Adrian Peterson Ten Million Dollar Slave

NFL players have been pretty silent so far on the labor negotiations with the owners. 

Until yesterday. 

Adrian Peterson, fumble-prone running back for the Minnesota Vikings, likened the relationship between players and owners to that of masters and slaves.  Mr. Peterson seems to think that he has no choice but to play NFL football for ten million bucks a year.  He’s wrong of course.  He can walk away any time he wants, and no posse will be sent out to pick him up.  No torture if he is captured.  No being forced to pick weeds in a cotton field in Alabama in July.  He can quit. 

Except that he can’t. 

Peterson’s problem is pretty much like that of a lot of NFL players.  If they can’t play football for a living, they are screwed.  These are the same guys who make thirty million dollars in three years and mismanage their money so badly that if they have the misfortune of a career-ending injury, they can’t survive.  They have no money to live on.   Since most of these guys can’t do anything else, football is it. 

Let me let you in on a little secret, Adrian.  If I made ten million dollars this year, I wouldn’t have to work any more.  Ever.  I have a posse.  It’s called my family.  We could all live off of that money for the next fifty years.  And, not have to work at a regular job again.  Ever.  Why can’t you? 

Comparing the plight of overpaid prima donnas to that of men and women in forced servitude is ludicrous.  It is a privilege to play in the NFL, one that many men, myself included, would gladly accept for a hell of a lot less money than players are currenlty being paid.  The games might suck more, but we’d play.  And we’d never blame the owner of the team for our money mismanagement. 

Mr. Peterson seems to think that the NFL wouldn’t exist if weren’t for players like him.  He’s wrong.  Without owners, the players would have to go to Canada to play pro football.  Without guys willing to put up with fifty whiners for nine months, willing to pay more than they take in in revenue in salaries for losing teams, willing to fight everybody to get a new stadium built, there would be no NFL teams.  If there are no teams, the players wouldn’t be needed at all.

Look, the NFL takes in $9 billion a year.  There are thirty two teams, fifty three players each.  That’s 1,696 players in total.  If the owners paid the players all of this money, that’s over five million dollars for every player.  Every second string D tackle, every washed up safety hanging on too long, every start quarterback.  The owners cannot simply pay the players all that money.  They have to run a business.  And with revenue sharing between large market and small market teams, the remaining money gets even smaller.  Maybe if clowns like Peterson didn’t demand more than twice the money paid out if all players were paid the same, the owners could share more revenue with the players.  Maybe if players’ agents didn’t line up at the trough of what the players leave behind, there’d be more money to share.  The players wanting the owners to open their books is pretty unreasonable.  No business will open its books to an employee.  Most places I’ve worked, knowing how much money your counterparts make just feeds feelings of dislike and disgruntledness.  And knowing how much the company is making versus how much they are paying you will really feed that fire. 

I want the NFL this year.  I don’t buy merchandise and I don’t go to games, mainly because I can’t justify the cost of either.  But I do watch.  And I like it better than college football. 

But maybe, this year, I’ll pass on the NFL.  After all, a lot of college players are just smaller, dumber NFLers.  I mean, they are playing and not getting paid.  Not above the table, anyway.


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