Playing Dumb - Players Responsibility During NFL Contract Talks
I am grateful the NFL contract talks are over. Not because I'm a big football fan by any stretch of the imagination...but because I was damn tired of watching players who earn tens of millions of dollars shrug their shoulders and play dumb.
Last week all parties agreed to a 10-year contract to end the months long lockout. The agreement benefits all involved and drives home just what an insanely big business professional football is in the United States:
Owners last week approved by a 31-0 vote the decade-long deal that caps team payrolls at about $120 million this season, with players receiving another $22 million or so in benefits. The players must receive at least 47 percent of the league’s revenue, projected at a record $9.3 billion in 2011, throughout the 10 years.
The agreement also limits how much teams can spend on first-year players, allows current players to stay in the league’s medical plan for life and allows them more days off, with fewer offseason practices. The deal also provides between $900 million and $1 billion for retiree benefits.
Why I am glad it is over is because I was so darn tired of listening to handsomely paid players getting on the news, shrugging their shoulders, and abdicating their own personal responsibility for their careers and contracts by saying "just gotta leave it up to our representative". While I realize every professional needs to have an expert in their corner when it comes to contract legalities, I find it apalling the degree to which many players publicly shrug the whole thing off. Saying "uh, I just play football, contracts are not my business...". Often saying it in garbled, incomplete sentences I might add.
Now while I realize there are probably a number of well-educated, well-spoken, and concerned players who took an active role in understanding what was/was not part of their contract, they certainly didn't show them on the news. Every time I went to the gym and saw the television, there was somebody rambling on about how they play football and don't understand business. I guess this explains why many pro athletes find themselves hopelessly lost after their careers are over. They make a ton, are clueless about how money works, and then wander aimlessly in retirement. Those who made it a point to understand and gain business savvy thrive (often creating highly successful business ventures in retiremnet), those that don't sink into professional obscurity.
I realize there are tremendous risks to life and limb in this line of professional sport and that careers are short-lived. Yet, players choose this line of work. The least they could do is show some gratitude and speak knowledgably on camera about the process and the issues at hand. Of course you can't just blame players or owners for out of control salaries, billions of fans perpetuate the out of control salaries and the increasing demand for higher risk play. It's too bad we don't value people who make a real difference in people's lives and sometimes have equally risky jobs (policemen, firemen, teachers, the list goes on...)as much as we value people who play a game (and play it exceptionally well).
So - let's do a little talkback in this column... I want to hear what you think - fans and non-fans alike.
- What do you think about players' complacent attitude about the talks?
- What would happen if you abdicated responsibility for all your contractual obligations?
- Have salaries and revenues gotten ridiculously out of control in proportion to the task at hand (playing a game)?
Talk back in the comments... I'd love to hear from you.
Paula Gregorowicz, The Intuitive Intelligence™ Coach
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