Lyle Lahey Cartoons Signs of Strikes in the NFL by Packertoons
This cartoon (Image 1), featured in the Green Bay News-Chronicle (1975,) followed the unresolved 1974 National Football League Player Association (NFLPA) labor strike and depicts the cultural animosity surrounding pay disparities between rookie and veteran players. The failed forty-four-day veteran strike resulted in athletes playing without contracts until 1977.1
The irony of the cartoon is the contrast in ticket prices being sold to consumers which serves as a visual metaphor for the income inequality between players at the time. Although differences in player salaries had been an ongoing concern for the NFLPA, many NFL fans felt apathetic to the issue due to players’ perceived celebrity status.2
As with the previous illustration, this cartoon (Image 2) was also featured in the Green Bay News-Chronicle in 1975 following the moot NFLPA labor strike of 1974. This cartoon offers perspective on the local attitudes of recent NFLPA labor strikes. The caption reads, “And if you let a paper mill employee work anywhere he wants, before you know it one mill will have all the good workers,” in the voice of a player on strike.
The humor of the comic is presented in the form of hypocrisy from the counter-striking fans who populate a union-saturated community. During the protests, cultural division enveloped Green Bay regarding the labor rights of NFL players. Many members of the community felt players were being selfish or even greedy, condemning their efforts.3
Correct Answer: 1968
- Polevitch, William. “Chasing Legendary Shadows.” In Green Bay Packers: Trails, Triumphs, and Tradition, Historical Society Press 2012.
- Crepeau, Richard C, “Labor Conflict.” In NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime, Universtiy of Illinois press, 2014.
- Crepeau, Richard C.”Labor Conflict.” NFL Football: A History of America’s New National Pastime, Universtiy of Illinois press, 2014.