This past Wednesday the issues between the NFL owners and the players' union began in a Minnesota courtroom while the fans of the great game of football have to sit back and wonder, "what does all this mean for us this season?"
Fans want to know that they will be able to see their favorite team hit the practice field this August, and even more importantly, that they will be able to cheer with passion and excitement for their favorite team this fall while WATCHING THE NFL. It is frustrating for all of us that this has been drawn out and that it is now being fought openly in a court of law.
For me, not only as commissioner of Team Teal – but as a former player and current fan, this labor dispute has frustrated me immensely. I have seen all the momentum that we created around Team Teal come to a screeching halt. Because of the lockout, our fans have taken a wait and see attitude, and part of me understands why.
Their comments include "why should I commit when the players and owners can't get their acts together?" Some fans, as a sign of a protest, are saying that they won't renew or purchase new season tickets until the lockout is over. The problem is that the only people hurt by this stance is all of us. I am afraid that the frustration being shared by many of our loyal fans unfortunately misses the bigger picture.
By not renewing or purchasing season tickets, we are putting ourselves right back into the position that we fought so hard to get out of last year. If we have an empty stadium this year no one will give us a break because there was a lock out. All they will talk about is how last year was an anomaly and we are right back to being "blackout city". The national media will renew their stance that Jacksonville doesn't deserve a team and that it should move. Frankly, going backwards from what we accomplished last year is unacceptable.
I am asking you once again to support our team for all the same reasons I talked about last year. The Jaguars are making this a no-risk scenario for you. Meaning, if they don't play football, not only do you get your money back – you get it back with interest. With that said, I know in my heart they will get this worked out and we will be playing football!
The bottom-line is this; the Jaguars remain an important asset to our community when it comes to economic impact, the non-profit community and the current and future identity of our entire region. The team and the fans are one - always have been, and always will be. We can't do this without you, the great fans of the Jaguars.
Remember, WE ARE JAGUARS!!!