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Songs of freedom

first_img“My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died land of the pilgrims’ pride; from every mountain side let freedom ring.” (Patriotic Devotional Hymn) When you pick up the NPC on July 4th; you will most likely be celebrating the emancipation of America from the shackles of British Colonialism in 1776. Will you do me a favor? Pick up an extra case of Old E and marinate the ribs for a day with fresh not powdered garlic and “Morton’s Tender Quick” because that’s just the way that I like em. What, you say that I am living in a fantasy? Are you also saying that I am not worth the extra fifty bucks that you would have to fork out for the pleasure of my company? Well I am just going to have to take my companionship to another cookout because I am free to move about the country, even without the “permission-ary” and customary “dings?” Well at least according to SW Airlines I am.Do I seem to be rambling? Heck yeah. Do I really care? Heck no.One of the primary reasons that our system of government and economic policies entice and attract so many other cultures to our fair shores is the promise of spiritual, economic and political freedoms; oh except when it comes to sports.If you take a closer look it appears that there are a few “covert” guarantees and options in place to insure that the majority of sports team owners control the ebb and flow of the dough by as what Malcolm X used to say; “any means necessary.”Why should the owners have the right to include in any collective bargaining agreement stipulations or conditions that remotely mention restricted or unrestricted free agency? This effectively amounts to indentured servitude with pay.If Heinz wants to sell bottles of ketchup for $100, no one can tell them that their price is too steep. And on top of that Giant Eagle can’t come in and say that Heinz is pricing them out of the market and Heinz must give them a chance to negotiate a fair price because they have been selling Heinz products for the last fifty years and they are one of the prime reasons that Heinz is still afloat? Sound farfetched? Well it isn’t. Any producer of products and any provider of services should be permitted to shop their wares to any and all buyers anytime they choose. Why should athletes on the college, professional and even in some rare instances high school (LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Moses Malone) be forced to play for no pay or less pay than they are worth. “For amber waves of grain.”All you have to do is look no farther than the Pittsburgh Steelers and how they are handling contract negotiations with Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. The Steelers seem to be content to “unleash the Kracken” on Wallace and Brown getting all that they possibly can from these players before they will “unleash the dollars.”Brandon Burnett featured columnist for Bleacherreport.com recently said:“There’s no doubt that star receiver Mike Wallace is overdue for a fat payday, but he’ll get his at some point this year. After a breakout campaign in 2011, it’s now fellow speedster Antonio Brown’s turn to be severely underpaid. Brown has a base salary of just $490,000 coming his way in 2012 and will soon follow in Wallace’s footsteps as a restricted free agent in 2013.”I thought the natural vibe that athletes tapped into was for the chance at getting paid, not underpaid. Now is the chance for the Steelers to work out decent deals for both of these talented athletes.Steelers 100 “Zillion” dollar quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t be worth a plug nickel if he doesn’t have any wide receivers to toss the rock to. “By the dawn’s early light.”All I keep hearing is; “what they don’t deserve.” What about, “What they do deserve?”Pittsburgh and America over the last 245 or so odd years has been a blue collar town and nation. People have shed blood and died attempting to get better wages and working conditions. How many times have you seen people at various union protest sites with signs asking passing motorists’ to “honk your horn” if you support the ACLU or the SEIU when they were in the midst of serious wage negotiations or a full blown strike?How many horns do you hear honking and how many headlights do you see flashing in support of Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown. When either one of them catches the winning touchdown pass to send the Steelers into the postseason with a guaranteed home playoff game; all the hotel maids and front desk clerks, cabbies, restaurants, bars, Ducky tours, clothing stores, gas stations and gas station attendants’ generally work a little overtime. “Oh say can you see how I can get paid?” I’m out.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741.)last_img

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