"Think of the National Football League not as 28 separate entities, but as one entity, like Mobil," Mark Murphy, Washington Redskins safety and player representative, urged last night at a National Press Club panel discussion entitled "Is Money Ruining Professional Sports?"
"Would gas stations bid with each other for employes?" Murphy asked.
Murphy was trying to explain why free agency does not work in the NFL, where "95 percent of the profits are shared among the owners." Thus, with free agency not a viable route to increased earnings, Murphy argued, the players' proposal for 55 percent of gross revenues generated by the NFL is a fair one.
Also on the panel were William Giles, president of the Philadelphia Phillies, and radio commentator Morris Siegel. Giles, who said he did not believe in profit-sharing for baseball, complained that his sport's biggest problem was that "owners can't make any money anymore. Only eight out of the 26 clubs will make money this year."
Siegel responded to Giles' suggestion that a limit be put on player salaries by saying, "Only if a limit is put on owners' profits."
On the subject of a possible NFL players strike, Murphy stressed that "the players do not want to strike. The people hurt the most by the baseball strike were the fans . . . But if we're dealing with management who refuses to bargain in good faith, then the only weapon we have is to withhold our services--which is a nice way to say strike."