LeCharls McDaniel is job hunting. His bank account is dwindling and he's not sure he can pay next month's rent. His union may not have a deadline for settlement of its strike against the National Football League, but McDaniel does.
"If nothing happens by the end of the month, I've got to go home to California," said McDaniel, a cornerback for the Redskins. "I don't want to. That's why I'm looking for a job. If I don't get one, I'm leaving."
McDaniel turned 24 last month. A former free agent who was clinging tenuously to a roster spot before the strike, he realizes he could benefit greatly from a favorable settlement. But with bills coming in and no income to pay them, it's difficult to count on the future. Very difficult.
"Do I still support the union? I really haven't got a comment on that right now," he said. "I like some aspects of the management proposal, but they are talking about cutting four players off the roster. For all I know, one of the those four guys could be me.
"I just want to go back to work. I hope both sides can compromise so we can."
For now, McDaniel is one of the losers in this 56-day-old strike. He has missed eight paychecks. The savings he designated for graduate school are gone. If a new collective bargaining agreement contains a substantially upgraded minimum wage scale, he may get most of that money back. If not, he probably never will regain income lost from the walkout.
"I never thought we'd lose the whole season," said McDaniel, shaking his head.
Some of the red ink generated so far by the strike:
Players have lost $72 million in salaries. Owners have lost $240 million of income.
The average NFL player has lost $45,000. Redskin fullback John Riggins, who makes $330,000 a year, has lost $165,000. Rookie safety Greg Williams, who makes $38,0000, has lost $19,000.
Miami owner Joe Robbie: "I am losing a million dollars a week in revenue as long as the strike lasts."
Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse: "The strike will cost me $3 to 5 million."
Eight Buffalo Bills have applied for unemployment compensation in New York.
Airline charter bookings have lost $240,000. The league estimates cities have lost $2 million per home game in restaurant and hotel revenue. The D.C. Armory Board, which runs RFK Stadium, has lost five home games, at a cost of about $125,000 a game as its percentage of the gate, parking and concessions. RFK vendors and concession stand workers have lost $130,000 in salaries.
The Green Bay Visitors and Convention Bureau estimates Wisconsin tourism industries already have lost most of the $25 million normally generated by the Packers' football weekends.
Seventy employes of the Cleveland Browns have had their hours and salaries reduced by 50 percent. Owner Art Modell says he will reduce his own $200,000 salary. The Kansas City Chiefs have taken out one loan to pay a stadium rental fee and say they may have to secure another.
The three television networks have paid $132.5 million to the league this year. In return, they have telecast just two weekends of games. They now are negotiating with the NFL for a refund of $52 million.
Arthur Watson, NBC Sports president, said advertisers are lined up to pay $385,000 for each 30-second spot during January's Super Bowl. Add in the commercials for the pregame and postgame shows and Watson said, "You have megabucks."
Those advertisers, especially automobile and beer companies, have not found programs that equal the NFL's appeal to male viewers in the 18 to 55 age category. "We think the advertisers will come back," Watson said. "We've had no indication otherwise."
Watson: "This has been a very uncomfortable position since the strike started, but we are optimistic that the viewers will come back once the strike is over. But ratings were down 20 percent after the baseball strike and they didn't come back to expectations until late in the 1982 season. And football has more room to fall."
Pasadena, Calif., site of Super Bowl XVII, had begun a $5-million renovation of the Rose Bowl and surrounding area. "This was done," said Mayor Loretta Glickman, "in anticipation of revenue from the Super Bowl." Pasadena officials estimate cancellation of the Super Bowl would cost the city $4 million to $6 million and the Los Angeles metropolitan area up to $60 million.
The NFL has not canceled the game, but it has told Pasadena officials to release the hotel rooms they had been reserving for Super Bowl week.
"I'm a rabid Redskin fan, but I don't miss the games as much as I thought," said Avery Cousins, a Washington season ticket holder for almost 20 years. "You get a little resentful about both sides. It could be solved so easily.
"I'm getting spoiled. I've found a lot of things I can do now with my weekends. But I won't give up the tickets. If they play again this season, I'll go and if the games are good, I'll get involved in them. The only difference will be, the standings won't mean as much."
Like other Redskins' season ticket holders, Cousins hasn't received a refund. The club says all refunds will be made once it is determined whether any more 1982 games will be played.
Maryland Athletic Director Dick Dull: "I don't care if pro football ever starts again."
No wonder. The Terrapins' timing has been ideal. With the Redskins idle, Maryland's revitalized football team has benefited by added coverage from Washington media. The school is a rare strike winner.
The Washington Federals, the new United States Football League team, are also a strike winner. Instead of being overshadowed by the Redskins, they now can sell themselves as the only potential pro football game in town.
Owner Berl Bernhard says the team has sold almost 8,000 season tickets, 3,000 more than its Nov. 30 goal. "A lot of that has to be credited to the strike," he said. "Fans are looking to us now for a chance to see pro football."
Striking NFL players likewise are looking to the USFL as a possible new employer. But the league says it will sign no player who is under contract to the NFL.
"There also might be a problem with the (NFL) players who normally either would play out their option or have no option after Feb. 1," said Federals General Manager Dick Myers. "There were 144 of them last year, and we could have talked to every one of them about a contract. This year, we aren't sure what their status will be, especially if the season doesn't resume.
"Of course, it's always possible that fans eventually will be turned off by the strike and ignore us, too. But so far, it doesn't look that way."
"I had three or four arguments with my wife last week and that never happens," said Redskins' safety Tony Peters. "It's this strike. I'm fed up with it. All this energy is being built up and it's tough to unleash."
Peters still is a union member, but he is not popular among the NFLPA leadership. He advocates resumption of the NFL season while negotiations continue. On the pro-union Redskins, that is not a well-received stand. But he says he doesn't think he will be resented by teammates once the strike ends.
Peters, an eight-year veteran, says he is being paid "probably what I'm worth." But this strike always centered around 80 percent of the union players who the NFLPA feels are being underpaid.
"If we don't get the right kind of agreement, those are the guys who will be the losers," said Mark Murphy, the Redskins' player representative. "That's why we want a decent wage scale. The one management has proposed would help maybe 10 percent of the players, and the owners haven't increased their wage scale offer since September. If we sign now, we've been out for nothing."
And if the season doesn't resume, no one will win. Even the union agrees with league estimates that there is a 25 percent turnover in league personnel every year, so perhaps 400 players now on strike may never play another NFL game again.
"I think a lot of players have learned something about their lives and about their football careers because of this strike," Murphy said. "We all are in danger of being cut at any time. The strike just makes this reality much more clear."