A Game of Contracts

Supporting the Strings Holding Sports


“Athletes currently have more freedom than they’ve ever had in sports, and they’re taking full advantage of it. As they should, being that at the end of the day they are just regular people.” This is a common point brought up when people seek to defend what players are doing on and off the field.

If players want this freedom, then they also need to be held accountable for their actions.. 

When people act out in the workplace, they are often given a warning. However, if they choose to ignore it, they are fired because they must be held accountable for their actions. 

We saw the Oakland Raiders step up and do the correct thing and release Antonio Brown after all the chaos he caused their organization. 

Brown fought with coaches and management several times before he released a video on YouTube of a phone conversation with his head coach, Jon Gruden, who was seen begging him to focus on football. It’s worth noting that Brown is currently being investigated for two sexual misconduct accusations.

Football fans have ridiculed Brown for his actions, with some actually coming to support the often-joked about Raiders in their decision to release him. He has since been picked up and subsequently released by the New England Patriots after just one game. 

Another example of players not being held accountable for their actions, and ultimately being rewarded for them, is when they hold out.

Running back Le’veon Bell sat out for all of last season because, according to him, the $14.5 million he was being paid wasn’t enough to secure his future in case of any injuries that could hinder his career, as we’ve seen with so many athletes in the past.

Instead of the league forcing him to complete his contract, he sat out throughout the year unpaid, before signing a four-year contract worth over $52 million. He is now the face of the New York Jets, and the fact he sat out is now a complete afterthought. 

This year there have already been two running backs that looked like they were going to follow in Bell’s footsteps and sit out, the first being Dallas Cowboys star, Ezekiel Elliot, who ended up getting paid by his team right before the start of the season. 

Elliot claimed he wanted “top running back” money and wasn’t willing to get paid anything less. The Cowboys still had two years of team control over him, but have caved because any sports fan knows the Cowboys needed him.

The other running back is Melvin Gordon, who is still sitting out several weeks into the season. With almost no updates on a contract coming soon, we could see Gordon follow in Bell’s footsteps this season. 

If I went to my boss and asked him for a raise and he told me he’d see after this year is up, I would have to deal with that. 

If I stopped showing up to work, I would be fired. If I was a favored employee and they refused to fire me,  my boss would seem corrupt. 

In these situations, has the NFL stepped in and settled the conflict? No, but if they did, the backlash would be something they may not be able to come back from. 

The players are getting more power in sports, and that’s great, they deserve it, but they need to be held accountable for the contracts they sign and the things that they do.

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