Buffalo News reports voice of fans loud and clear at “State of the Bills” event

Buffalo Bills executives Russ Brandon and Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey yesterday hosted 750 fans and sponsors to talk football, the Buffalo News reported.

“The Buffalo Bills’ loyal fans were leaning Monday evening toward defense with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft,” the story began, “and they were leaning strongly in favor of the owners in the NFL’s labor standoff.”

While the Bills’ draft-choice options drew many opinions, a number of fans also spoke about the work stoppage in the NFL.

“The consensus among the die-hards was clear on the current NFL lockout,” the story continued. “While the fans didn’t have great sympathy for either side, almost all said they favor the owners’ position.”

“I lean toward the owners,” said Phillip Basile of Williamsville. “They need to make some concessions. But the product is the NFL. My loyalty is to the [NFL] logo, to the team.”

“I’m a union man, but I lean toward the side of the owners,” said Brian Zachary of Lewiston. “It’s their game. If I told my boss what the players are saying, my boss would say, ‘Take a hike.’”

“It’s hard to feel sorry for people who make millions,” said West Seneca’s Don Bartz, who noted that he has not missed a home game in the Bills’ 51 seasons. “They both have a lot to lose by not settling. If I were the owners, I wouldn’t let them look at the books. They’re not shareholders. I’ve never seen a union employee who got to look at the books in any labor negotiation.”

“They’re arguing over $9 billion and we’ve got people who can’t pay for health insurance,” Ryan Hopkins of Tonawanda said. “I don’t hear any of the players playing now arguing for the retirees. You’ve got older players who need more assistance.”

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