James Park, blogger for the National AFL-CIO in D.C., reports on Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers union connection:
Just a week after Natalie Portman and Melissa Leo gave shout outs to their union at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, two more high-profile union members were in the spotlight. On Super Bowl Sunday, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ team rep. for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), took home the Super Bowl MVP award. The same day New England Patriot alternate rep. Tom Brady was named Offensive Player of the Year for the 2010 season.
It is rare for two such high-profile players to serve as team reps., but both Rodgers and Brady are strong supporters of the union. When he was introduced as the Packers’ new team rep. last October, Rodgers made it clear that the union is important to him and his teammates. He spoke out about how the prospect of a lockout in the 2011 season would hurt the community as well as the players.
I think that’s one thing we’re trying to remember through this whole thing that’s coming down here….This lockout is bigger than just the players. It’s bigger than the players vs. the owners. This is a deal that affects more than just 53 of us [the Packers’ players].
Team owners opted out of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA two years before it was due to expire, saying it isn’t working for them. But they refuse to provide audited financial information to explain what is wrong in a business that generated $9 billion in 2009, during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
On top of that $9 billion and whatever they made in this football season, the owners will rake in another $4 billion next season even if there are no games because CBS and the other networks that air NFL games have agreed to pay that amount to the NFL even if there is a lockout. In other words, because of CBS and the other networks, the owners have lockout insurance.
Rodgers told Green Bay fans in October:
We all stand behind [NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith] and the NFLPA and we believe in them and that they’re going to represent us the right way and come to a deal as quickly as possible to get this thing resolved.
We realize how much this means and affects not only us but this community.…It’s going to be a tough fight. But we trust in the end everything is going to turn out the way it’s supposed to.
This Super Bowl also had another strong union tie. Both Green Bay and Pittsburgh are blue-collar manufacturing cities with rich union histories and where manufacturing is still a major industry.
(To view the article on the National AFL-CIO Blog visit the following link: http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/02/07/union-rep-aaron-rodgers-is-super-bowl-mvp/)