. Well, I’m here to blow the lid off of this scandal.

The Eagles need to be held accountable for these disgraceful tactics and possibly prosecuted for fraud. Certainly there is an ambulance-chasing lawyer with nothing better to do that organize a class-action lawsuit. I think I’ll contact Carl Mayer. He’s the lawyer who sued the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick over “Spygate”. He’s a fellow season ticket holder (albeit for the Jets), so he’ll understand my frustration and anger at getting screwed over yet again by the Eagles.

The Supreme Court just refused to hear the appeal of Mayer v. Belichick, after it was shot down in the lower courts, but I don’t actually want any monetary damages from the Eagles or the NFL. The Eagles would just raise the prices on everything and it would end up costing the fans more in the long run anyway. I just want to shine a light on these disgusting cockroaches and expose them for the greedy bastards that they really are.

Just when you thought the NFL couldn’t sink any lower than to fight over a $9 billion gold mine, something like this happens to make us realize that there is no bottom when it comes to the NFL’s greed.

Well, I take that back. Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles are setting the bar so low, that I’m not sure it’s possible for any other organization on the planet to go any lower.

Kudos to Jeffrey Lurie. His Eagles really are the “Gold Standard” after all. It’s just too bad for the fans that they’re the Gold Standard of Greed.

Robert Whalon

I don’t know about anyone else, but I had to take a fire-extinguisher to my laptop after I opened that one.  That letter simply sizzles.  As for the story he tells, it’s not just Whalon who has told this story.  I’m sure that the little website “nuance” he could very well be a “simple oversight” – but the timing of it all just seems a little too uncanny.  I know it’s hard to tell from Whalon’s rant, but if you read between the lines – I think you’ll see that’s his implication.

Any other fans having similar experiences?  Post a comment!  Post one before Whalon’s email blows up the entire site!  HURRY!