Doing too much for the players

A few days ago Atrios wrote:

For decades I’ve been reading that the biggest problem facing the greatest nation in the world is that the poor and middle class just have it too damn good.

I realize that professional football players aren’t middle class — they’re worse, they’re strapping young bucks buying Cadillacs with their union money — but still (from Mark Murphy, CEO of the Packers):

And so I’m a little worried that if we do too much for players in terms of compensation after their career’s end, and health insurance — it’s not all bad to have an incentive to get a job. And, so those are just some of the things we’re thinking through and talking through.

These guys are dropping like flies because of head trauma and it’s “too much” to give them health insurance.

Professional athletes are workers too, no matter how much money they make. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. If you earn low wages, it proves you’re an undeserving fuck, if you earn high wages, you’re an ingrate for being in a union in the first place.

You can’t win in this country if you’re not a Galtian overlord, you just can’t.






97 replies
  1. 1
    edmund dantes says:

    He was pretty mild. Apparently Richardson was so embarrassingly bad that the other owners apologized for how he treated and talked to Peyton Manning at one of the negotiation meetings.

  2. 2
    4jkb4ia says:

    That is even more egregious because the whole league is making money hand over fist. If it was not for the players willing to risk their lives, the owners would have nothing.

  3. 3
    Ija says:

    It’s a little misleading to call the standoff billionaires versus millionaires. How many percent of the players actually make millions? Probably not a lot.

  4. 4
    edmund dantes says:

    This was my favorite of Richardson’s comments. This was directed at one of the players that was quoting some statistics about the health of players after leaving the game.

    “You guys made so much [expletive] money – if you played three years in the NFL, you should own your own [expletive] team.”

  5. 5
    efgoldman says:

    Wait…
    This quotation is from the CEO of the fncking Packers???
    That’s the 100% socialized, publicly owned Packers??? Those Packers?
    That play in the ultimate soc ilaist, government-hind-teat-sucking league?
    Those Packers???

    Jesus H Flying Spaghetti Monster, is it possible for anyone to be less self-aware, less beyond parody, and less sensible than the fncking teatards? I didn’t think so, but dayumn!!!

  6. 6
    BR says:

    Maybe it’s going to take some folks marching with rusty pitchforks to turn the tide. But I doubt even that will do it.

    Seems like we need a whole lot of things to happen:

    1. Return to the upper bracket tax rates of the 1950s and taxing the hell out of capital gains.
    2. Elimination of corporate personhood.
    3. The Sanders rule on bank size (i.e. no bank should hold more than 1%).
    4. Closing of lots of corporate tax loopholes.

    The book the Fourth Turning argues that this sort of thing (a return to shared responsibility) might actually come back in ten or twenty years. (After a severe crisis, though.)

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    On the plus side, if those greedy players aren’t getting all their superlux “health care” after retiring, then that’s more money that can go to the real injured parties here — the owners.

  8. 8
    Nicole says:

    So, using Mark Murphy’s line of thinking, we should be taxing investment income at what, 95 percent? Would that be enough so the hereditary wealthy would be incentivized to get a job?

  9. 9
    efgoldman says:

    The “Edit” button appears to be broken
    fywp

  10. 10
    Malron says:

    This is why well known former players still suffering the effects of multiple concussions years after their careers have ended are so desperate to draw attention to the NFL’s barbaric treatment of its retirees that they commit suicide by shooting themselves in the chest so scientists can study their brains to find a cure for dementia brought on by repeated head trauma.

    I think the players union needs to trot out Jim Otto every year at Super Bowl time to illustrate they shitty way the NFL pimps its players.

  11. 11
    Mark S. says:

    @Ija:

    It’s from last year, but here are the salary numbers. I’m guessing the median is $800-900K.

  12. 12
    Mike Kay (Peacemaker) says:

    Doug,

    You should get Cole to describe how Stiller Mike Webster’s CT scan looked like Terri Schivao’s CT scan after he left football.

    He doesn’t get it. It’s not that they don’t have an incentive to work, anyone who makes the pros has great incentive, it’s that they’re physically unable to work.

  13. 13
    Ash Can says:

    @efgoldman: How ’bout it? I don’t see that going over too swell with the Packer fans (i.e. the entire state of Wisconsin).

  14. 14
    Ailuridae says:

    The “reporting” on professional sports labor relations is amazingly bad. I heard some fool on ESPN today claim that as many as a half dozen NFL teams are losing money. But that’s simply not possible – the NFL salary cap is set to a lower dollar amount that each team receives annually from just national television. For a team to lose money they would have to be paying their staff far far more than they take in from tickets, merchandising, parking, concessions, etc.

    On a related note, sports fans should all probably read through Field of Schemes.

  15. 15
    Randiego says:

    Another twist on this is that Mark Murphy is a former player himself.

  16. 16
    Mike Kay (Peacemaker) says:

    The late great Mike Webster is weeping.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Webster#Ailments

  17. 17
    Ben says:

    “Ok Mr. Johnson, we’re almost done here, just a few more questions and we’ll complete your preliminary interview for our health insurance plan. It says here that you are not currently on any medication?”

    “Right.”

    “And you haven’t been into a hospital in the past fifteen years?”

    “Correct.”

    “Great. Let’s just go through your personal history. Occupation?”

    “Retired.”

    “Former occupation?”

    “Defensive tack-”

    *Click*

  18. 18
    General Stuck says:

    I had two concussions palying fotbal in hi skool. An I tuned out ok.

  19. 19
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    Is anyone watching Colbert? I just saw the damndest thing while he was talking to Glenn Greenwald.

  20. 20
    Pooh says:

    We’re fucking you over to help you. Help me help you.

    If I was a player, I’d be pissed off that he thinks I’m that stupid.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @General Stuck:

    I had two concussions palying fotbal in hi skool. An I tuned out ok.

    Well that explains a lot
    /rimshot

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    Jane appeared out of a giant wedding cake?

  24. 24
    rikyrah says:

    the NFL is the worst to its players (of the professional leagues). they didn’t take care of the older players and the union had to fight years for them to get covered as far as medical care is concerned.

    last week Dave Duerson of the Bears killed himself and wanted his brain to be donated to science so that they could study the effects of an NFL career on the brain.

  25. 25
    Malron says:

    @efgoldman:

    Wait…
    This quotation is from the CEO of the fncking Packers??? That’s the 100% socialized, publicly owned Packers??? Those Packers? That play in the ultimate soc ilaist, government-hind-teat-sucking league? Those Packers???

    Jesus H Flying Spaghetti Monster, is it possible for anyone to be less self-aware, less beyond parody, and less sensible than the fncking teatards? I didn’t think so, but dayumn

    Need I remind you: this is the guy that hired Ari Fleischer to do “PR” for the Packers when him, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy were desperately trying to figure out a way to run Brett Favre out of town without appearing to be running Brett Favre out of town.

  26. 26
    The Dangerman says:

    @BR:

    1. Return to the upper bracket tax rates of the 1950s and taxing the hell out of capital gains.
    2. Elimination of corporate personhood.
    3. The Sanders rule on bank size (i.e. no bank should hold more than 1%).
    4. Closing of lots of corporate tax loopholes.

    All good, but what that Owner’s (GM?) statement proves is that health insurance has to be disassociated from employment; best argument for single payer ever.

  27. 27
    General Stuck says:

    @efgoldman:

    big sotball.

  28. 28
    efgoldman says:

    @rikyrah:

    College f’bawl (which I love) isn’t so great to the players, either. They’ve been very slow to adopt rules on blows to the head and hitting defenseless receivers.

  29. 29
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @Pooh: Greenwald was talking, and then the camera cut to Colbert for like 15 seconds, but during that time, something flashed for a split-second over Colbert’s face. I had to watch it a few times to be sure, but then I went frame-by-frame on the DVR, and for one frame, the face of Guy Fawkes was superimposed over Colbert’s face. Anyone privy to this or know what it means?

  30. 30
    fucen tarmal says:

    the galtian overlord thing is fine for the owners, the kochs et al, but mark murphy is more like the useful idiot, who has superficial credibility because he has theoretically been on both sides of the issue.

    this needs to be separate from the galtian overlord. they find, and love them some instantly credible person who can claim experience with the opposite side of the debate, before shovelling the overlord’s manure.

    its really an age old rhetorical technique.

    “i once was one of you, and thought like you, but then this here happened, and here is why i know i was wrong for thinking like i did, and like you do.”

    murphy as a former player,has that credibility, that he is speaking for the owners, from the position of being a packers exec, doubles down on the concept.

  31. 31
    efgoldman says:

    @General Stuck:

    big sotball

    Oh hell yes. Like the pitch that what’s his name threw Ripken. Blinking “hit me!”

    I seen my opportunity and I took it.

  32. 32
    General Stuck says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    It must mean the revolution is on. Or at least on netflix.

  33. 33
    efgoldman says:

    @Malron:

    Need I remind you: this is the guy that hired Ari Fleischer to do “PR” for the Packers when him, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy were desperately trying to figure out a way to run Brett Favre out of town without appearing to be running Brett Favre out of town.

    Well, for those of us not in the Green Bay orbit, and not Packer fans, running Brett out of town actually seemed very sensible and overdue.

    Plus I have to admit I never knew (or forgot) that they hired Ari the Weasel.

  34. 34
    Doug Hill says:

    @Ailuridae:

    This article interviewed union guys too. Of course it was just an NYT blog, not real journalism.

  35. 35
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @General Stuck: They’re really counting on stoners to lead, huh?

  36. 36
    Ash Can says:

    @Malron:
    @efgoldman:

    I didn’t know that either. Lovely.

  37. 37
    fucen tarmal says:

    @Ailuridae:

    sports reporters are the clowns, the clowns in economic and political journalism, call clowns.

    sports reporters basically do this two step. they yearn for a greater relevancy, than the “toy department”, make all sorts of cases for why sports are a great microcasm of society, and have deeper relevance…

    fair enough so far, if they had the balls to follow through…

    but then when a story like this comes around, or, any other sports story that gets way too close to real work, they punt and say, what do you want from us, we are just sports reporters. watch, to the extent you must, and make a note of how many times talk show hosts, print, broadcast whatever, try and lean on the, we just cover sports, and this is over our heads, out.

  38. 38
    General Stuck says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign:

    The road to victory is paved with good reefer. In a counterclockwise direction.

  39. 39
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @General Stuck: Hah!

  40. 40
    MattR says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign: I did not notice it until I read your comment and went back on the DVR. That image popped up as Glenn was talking about Anonymous and many Anonymous protestors wore the Guy Fawkes mask when they were protesting Scientology a couple years back. I am guessing that was the reference, but not sure of the intent.

  41. 41
    bago says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign: The hacktivist collective named Anonymous (irony intended) will use guy fawkes masks and symbolism in their protests.

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    Here’s a suggestion: Fans boycott the NFL until the players get a better deal.

    Every union member or union supporter should be a part of this boycott. I know there are some Steelers fans here. Could they do it?

  43. 43
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @MattR: Interesting. I wonder if Colbert had it thrown in as a show of solidarity, or if somehow Anonymous got a hold of the feed? Probably the former (Occham’s Razor and all), but it freaked me the fuck out the first time!

  44. 44
    Ailuridae says:

    @Doug Hill:

    Well, I think Dubner is a clown. The economics of the NFL are pretty clear – owners literally can’t lose money. Now, Ralph Wilson might only make 5-10B a year while Jerry Jones makes ten times that but just process this statement”:

    Here’s how the owners and players currently split revenues: the owners get $1 billion off the top; of the remainder, roughly 60 percent goes to player salaries and benefits. What the owners want in a new agreement is another $1 billion off the top every year, over a seven-year term. Here’s Smith, head of the players’ union:

    9B in revenue. Each owner gets 31M and change before any player sees a nickel. How fucked up is that?

  45. 45
    Chet says:

    If there’s a lockout next season, I guarantee Joe Couch Potato will side with the owners, because Joe Couch Potato can’t stomach the idea of people (particularly people with skin darker than, say, the color of a grocery bag) making millions of dollars just to play a game.

    In Joe Couch Potato’s mind, he’d gladly play *for free*, just for the love of the game, if he ever had the opportunity. I heard this kind of stuff all the time, including from otherwise liberal, pro-labor people – during the MLB strike back in ’94.

  46. 46
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @bago: Thanks for that! I’ve known about Fawkes for awhile, but I didn’t realize his importance to Anonymous.

  47. 47
    efgoldman says:

    @Violet:

    Here’s a suggestion: Fans boycott the NFL until the players get a better deal.

    You’ve always been an idealist, but no, not gonna’ happen.
    These are the same folks who vote for the GOBP against their own political and economic interests.

  48. 48
    General Stuck says:

    @Violet:

    I know there are some Steelers fans here.

    Sadly, yes.

  49. 49
    efgoldman says:

    @Violet:

    Here’s a suggestion: Fans boycott the NFL until the players get a better deal.

    You’ve always been an idealist, but no, not gonna’ happen.
    These are the same folks who vote for the GOBP against their own political and economic interests.

    @efgoldman:
    Also too what Chet said.

  50. 50
    efgoldman says:

    And click to edit is still broken

  51. 51
    Doug Hill says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I think Dubner is a clow too. But unlike the sunday show he did talk to a player at least.

  52. 52
    Violet says:

    @efgoldman:
    Yes, I know. But supporting the players has to start somewhere. Standing up for unions means standing up for ALL unions. Maybe the events of this week will have some kind of impact. They should, anyway.

    @Chet:

    In Joe Couch Potato’s mind, he’d gladly play for free, just for the love of the game, if he ever had the opportunity. I heard this kind of stuff all the time, including from otherwise liberal, pro-labor people – during the MLB strike back in ‘94.

    I understand that sentiment. Most fans would love to say they played in the NFL or MLB or whatever their game of choice’s league is. What a thrill that would be. The realities of it don’t mean much because it’s pie-in-the-sky dreaming anyway. The players aren’t doing anything to get the public on their side. Why should the public side with them? What’s in it for the public?

    The players union should be tying the owners income to the taxes that taxpayers in cities have to pay to get those new stadiums. That’s the kind of thing that Joe Sixpack can relate to. “The owners treat you taxpayers the same way they treat us players. Let’s work together to make it fair for everyone.” That’s the kind of message that would gain them support.

  53. 53
    Malron says:

    @efgoldman: I knew Brett was done for. I just thought it odd and more than a little suspicious considering the way BushCo would attack anyone who challenged them, with Ari being their hatchet man.

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ailuridae:

    For a team to lose money they would have to be paying their staff far far more than they take in from tickets, merchandising, parking, concessions, etc.

    It all depends on how you do the accounting. If you want the team to lose money, you have the profitable parts of the business like parking and concessions split off into separate companies. You also pay the owners huge salaries for managing the team and/or have the team borrow huge amounts of money from ownership at high interest rates. By combining those strategies, you can make the team itself a big money loser even while the owners laugh all the way to the bank.

  55. 55
    MattR says:

    @Violet: I worry about the wisdom of unions standing up too strongly with the NFLPA when I think the most important thing that unions can do is to get the “average American” who is not in a union to identify with them and see them as people like themselves. Unfortunately, siding with people who are perceived as greedy millionaires wont help (even if it might be the right thing to do).

    @Chet:

    In Joe Couch Potato’s mind, he’d gladly play for free, just for the love of the game, if he ever had the opportunity. I heard this kind of stuff all the time, including from otherwise liberal, pro-labor people – during the MLB strike back in ‘94.

    Generally speaking you are right, but I wonder if all the increased attention to player safety and post retirement medical problems has changed that public perception. At least in my mind, there is currently a significant difference between playing in the MLB for free and playing in the NFL.

  56. 56
    Pooh says:

    @Chet: I’m not so sure. In an example of Wakerian overreach writ small, the owners are adamant about an 18 game schedule. I think even the casual fan intuits that this is a problem, especially when you claim to care about player safety.

  57. 57
    WarMunchkin says:

    I just finished reading Kevin Drum’s article and it struck me that the last word of it is ‘decade’. As in, the conclusion is that any hope of major, fundamental reforms is gone now, and we’re pretty much fucked a long time. Sucks for unemployed people like me.

  58. 58
    Pooh says:

    s/b “Walkerian” overreach, and edit button delenda est…

  59. 59
    MattR says:

    @Roger Moore: I can’t remember the details, but I seem to remember something like that going on with the Yankees and the YES Network. IIRC, the network was either greatly overpaying or underpaying for the rights to the games so that they could manipulate the revenue and/or profits of one of those companies.

  60. 60
    kdaug says:

    ‘Tis worse, mate: one must be an “old-money” Galtian Overlord – the nouveau riche knuckle-draggers don’t qualify. Our betters will eventually break apart along the Paris Hilton/Bill Gates fault line, but most of us will be sucked into the vortex before then.

  61. 61
    Mark S. says:

    @Malron:

    Tiger Woods hired Ari to rehabilitate his image, and well, I hope Tiger didn’t pay him very much.

  62. 62
    cmorenc says:

    @fucen tarmal:

    this needs to be separate from the galtian overlord. they find, and love them some instantly credible person who can claim experience with the opposite side of the debate, before shovelling the overlord’s manure.

    This same principle is why insurance defense law firms love to hire articulate law-school grads who have some sort of patently obvious physical handicap, especially if it involves a wheelchair, to become trial attorneys in personal injury cases.

  63. 63
    mclaren says:

    Professional football is doomed because eventually the lawsuits from all the players who’ve sustained massive life-destroyed brain damage will shut the sport down.

    At some point, the football fans are going to realize that they’re cheering and applauding steroid-hopped-up guys who are destroying their brains with massive head trauma, and the sport will go the way of cat-burning and dog fighting.

  64. 64
    cmorenc says:

    @Mark S:

    Tiger Woods hired Ari to rehabilitate his image, and well, I hope Tiger didn’t pay him very much.

    This fact is more potent proof to me that Tiger Woods is at core, an ass hole of a person than all of the marital cheating he did with bimbos, which is at least understandable as a tragic human flaw of a guy whose fame and fortune never forced him to emotionally mature enough to control his raging libido and the opportunities for indulging it that opened for him. Who but an asshole would hire Ari Fleisher to do anything on their behalf?

  65. 65
    JB says:

    Before every crucifies Murphy, it might do some good to look at his background. Here’s an excerpt from his official Packers page:

    • Served as Redskins’ player representative to the NFL Players Association from 1980-84, including position of vice president of players union (1983-84).

    • Holds law degree from Georgetown University (1988) and M.B.A. in finance from American University (1983).

    • Served as assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association (1985-88) and as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice (1989-92).

    • Served on NFL Commissioner’s Player Advisory Committee (1994-2002)

    Commence calling him a union turncoat or arguing that he may understand both sides of the negotiation better than probably anyone sitting at the table.

    P.S. The only team in professional sports that would hire someone with Murphy extensive union background to serve in a management position would be the Green Bay Packers — and it’s one of the reasons why they’ve been able to succeed all these years.

  66. 66
    danimal says:

    Since this is a football-related thread, I’m compelled to offer an apology on behalf of all Chargers fans. We’re not all complete dicks though some of us may need to face live ammunition.

    How embarrassing. Assholes like that need to switch to the Raidahs.

  67. 67
    freelancer says:

    @mclaren:

    Professional football is doomed because eventually the lawsuits from all the players who’ve sustained massive life-destroyed brain damage will shut the sport down.
    __
    At some point, the football fans are going to realize that they’re cheering and applauding steroid-hopped-up guys who are destroying their brains with massive head trauma, and the sport will go the way of cat-burning and dog fighting.

    Yeah that sounds about as hyperbolic and unforeseeable as the consequences of the rest of your unhinged rants. Surprised though, that you could condense it down to two paragraphs this time.

  68. 68

    @efgoldman:

    Wait…
    This quotation is from the CEO of the fncking Packers???
    That’s the 100% socialized, publicly owned Packers??? Those Packers?
    That play in the ultimate soc ilaist, government-hind-teat-sucking league?
    Those Packers???

    Uh….No.

    The Packers aren’t owned by the city, but by stockholders- like me, across the lake, in Michigan. Lambeau Field was remodeled with the money from that share of stock, amongst others.

    The Packers, unlike other franchises, can’t afford to operate in the red for long. When Jerry Jones sells the Cowboys, he’ll make an assload more off of it than he lost in all of his down years put together. If the Packers ever get sold, the only people who make money off of it are the guys at a certain American Legion post in Green Bay.

  69. 69
    piratedan says:

    a couple of small things…

    Mark Murphy is a former player and as such, should know better but then again, so is Richardson, the owner of the Panthers and here they are pissing and moaning about life after football, because they parleyed their football chops into something that pays well. Kudos to them but they are the exceptions not the rule.

    I did a google on this not too long ago…

    average life expectancy of a US Male citizen.. 78 years
    avereage life expectancy of a male after four years of pro football … 68 years

    yeah these guys get paid well but they also are preyed upon by family and friends and quite a few of them don’t manage their money well, but that’s on the union and the players (I consider them like lottery winners). The travesty is the health care concerns that many players carry after leaving the game, things like walking, using their hands, concussions, not everyone is a cripple and many players do indicate that this is a sacrifice that they were willing and happy to make but the union, the game and the owners don’t need to treat these guys like vietnam vets.

    I get kinda pissed when I hear about the owners cry about the greediness of the players, I’ve had arguemnets with folks on the owners side that loathe that the players make so much money and how they feel that the players are “above the game”. As if there was any other situation where the players represented both the labor and the product and the raw materials. What do the owners do? They make money and pay players and coaches to put an entertainment prodct on the field. Is there any criteria or skill set for being an owner, no, just be a rich bastard. I don’t think anyone is paying these ticket prices to see Jerruh Jones (aka The Crypteeper) or Zygi Wulf or Tom Benson watch the game from their luxury skyboxes.

  70. 70
    Ailuridae says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    As a stockholder are you trying to suggest that the Packers lose money? Really?

  71. 71
    Pooh says:

    @JB: That may be, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s making a monumentally terrible argument, no matter what authority you’re appealing to.

    He’s claiming, essentially, that it’s better for the players to be paid less. And not in some bankshot “if you don’t take less money, the league will fold” way, but literally getting paid less is good for them. Is that really an argument that should be met with anything but scorn?

  72. 72
    Sly says:

    The NFL alone brings in $5 billion a year and has an 8-year TV contract worth nearly $18 billion. After the owner’s take their cut and get their expense credits, players are left with about half of all revenue generated by the NFL every year. If a person thinks the players are getting too much, it is rational to assume that this same person believes that players are doing less than half the work to make the NFL a financial success.

  73. 73

    @Ailuridae:

    No, they don’t, because we’re a pretty loyal fan-base, but that’s not etched in stone. If in the future we went through a long stretch of unsuccessful seasons, we could be in the kind of trouble the low-attendance Jacksonville Jaguars are in, and then….

  74. 74
    Loneoak says:

    The biggest moral hazard in professional football is that the players might get uppity if they have healthcare, not that they might be suffering permanent brain damage to make assholes rich(er).

  75. 75
    Linkmeister says:

    It’s not just football. Remember when Tom Seaver got traded to the Reds from the Mets in 1977? Here’s Seaver:

    “There are two things Grant said to me that I’ll never forget, but illustrate the kind of person he was and the total ‘plantation’ mentality he had,” Seaver says. “During the labor negotiations, he came up to me in the clubhouse once and said: ‘What are you, some sort of Communist?’ Another time, and I’ve never told anyone this, he said to me: ‘Who do you think you are, joining the Greenwich Country Club?’ It was incomprehensible to him if you didn’t understand his feelings about your station in life.”

  76. 76
    slag says:

    @EvolutionaryDesign: It looks like the Colbert Nation forum has a pic: http://forums.colbertnation.co.....d_id=25282. That is kinda creepy.

  77. 77
    sherifffruitfly says:

    This is ok with (mostly all white) “true progressives”.

    “True progressives” don’t actually support unions, but rather they support unionswheremostofthemembersarewhite.

    In many situations, it comes to the same thing. Not in the case you’re talking about, however.

  78. 78

    @Linkmeister:

    Ehhh…I dunno…Remember that the Curt Flood casehad only gone through the courts shortly before that…Andy Messersmith became the first free agent in, what, ’74?

    What I’m saying is that at the time Seaver was traded, most of the execs had that sense of station bred into them. Thirty-three years later, I don’t think they’re quite so rigid.

  79. 79
    Linkmeister says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Well, maybe not. Now they’re just idiotically stupid (or maybe that’s my Dodgers fan attitude toward Frank McCourt coming out).

  80. 80
    Ailuridae says:

    @Sly:

    9 Billion not five.

    People posted Murphy’s CV without noting he’s a fucking wingnut. That’s unfortunate.

  81. 81

    @Linkmeister:

    We had that with Tom Monaghan when he owned the Tigers. Mike Ilitch is full of win, but we knew that he would be based on his history with the Wings.

  82. 82
    Ailuridae says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    I’ve talked to someone who works on the business side of the front office of a very successful smaller market NFL franchise at length about this and Jacksonville in particular. Even with the blackouts he estimates that the Jaguars couldn’t have lost more than 2M last season. That’s in a market the NFL has no business being in in the worst economy since the great depression

  83. 83
    Petorado says:

    I know we no longer live in a democracy — in a post-Citizens United world its one dollar, one vote not one man, one vote. So, our electeds no longer work for us, they follow the money. Given human nature, that’s to be expected.

    How about if democracy reforms itself and instead of voting for government officials, we vote for who gets to be rich? After hearing utter BS spouted by such a parade of complete tools with money on their side lately, I think we should strip the ingrates of their money if they get too dickish and let someone else with a greater sense of noblese oblige have a crack at it.

    If voted to be the next billionaire, I promise to drop some cash in your neighborhood instead of squirreling it away in the Caymans, and I won’t bitch about taxes or how much better I am than others because I was the progeny of a lucky sperm. Sound like a deal?

  84. 84
    Jamie says:

    Well, like mah daddy used to say, when a hoss gets past prime, you gotta do somthin. One er two of em, well, those are good breedin. But the others wouldn’t have much of a life, not gettin any. So it was a kindness, really, to send them to the glue factory.gotta do what’s right, you know?

  85. 85
    Gustopher says:

    It’s tough love. No matter how much it hurts you, you have to fuck over the workers, so they learn to be self-reliant.

    Also, it’s cheaper.

  86. 86
    ChrisB says:

    @Linkmeister: I still hate M. Donald Duck and Dick Young.

    And if I was mean spirited, I’d say that Mark Murphy was too slow and didn’t hit hard enough to have the worries that Dave Duerson had.

  87. 87
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Ija:

    In 2009, twenty-six out of 59 Packers make a million dollars or more. That’s more than 40%; I would not call that “not a lot.” The low man made a paltry $310,000. Green Bay ranked 9th in total payroll. On the Dolphins in 2009 (highest team payroll), 29 out of 58 players — 50% — made a million dollars or more. Again, $310,000 was the low salary, because it was the league minimum. League minimums by year:

    In 2008, $295k

    In 2009, $310k

    In 2010, $325k

    In 2011, $340k

    In 2012, $355k

    So as long as there are laws requiring that insurance companies not be allowed to 1) deny coverage and 2) charge exorbitant rates I wouldn’t have any problem at all with NFL players having to pay for their own insurance. While it is true that injuries play a big role in the lives of professional football players, no one is forcing them to play. After all, if they want to they can always trade in their shoulder pads and cleats for a mop and a bucket and make ends meet on a custodian’s wages. Oh, and they’ll probably still have to pay for their own insurance. (Full disclosure — I sustained a serious knee injury playing football and it has plagued me my entire life.)

    For the record, I favor a universal single-payer health care system that would cover pro football players too. But, under our current system, I can’t get too upset if people making hundreds of thousands, and often millions of dollars, a year have to pay for their own insurance. After all, we have more than 15% of our population without any health insurance at all, and most of them aren’t making six and seven figure salaries.

    Years ago when asked who he was rooting for in the World Series, Hunter Thompson said no one, because having a favorite professional sports team is like having a favorite oil company — they’re both big business. I’m concerned about most of the 15+% of our citizens who don’t have health insurance, but on a list from first to last, I’m probably less worried about professional athletes that just about anyone else.

    That said, I want them covered under a universal system that has no private for profit insurance companies.

  88. 88
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Ija:

    In 2009, twenty-six out of 59 Packers made a million dollars or more. That’s more than 40%; I would not call that “not a lot.” The low man made a paltry $310,000. Green Bay ranked 9th in total payroll. On the Dolphins in 2009 (highest team payroll), 29 out of 58 players — 50% — made a million dollars or more. Again, $310,000 was the low salary, because it was the league minimum. League minimums by year:

    In 2008, $295k

    In 2009, $310k

    In 2010, $325k

    In 2011, $340k

    In 2012, $355k

    So as long as there are laws requiring that insurance companies not be allowed to 1) deny coverage and 2) charge exorbitant rates I wouldn’t have any problem at all with NFL players having to pay for their own insurance. While it is true that injuries play a big role in the lives of professional football players, no one is forcing them to play. After all, if they want to they can always trade in their shoulder pads and cleats for a mop and a bucket and make ends meet on a custodian’s wages. Oh, and they’ll probably still have to pay for their own insurance. (Full disclosure — I sustained a serious knee injury playing football and it has plagued me my entire life.)

    For the record, I favor a universal single-payer health care system that would cover pro football players too. But, under our current system, I can’t get too upset if people making hundreds of thousands, and often millions of dollars, a year have to pay for their own insurance. After all, we have more than 15% of our population without any health insurance at all, and most of them aren’t making six and seven figure salaries.

    Years ago when asked who he was rooting for in the World Series, Hunter Thompson said no one, because having a favorite professional sports team is like having a favorite oil company — they’re both big business. I’m concerned about most of the 15+% of our citizens who don’t have health insurance, but on a list from first to last, I’m probably less worried about professional athletes that just about anyone else.

    That said, I want them covered under a universal system that has no private for profit insurance companies.

  89. 89
    Triassic Sands says:

    Hmmm, not exactly a seamless editing system. Sorry for the double post. I tried to request deletion of the first and nothing happened.

    Question for the Weblords — why can’t the editing of comments be open-ended, i.e., no time limit?

  90. 90
    rickstersherpa says:

    @JB: When a guy says this, as Murphy did, just four days after Dave Duerson’s suicide, and who probably knows players who are drifting off to never, never land, it reminds one again of Upton Sinclair’s observation that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” This is not a conscious or deliberate change, but rather once one starts working in an organization and with a group, one usually adopts the concerns and ideology of that interest.

  91. 91
    kd bart says:

    Remember, NFL contracts are not guaranteed. Thus, on paper you can be earning $3 million a year but if you’re cut tomorrow, you get nothing. If you hear a player has gotten a long term contract, say 7 years for $70 million, chances are he’ll never see the out years of that contract. That’s why most long term contracts come with a sizable signing bonus since that is the only part that is guarantee and the owner’s can prorate it over the length of the contract for salary cap purposes. In the instance above, $15 million of the $70 million might be the signing bonus. The rest is $55 million over 7 years. If he’s cut after 3 years, the final payout on the contract might only be $40 million but the owner will have to take a $2+ million hit agianst his salary cap over the next 4 years even though the player is no longer with his team.

  92. 92
    drkrick says:

    Here’s what’s particularly galling about Murphy’s statement – he’s not only a former player, he’s a former NFLPA union player rep for the Washington team who used to claim his involvement with the union got him blackballed off the team by Jack Kent Cooke.

    And granting the accuracy of Triassic Sands’ numbers – sure, professional athletes shouldn’t be at the top of the list of concerns from a public policy standpoint, given the economics of the game, there’s no excuse for the owners not to be taking care of them so long as we have an employer-based insurance system in this country.

  93. 93
    daveNYC says:

    The average NFL career is only 3.5 seasons long. I couldn’t find median numbers, but with people like Favre out there, I suspect there are a lot of players who get bounced after one or two seasons. So two years work, blown out knees and some head injuries, and you got paid about $700k or so for your troubles.

    Seriously, get these guys some health care.

  94. 94
    Paul in KY says:

    @mclaren: It was a sad day when the old cat burning leagues were shut down. Lot of stray cats had to fend for themselves on the street.

  95. 95
    Paul in KY says:

    @danimal: Thanks for the apology. He wouldn’t last 15 minutes in Raiderland.

  96. 96

    @Malron:

    Need I remind you: this is the guy that hired Ari Fleischer to do “PR” for the Packers when him, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy were desperately trying to figure out a way to run Brett Favre out of town without appearing to be running Brett Favre out of town.

    Shoot! Just caught this!

    Just wanted to chime in to say that they didn’t need to spin it at all to get me and quite a few of my acquaintances an board. Favre’s “Wait until the end of June until I know if I’m retiring” act every few years wasn’t only tiresome, it effected the draft, free agent signings and the salary cap. I was happy to see him traded, even when Rodgers was an enigma.

  97. 97
    thalarctos says:

    @Triassic Sands: “Question for the Weblords—why can’t the editing of comments be open-ended, i.e., no time limit?”

    It opens the door to revisionism–people can revise or take down their comments and claim never to have said something.

    It’s good, I think, to have a short window for buyer’s remorse on something written in the heat of fury, or for proof-reading, but then afterwards, the record should stand.

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