I normally do not write on here unless it is about my team, the Oakland Raiders. However, this morning I awoke to read a story on espn.com that truly disgusted me. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was quoted as saying that the labor situation between the players and owners is akin to modern-day slavery.
It is absolutely unbelievable to me that those words could come from the mouth of a millionaire.
Many have tabbed the dispute between the players and owners a dispute between millionaires and billionaires. I am often quick to correct this comment, as a majority of NFL players are not millionaires and a very large number of players are signed for the league minimum.
That being said, the NFL league minimum salary is over $200,000 for a rookie with the amount escalating based on years in the league.
I don't know about the rest of you, but that is certainly a lot more money than I make in a year, and they make that money playing a game.
Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the amount of hard work and energy that goes into being a professional athlete. I also understand that this is the most popular sport in the country and the entertainment that they provide us is also worth a lot of money.
All that being said, it is still very disturbing to hear any millionaire compare themselves to slaves.
Is there any context in which Adrian Peterson's quote was ok to say?
With the economy struggling as much as it is, how do these players and owners not understand that for them to be childishly bickering over millions is a slap across the face to the ordinary, hardworking fan.
Let's get some perspective here. In Minnesota, there is a dual minimum wage scale. For large employers (enterprises with annual receipts of $625,000 or more), the minimum wage they must pay is $6.15/hour. For small employers (enterprises with annual receipts of under $625,000), the minimum wage they must pay is $5.25/hour. So a minimum wage employee working for a large employer makes just under $12,000 a year, and remember, that's the higher minimum wage scale in Minnesota.
Not only are these people making very minimal salaries, but they are making these salaries doing some of the least desirable jobs.
On the other hand, Adrian Peterson makes over $10 million a year in his base salary alone.
I understand the point Peterson was trying to make, and in fact, I somewhat agree with him. In my opinion, the owners are not going about this whole thing in a respectful way. There have been multiple reports of ownership being disrespectful and downright insulting to the players.
That still does not justify the comment made by Peterson.
Peterson's agent has released a statement asking that those in the media not take his client's quote out of context, but I ask you this, is there any context in which this quote would be justified?
Is the situation that he and the other players find themselves in unfair? Possibly. Are the owners trying to bully the players and take advantage of them? Definitely. Are the players in a worse position than a person making minimum wage? Certainly not. Are the players in a position comparable to that of slaves in pre-Civil War America? Not even close.
At a time when nearly everyone in America is struggling monetarily, the squabbles between the the players and owners over billions of dollars is frustrating at best. Hearing one of those sides pity themselves so much to go as far as to compare themselves to slaves is downright disgusting.