Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Movie The King’s Speech, George VI came back into the view of the American populace. If it weren’t for that movie, most Yanks had long since forgotten George VI’s role as a wartime leader and the fact he ruled sovereign over a quarter of the world.
Much as he did through the Second World War, His Majesty George the Sixth, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, and Last Emperor of India endeavors to lead us through the darkness of the NFL Lockout.
In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.
For the second time in the lives of most of us, we find ourselves as a realm mired in the midst a labor stoppage in the National Football League.
The last time I spoke on this subject, we were still hopeful that cooler heads would prevail; that the knot of war would not be drawn so tight the only means of escape would be to cut it. However, that hope has evaporated like some much fog over the Thames. We now find ourselves over 100 days into a dispute that now is threatening to effect real events that matter in the lives of all of my loyal subjects. A mere fortnight from now lies the normal opening dates of training camps; a mere fortnight after that the first exhibition matches. Two months from today we shall find ourselves on the precipice of the NFL season, and I fear we then shall be no closer to a resolution than we are now.
Again and again, we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those led by Herr Goodell; those who are now our enemies. As we all know, that effort has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict, for which we are called, with our allies, to meet the challenge of a principle which if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized league in the world.
It is a principle which permits a league in the selfish pursuit of power to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, to disregard the health and safety of its players, and to disregard the fair economic cornerstones upon which this realm was founded. These are canons in whose defense many before us have given the ultimate sacrifice, and in whose defense many more shall. So that those sacrifices not be made in vain, and so that those in posterity not suffer the oppression Herr Goodell and his minions would visit upon all of us, we must not and will not stand for any principle which sanctions the use of force or threat of force, be it economic or otherwise, against the sovereignty and independence of other leagues.
This is why the propaganda now coming from the mouths of our enemy is of a most hateful and vile nature. Herr Goodell and his minions would have you believe that the dark days of the labor stoppage are near an end when nothing could be further from the truth.
Our enemies would have you believe the dark days of the lockout are near an end; that both sides are close to an agreement which would end this terrible conflict. Our enemies would have you believe that many of the issues that led to this lockout have been resolved. That is true. But the lies are not in the words they speak; it is in those they do not.
Much like the struggle we as a realm faced against the evils of fascism, the players union has entangles itself in a battle for the protection of generations past, present, and future. While these battles are of the noblest cause, they are also the most difficult from which to extricate one’s self.
First, there is the matter of the generations past. The players union has made the funding of a pension fund mandatory to any collective bargaining agreement. The owners entered into this fray largely over money, and such an expenditure is hateful to them. This matter is further complicated by the fact the retired players have been empowered to have a say in any final agreements.
As for generations present, the owners want a 18-game schedule; a proposal which was a “line in the sand” issue for the players just a few months ago. It is also an issue which has scarcely been mentioned in all of this puffery about an agreement being near.
Then there are the concerns for posterity. Specifically, the matter of the rookie salary cap structure is yet another matter of contention. The owners and even some of the players would like to see a structured salary cap in place, but other players and many agents are not likely to go willing into an agreement which will cut their income.
One need not even delve into the details of those issues to see they are not easily resolved, and it is their omission in any talk of settlement which must give us cause as a realm to remain vigilant against, to remain dedicated to the defeat of, and to remain committed to the vision of a world without such a primitive doctrine that might is right. Without the agreement to the aformentioned generational matters matters, there can be no peace, and without peace, their can be no agreement.
May He bless and keep us all.
- King George VI