Over the past few days, I have been hearing a lot of miscontrued infotmation regarding the facts behind the lockout. Suprising enough, at least according to a poll on ProFootballTalk, the fans are blaming the players for the dispute.
Meanwhile, I have sat back, gathered information, listened to many opinions, and made several judgement on the issue. First, I would like to debunk several myths that fans have about players. May I point out that I take no sides on the dispute; I refuse to. This is just to debunk the ridiculous claims many ignorant fans have made over the past few weeks.
1. Most NFL players do not make a million dollars a year. Jets fans should know this best, as Hard Knocks showed several examples of players getting cut, many of them making the league minimum. Most fans just watch the game on tv and see the stars, and assume that is what make sup most of the team. The fact is, in the NFL, the majority of the money is allocated in a few players. Most players either are making several million of a couple hundered thousand. There is not much middle ground - rookies, save the top 30 picks, are not making as much as their proven veteran counterparts. Therefore, if you are not good enough to earn a second contract with big money, chances are, you were replaced by a younger, fresher player.
2. "But even the bottom of the roster guys still make over six times as much as I do! And they're playing a game! They have no right to complain!" While the minimum salary is a nice, fat paycheck compared to what most americans make, trust me, these players earn every penny of it. At this level, it is hardly a game - the NFL is a cruel, sick, unforgiving business. We saw Kevin Basped, a promising young player on the Jets training camp squad, get cut because his knees would not heal fast enough. There is no "worker's compensation". These players have been putting their bodies through punishement all their lives.
3. "Well, they shouldn't have chosen to play football, then! Why couldn't they just get a regular job like everyone else?" I am going to be blunt, here - most players had no other option. Many of them come from broken homes and bad neighborhoods, and used their ability to play football to get out of their environment. In turn, they have few other skills - they simply don't have the education to get a degree. They were brought to their respective colleges to play football, not go to class. Players then leave college as soon as possible so they can start earning money for thei family, because they need it that badly. What do you expect, a kid to let mis mother lose her house so he can get a degree? Why do you think these players accept money from agents?
4. These players are hardly overpaid. As discussed above, most players have not other degree or marketable skills. There are only so many broadcasting jobs. The average player lasts about 2 years in the NFL. Let's say they made about 1.5 million during that time. How many people can retire on 1.5 million dollars? At age 26?