Sultans of Spin: The battle for the hearts and minds of NFL writers and fans

In the grand scheme of NFL writers I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to my place, I'm a small fry in the macrocosm of sports-writing. Despite this, sometime back in January my name made it on a mailing list; someone, somewhere decided I needed to become part of the PR machine involving both the NFL and NLFPA.

It's now May 26th, and in the four months of being part of this labor dispute 'spin cycle' I receive no less than five emails a week asking me to sign a petition to remove the lockout, get the 'true story' on the player's demands or any other number of vapid attempts to try and sway my opinion on this issue.

This stimulates the thought that if half the time and resources being dedicated to spin was being spent on negotiating, I have no doubt a deal would be done by now.

The worst part about this PR machine? It's working...

More after the jump

Part of me perfecting my craft is to read as much good sports-writing as I can, even when it doesn't pertain to football. As such, I follow scores of sportswriters on Twitter to have easy access to the stories written by those I respect. Unfortunately, many of these well known writers have become victims of the hype machine themselves.The majority once presented themselves as being impartial are now drawing their line in the sand and pushing an agenda; subtly parroting the message of NFLPA representatives and admonishing the owners. Similarly, some are firmly with the owner and critiquing every move by the players.

When does the madness stop?

This gets dangerous because fans are intelligent enough to smell something afoul from the NFL or NFLPA, but when a writer they respect are subtly conveying a message it goes beyond reportage and becomes propaganda, which can be a lot harder to pick up on. It's hard not to be cynical and think this is out of some desire to curry favor with the players, or owners to open up new doors when the lockout it over- and it's getting a little disgusting.

One of the few writers I've seen who has remained resolute and refrained from picking a side is Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly, for that alone he has my utmost respect. I would hope more writers would follow this same path. Leave the fighting up to the billionaires and millionaires and do what you're supposed to- report, as fairly and unbiased as you possibly can.

To the NFL and NFLPA: Cut the crap, stop pretending. Football fans are a smart breed and we know neither of you really care about 'bringing back football'. You both care about winning for your side. This has become the legal Superbowl, and while it's your right to exercise the legal process to the fullest, please, stop pretending you have the fans interest at heart. If you really did, then the time and effort spent asking me to sign petitions or listen to conference calls would be spent on getting a deal done.

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