This article first appeared at American Thinker on 03/16/2011.
I have to admit I have trouble mustering up any sympathy for striking NFL players. The league minimum wage for players starts at $295,000 annually with the average player collecting about $1 million per year as reported in 2009. Although I am a huge fan, particularly of the local Indianapolis Colts, I have no more sympathy for wealthy athletes than I would have for any other millionaire entrepreneur. I expect them to negotiate their own deals and maintain responsibility for their business assets. For NFL players, the most important asset is their physical plant: their bodies.
Nevertheless, with the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL owners and the NFLPA (the player's union,) we are faced with adversarial negotiations being conducted in the media between these two groups who have a mutual interest in maintaining the remarkable success of the NFL brand.
Until yesterday, I thought the player's union was at a distinct disadvantage, due to the militant belligerence of their chief negotiator, DeMaurice Smith. Formerly the executive director of the NFLPA, Smith orchestrated the decertification of the union in order to allow individual players to file anti-trust suits against the league's owners. According to the owner's negotiator, the union was dead set on decertification and anti-trust suits, regardless of the outcome of the latest talks. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/03/11/nfl-and-union-start-the-blame-game/ From all reports, Smith appears to be cut from the same community organizer cloth as Andy Stern or Barack Obama.
As of yesterday, however, the player's association has acquired a new spokesman. Whether they like or not, the players are going to be stuck with the ridiculous statements of Minnesota running back, Adrian Peterson. In an interview with Doug Farrar http://www.twincities.com/ci_17619356?nclick_check=1 of Yahoo Sports, Peterson (whose annual base salary is $10.72 million) was quoted:
The players are getting robbed. They are...The owners are making so much money off of us to begin with. I don't know that I want to quote myself on that....
It's modern-day slavery, you know?...The owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money. I understand that, these are business-minded people...But as players, we have to stand our ground and say, “Hey, without us, there is no football. “
In addition to the 10's of millions of dollars Peterson earns from his on-field productivity as an NFL running back, he also has lucrative endorsement deals http://www.twincities.com/ci_17619356?nclick_check=1 with Nike, Upper Deck, Fat-Head, Vitamin-Water, Muscle Milk and many other commercial sponsors which are certain to at least double his NFL income.
Were can I sign up for some of this slavery action?