Are You Ready For The Pregame Salute?

How will you feel when, right before kickoff, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers players walk onto the field and salute each other in a solidarity gesture in reference to the collective bargaining process?

You know they will. In fact, you can be pretty certain that every team in the league will follow the lead of the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, who made the gesture during Thursday's NFL kickoff game.

Giants players questioned about it were fully supportive of the move made by the Viking and Saints.

Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said if fans could see the players' positions they might be able to have an actual influence on the process.

"They probably have a bigger voice than they understand that they do," Kiwanuka said. "So if the fans are against the lockout and come out and support the players and our side, they can probably do a lot more than they think they can as far as avoiding that situation."

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora said the country's economic problems may make it hard for fans to choose sides when billions of dollars are involved.

"It's important for everybody to know what's going on what the issues are," Umenyiora said. "Because from the outside looking in it could probably seem like two groups of people who are making a bunch of money who are squabbling over semantics. So I think it's important for people to know that nobody wants to get the short end of the stick here. Because I see where the owners are coming and I see where the players are coming from also."

But Umenyiora said the labor situation went beyond the money and reached to the personal lives of players.

"We don't want to alienate the fans. We don't want to make them think that we're just a bunch of greedy people walking around. But at the end of the day we still must do what we have to do," Umenyiora said.

The NFLPA has also released a statement regarding union solidarity. Here is part of it.

To the Players who have come before us, fought and paid the price for pensions, health care and free agency—to men like John Mackey, Alan Page, Dan Marino, Freeman McNeil, Boomer Esiason, Reggie White and Kevin Mawae;

To the stadium workers, officers, businesses and everyone who gets their hands dirty working for this game;
To each and every player who risks everything for the thrill of this game;
To everyone who loves this game and lives as we do for kickoff;
And to the few who stand against us;
The Players and fans will STAND AS ONE."

That's all well and good, fellas. But, don't drag the fans into your fight. All we care about is that there are games on Sunday and Monday. If there aren't, we will be just as ticked off at you as we will be at the owners.

This is not what I really wanted to talk about as the season-opening kickoff approaches, but it's out there.

How worried are you about whether or not there will be football in 2011? And, if that solidarity gesture spreads league-wide will it bother you, or don't you care?

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