Wednesday, June 14, 2006

NFL holdouts - good for them

NFL holdouts during training camp are an annual event. Star players that signed contracts two or three years ago sometimes ask for more money even though they are still in the middle of their contracts. This seems very greedy and the act of a bad teammate. But I say 'good for them!'

NFL teams and owners have the players on their knees when it comes to contracts. Let's look at two players that sign the same contract. Two wide receivers that both sign a 4-year, $8 million contract ($2 mil per year). By the end of year two, one player has become a star, one of the best in the NFL. Meanwhile, the other had some injuries, didn't play well, and isn't even one of the three top receivers on his own team. What happens to these players? The player that outperforms continues to play for the same tem in his third year - at a bargain basement price of $2 mil per year. Meanwhile, other players of his calibre are making $10 mil per year. On the other hand, the player that went the other way and is sitting on the bench is now released - and the team DOES NOT OWE the player his 3rd or 4th year on his contract. He gets NOTHING. He'll have to go sign with another team for $500,000 or something like that...much less than the $2 mil per year. So the NFL team basically has a free-roll on their players. If they do better than expected, then the team gets them cheap for the last years of their contract. If they do poorly, no big deal, just cut him and you don't have to pay them. The contract is good for the NFL team, and sucks big time for the player. This is why players holdout, because the system is set up to screw them. It is an unjust system. But fans benefit it from them too, that is why no one complains except the players.

Fans of any particular NFL team don't particularly care how much players are paid. They just want the best players for their team. They couldn't care less if Branch is playing for free or getting his fair market value. As long as Branch is playing well and contributing to wins, that's all they care about. So when fans hear a player is holding out, that is bad news for them. And they grumble because it means there is a chance their team may lose his services for a few games or maybe even the whole year. Many times, they'll complain about the player being greedy. These thoughts by fans are selfish thoughts.

Yes, players are making a lot of money. And yes, some baseball and basketball players (who get guaranteed contracts) make much more than they should. But the system is simply not fair in the NFL...and the player's only leverage is to holdout.

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