Is it possible to take dollar amounts out of the equation to form an opinion about which side of the NFL’s CBA saga has the most valid argument? The reason for such an obscure question is because if any player tries to convince me that they are underpaid, I will be forced to remind them that, though it is a job, it is also the fulfillment of a dream to get paid any amount of money to PLAY the greatest game on God’s green earth.
The average salary for an individual graduating from college is $46,000. The rookie minimum is almost five times greater than that. On the flip side, if any of the team owners tried to convince me that they are losing money or feel that they are giving back too much of their profits, I would be forced to ask them to prove it by providing financials and remind them that, in many instances, the tax payers dollars offset the cost of these grand stadiums the owners get credit for (the same taxpayers you charge $5 for a bottle of water). This is where the arguments become too subjective to clearly determine which side is correct in their beliefs.
It seems that the fans that side with the owners decision to not open their books always point out that their (fans) employers do not have to prove to them how much money his company makes, so why should the owners of NFL teams have to do the same? The makeup and workings of every industry is different and should not be compared to one another to prove a point that holds true in one but not the other.
After 12 seasons in the NFL and a lifetime of being a fan, I see the relationship between the owners and collective players as a hybrid partnership, more so than strictly the employer-employee relationship. In this partnership, the team owners are taking on the financial risk, while the players are taking on the risk of their health and lives while providing sweat equity. Investing cash into a project is not the only action required to become a partner in a business relationship.
The owners need to have more respect for the player’s role in the success of the NFL. I have no problem with the owner of a team stating that they are only willing to split a certain percentage with the players because they feel the current agreement is going to lead to future financial complications for the league. That is a legitimate argument but you need to prove it. The only way to prove it is to give the NFLPA access to each team’s accounting books (and not the set they use to avoid paying taxes). If that is done the NFLPA should to be honest in reviewing the material, and be open to give money back, if it will ensure the success of the league for years to come.
Lastly, rest in peace, Drew Hill.
Let me know what you think about my stance on this.