Ken Lanci, Jouster of Field Goals –CagleMay 2011
Bits and Pieces
It is May. The flowers are in bloom, love is in the air, and it won't be long until us still-thawing residents of the northeastern United States flock to the beach in search of sun, sand and surf.
But then there are those for whom this time of year is but a reverse hibernation period, an inconvenient annoyance until September rolls around and the dolce tones of Hank Williams Jr. thunder throughout the land with the proclamation: "Are you ready for some football?" Not so fast, son, for them football–ers have done been locked out by management.
As of press time, National Football League owners and players remain deeply entrenched. But, in the unlikely event that there was any significant movement from the time this was written until the present, well, NFL fans can send thank you notes to the owner of a printing company for having played a role in bringing about the peace.
The term "hero" is often carelessly bandied about these days, but Ken Lanci may well end up being a difference maker in the scrum between NFL owners and players. Left to their own devices, neither side would be apt to do the right thing and reach a settlement for the benefit of the paying public. So Lanci, chairman, CEO and owner of Cleveland-based Consolidated Graphics Group—and the holder of 10 personal seat licenses (PSLs) to watch the Browns—took a most logical approach:
He sued the NFL, seeking more than $75,000 in damages.
And why not? When you're dealing with two parties that are solely focused on making money and have little to no regard for the people who have made them obnoxiously and undeservedly rich, the best way to get their attention is via a mighty drop-kick to the wallet.
Lanci filed suit seeking to end the lockout that could very well wipe out the entire 2011 regular season and the playoffs. He contends that the lockout violates the terms of his PSL contract and his ability to enjoy a full slate of home games.
"What tipped the scale for me is the labor issue between millionaires and billionaires, and the fact that they can't settle it when the country is in a recession," Lanci told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
It would be quite fitting if the PSL leads to the undoing of the owners and players. The license is a shameless cash grab concocted by the owners to force football fans to pay an extra fee that gives them the right to buy a season ticket for a specific stadium seat. For a side dish of galling, consider that many stadiums around the league were financed using taxpayer dollars; and owners show their appreciation by sticking it fans, twice. Oof!