After attending a screening Wednesday of HBO's new documentary about Curt Flood - which premieres July 13 (see video tease below) - Marvin Miller, 94, was asked about the current labor difficulties for the NFL and NBA.
He said he didn't know much about the NBA's situation, but he did weigh in on the NFL. Guess who's side he's on!
"I think in football it appears that finally they have some leadership that understands what’s going on,'' Miller said. "I don’t think most of the media understands, or at least they haven’t written about it. You’ve got to consider the football thing for what is. And what it is is an industry that not too long ago was a marginal industry, which now has become THE professional team sport in the United States, and perhaps in the world. An industry which was barely making it and has gross revenues of close to $9 billion a year, with every indication that in the next 10 or 15 years they’re going to double that. They are the wealthiest of all the team professional sports.
"But despite that, the players have the lowest salaries of any of the team sports – baseball, football, hockey, basketball. They have the shortest careers. They have the worst and most serious injury rate. And nobody is writing about this. Here’s this industry that has gotten to be a $9 billion a year industry. I defied one newspaper man who was asking me about this. He was challenging what I was saying. I said, 'Tell me about your opposition to the players striking.' He said, ‘Well, the fans, etc., etc.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but tell me what the players are demanding.’ He said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Tell me what they’re demanding.’ There are no demands from the players! Nobody’s writing this.
"This is entirely caused by a $9 billion a year industry with their demands that despite their affluence the players should give them a billion dollars off the stupid salary cap. That the players with the worst and most serious injury rates should have their season extended with two additional games. And that’s what’s causing the problem. And no reader picking up a sports page is going to be able to come out with an appropriate conclusion based on what I just said, because they don’t know that. That’s what I think about football.
"I know less about basketball. I don’t know the leadership there. I do know the new leadership in football and I think DeMaurice Smith is a bright man who’s going in the right direction."