A buddy, Bob Turner, got fired up recently in a blog entry ("They Might Not Be Giants For Long"). No doubt, and understandably, that story of Plaxico Burress touched a blue-collar-rooted nerve. But I have a different perspective, and thought I'd re-print it here.
I definitely understand where you're coming from. But I see things a little differently.
Plaxico's "six year" contract is only binding on his end. If Plax breaks his neck tomorrow, the Giants can drop him & not owe him a dime. And that is exactly what they would do. This is not true in MLB, where teams owe a player at least half the value of his remaining contract. But in the NFL, contracts are meaningless from the team's perspective.
Not only that, but in said broken-neck scenario, the NFL's retirement comp. program is a joke. Johnny Unitas was bitter & angry at the NFL in his later years because they cheated him out of his comp. with some loophole. He had to go hat in hand & get help from fellow NFL players (which included Terry Bradshaw, as I understand it) to have some surgeries to keep his quality of life at a decent level in his post-NFL days.
So, if NFL teams can void a contract & re-sign a player to a lesser amount of money, why can't a player do the same thing? The labor structure of the NFL is SO weak. They have about the least powerful union in the world, much less professional sports!
Plus, we fans are biased. If a player gets underpaid for his performance for whatever reason, we say that our team got a bargain. And we don't think about paying him the next year to make up for the previous year's under-compensation. If a player gets overpaid for his performance, we say that said player is a leach on the franchise. But as much as we care about a player's performance meeting how much our team pays him, we never seem to care about the players' fair compensation. We are completely disloyal to players. And we wonder why they are so disloyal to franchises and fans these days...
Anyway, the NFL does a good job of keep that under wraps like any other powerful corporation or business. The common man may not be able to relate with NFL player, and vice versa. But that doesn't mean that corporate NFL isn't taking advantage of their labor like other corporations do with the common man.
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