Author's note: This article contains irony and sarcasm. Please be aware that these vehicles are most assuredly not intended to mock or make light of actual slavery, which I find both a tragic chapter in our country's history and deplorable as a practice. Rather, they are being utilized to poke fun in a tongue-in-cheek manner at the comparison of being a slave to playing in the modern day NFL. As such, it may be too graphic for some viewers, so parental discretion is advised.
I couldn't help but be amused at Adrian Peterson's recent comment that playing in the NFL is comparable to modern day slavery. To that end, I've made a series of observations that I believe serve to show the folly of his remark.
Slaves were used for hard, physical labor in many cases. Okay, there is some validity there, as playing NFL football is surely hard, physical labor. However the comparison ends at that point, as not only has an NFL player chosen such a career for himself, but I can find no recorded instance of a slave being paid seven figures for his labor.
Slaves were sometimes forced to perform their labors while wearing shackles. Unless you want to count knee or elbow braces, no NFL players has ever been seen playing the game while shackled. While it is true that some NFL players have worn shackles, it was not while playing the game, and was a result of the commission of some illegal act that resulted in authorities placing them on said player. For examples of this, see Rae Carruth, Plaxico Burress, O.J. Simpson, and Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Slaves were often beaten and whipped by their owners. Not only do NFL owners not wield whips, but the coaches are not permitted to do so either. Of course, if the occasional chewing out counts as being whipped in the eyes of some, my response would be that it goes along with a tongue lashing from your boss: If you do your job correctly, that won't happen.
Owners frequently sold their slaves to new owners. In the vernacular of the NFL, this would be comparable to a player being traded. While I will allow there may be some similarity there, I would also once again state that I find no evidence of a slave making seven figures, and that the NFL player has also chosen this career. This negates some of the point in my opinion.
Slaves frequently lived in deplorable conditions. While many NFL players despise living in college dorms during training camps, along with having to sleep in beds at least a foot too small for them, their conditions are not always like this. Consider that the best, highest paid players often live in homes that can only be called mansions that the ordinary working stiff like myself, as well as most of you reading this can only fantasize about, and suddenly the conditions aren't so awful.
No choices existed for slaves. Whether or not they liked their owner was immaterial, they were stuck with the situation. Should an NFL player despise his team, he has a contract that expires, and once it does so, he can refuse to re-sign with that team and take his services elsewhere. Players also have successfully demanded trades and gotten them. Slaves never had that option. Additionally, the NFL player was not forced or coerced into choosing professional football as his vocation. He could choose anything else, from doctor, to lawyer, to businessman. All he has to do is hit the books while in college with the same fervor he hits the opponents in Saturdays. Slaves were stuck with their lot in life and had no such options.
Finally, I've been unable to find any recorded instance of slaves being unionized, or of them going out on strike. Not only are NFL players unionized, but they can and have gone out on strike before. While it may be true that just as a slave was not paid if he did not work, the NFL player is not paid if he goes on strike, the similarity ends there. The majority of NFL players have, if they've been in the league for any length of time, had the opportunity to put away sums of money in savings that most of us can only fantasize about having.
While I could most certainly go on about the fame, the cars, the women and the opportunities that being an NFL player brings, I won't. I'd like to think that I have sufficiently made my point regarding the hilarity of Mr. Peterson's remark. He made a somewhat exaggerated comparison, which anyone is capable of making. I just happened to find his somewhat ridiculous, given the obvious differences. However he, as I have the freedom to make our opinions known, for which we should both be thankful. I know that I am.