It really got me to thinking, about how absolutely ridiculous it is to listen to the players talk about how they are underpaid, how they deserve more money, etc... I mean, I really get almost sick to my stomach listening to these guys whine about their money. I'm sure I am not alone. Yes, we live in a free country where everyone is able to go make as much money as they can make, and there is no rule or law against it. That's the American dream...but that dream is becoming less a dream and starting to sound more like entitlement...
Seriously, you are getting paid millions to play a game, yes, a GAME. Take a step back and think about that for a second. We pay people anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars to play a game. And these people have the audacity to complain about how much money they make? I saw a few comments in the Reggie Wayne thread about how players don't really have a long career and how they should make all the money they can. That is the biggest joke I have heard in quite some time.
The league minimum for a player is roughly $300k per year. The league base salary is roughly $1mil. For the sake of this argument, we will use those numbers. Now, that really doesn't seem like a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but....
A college degree will earn you roughly 1 million dollars more in your lifetime than just a high school diploma. Already, a football player who did not even graduate college has already made more money potentially in a single season riding the pine pony, than you could make in a lifetime graduating college.
The average soldier being deployed to wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other area in the world, earns less than $30,000 a year. It would take this person virtually 10 years just to crack the starting pay for a bum player in the NFL.
Okay, so where am I going with this? I'll get to that right now. To even remotely defend these players is a joke. Most of these guys got free rides to college where they got in most cases, a free education and an opportunity to get a degree. Whether they bothered to or not, they had a chance. This same chance many of us can not or could not afford. Sure, they were great athletes....but they have been given a chance to get both a degree and a job AFTER sports. This is something you and I would never get. They can go live their dream and then find a second job if they choose. We don't get that luxury.
So let's go with the statement that the average NFL player last 3 years at a yearly average of $400k. That's 1.2 million dollars. They've already made more money in 3 years than most people will make in a lifetime. These aren't even the top end guys. These are the guys who sit on practice squads and get beat up for a few months during training camp.
We constantly get stories reminding us of players of the past living on the streets because they've blown their fortunes, wasted on failed stupidity, drugs, and usually family/friends. We've seen it in every sport, from boxing to racing to football. Why does this happen? It's because people get used to playing a game, and getting paid very well for it. They forget that there is life beyond a game. They don't plan for it and they don't ever think their current lifestyle will ever change. It's pathetic.
Look, there's nothing wrong with a player signing a decent contract, out-performing that contract by far, and asking for a raise. We do it at our jobs when we feel we have taken a step forward, earned new certifications, taken on new responsibilities. That is called moving up the ladder.
It's an entirely different matter when you sign a contract, perform up to the standard of that contract, and then demand more money because so and so at another company makes more. I work for a college, and my contemporaries on the open market make roughly 10-15k more than I do. If I were to walk in to my bosses office and pull a Chris Johnson, I'd be told to deal with it or take the highway. My boss "might" be willing to consider my viewpoint if I had been a valued employee and had performed well consistently.
However, flash in the pans like Chris Johnson have not proven anything. The same can be said of rookie players getting Peyton Manning-like signing bonuses that are both unproven and unworthy. It's both an insult and a joke. Chris Johnson had a great year, but he was barely a league average the year before. That was even for a team that went 13-3 with Kerry Collins at QB. How does that make you deserve anything?
Ultimately, my point can be boiled down to this. Too many of these players have forgotten that they play a game. They have opportunities to live lives and make money that most of us dream of and never have a chance to do. Perhaps it is time that they remembered that.....
As a sidebar, please do not take this rant as me being against the players having the opportunities to make money. I'm merely against the childish antics and methods they go to in order to make that money.