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Forget taking sides, I just want my NFL football-By Doug Gorman

Late Wednesday night we put up a new poll question on our sports website that simply asked who are you siding with in the NFL lockout?

The choices were simple: The owners, the players or I don't care.

For me, the most logical choice is I don't care.

Problem is I do care. I love pro football and the thought of losing it even for a couple of Sundays next fall saddens me.

For years, Sundays in the fall have centered around church and NFL football as long as I can remember.

But it goes deeper than that.

I don't understand either side's viewpoint. Granted, I could chalk it up to not having a firm grasp on labor relations, or I could just ask the same question I have blurted out every time there has been some sort of work stoppage involving a professional sports organization:

Why?

Why do pro athletes need to go on strike when they are already making more in one season then the average hard-working man with a family to feed and kids to put through college will earn in a lifetime?

Why do owners need the extra cash that would be generated from extending the season two extra games?

Why do these same owners make season ticket holders purchase tickets for meaningless exhibition games as part of the regular season package?

Is it to generated more greenbacks?

One thing is for certain, it's likely to get really nasty before cooler heads prevail and we get around to "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" again because finally there is no lockout, only football games to worry about again.

There is such division between the two sides, it's made its way into a district court in Minnesota.

U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, the women assigned to hear the case, is urging the two sides to come to an agreement. That sounds like solid advice to this untrained legal mind.

The players want her to lift the lockout so they can get back to work now.

A temporary fix isn't the answer because in the end drive, it would only drive the two sides apart even more. It would also force the judge to make some unpopular law-based decisions down the road.

It's a shame our court sytem has to be clogged with striking NFL football players and owners. To the outsider look in, no matter how you slice it, it boils down to greed.

In a perfect world, the two sides would adjourn to a room and stay there until a new collective bargining agreement is reached and both sides get down to the business of getting ready for training camp and the upcomimg 2011 season.

Locally, the Southern Crescent is full of talented players who have made it to the NFL.

Guys like Jonesboro graduate Harry Douglas have worked hard to earn their place in the league.

Douglas is a class act, who I have known since he was in middle school. He and his brother Toney (a NBA guard with the Knicks) come from great parents and have worked hard to get to the top. I hope he has a long future with the Falcons.

Whenever I see him, he genuinely seems glad to see me, often greeting me with a firm handshake.

Tashard Choice came out of Lovejoy, went to Oklahoma and then transferred on to Georgia Tech before landing with the Dallas Cowboys.

Morgan Burnett had a great career at North Clayton, went on to Georgia Tech, and was also set to have a sensational rookie campaign with the Super Bowl champion Packers before an injury in training camp spoiled those plans.

Maurice Leggett spent last year on the injury reserve with the Kansas City Chiefs, but is an example that NFL dreams can come true after playing college football at a smaller school.

Leggett has been in the league three years after playing high school ball at Mt. Zion and then going to college at Division II Valdosta State.

These young men represent the Southern Crescent well, and I enjoy cheering for them on Sundays in the fall and winter.

Just don't expect me to take sides.

All I want is to see these guys back on the field playing the game like they have done for years.

Like the old school yard scuffle, I don't care who started it.

The two sides need to shake hands and become friends again, because I don't want to miss a week of NFL football.

That's the least the two sides could do for their loyal fan base who helped make NFL football the most popular sport in America.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com)