Imagine if you will that your industry was all of a sudden not allowed to happen anymore, would you expect a great deal of money to still be coming your way? Well that is exactly what is the notion behind a lot of the millionaire athletes in the NFL.
I suppose to a certain extent I can identify with their gripe, but since I make no where near what their salary is getting cut to, let's just say that i'm not exactly breaking out the violins to play a sad song for them nor will I bet getting involved in a kickstarter to keep them all from starving to death.
In a sign of solidarity that is almost certainly more ceremonial than it is real, Roger Goodell cut his own salary to $0 during these crazy Covid times. If the season is called off, which it very well could be if stadiums are not given the green-light to re-open by September, an additional "rider" is being put into the collective bargaining agreement that all players' salaries will be reduced to a $250,000 stipend that is reduced by accordingly if any players have received bonuses already in the year. Those who have already received money in excess of this amount will receive nothing should the season be cancelled.
The first thing that came to my mind was "why not just have a season with no fans in attendance like other sports?" That's a very good question I suppose but one only needs to look at the tremendous amount of money that is generated at these events to understand why it is that it might actually be more beneficial for the team owners to not have a season than it would be to proceed without the million upon millions of dollars that are made at each and every one of these games.
I wouldn't get your cameras out and try to spot La'Veon Bell at your local soup kitchen just yet though, since if these fellas have any sort of financial sense they are probably going to be ok and probably just need to enjoy some time off. Also that graphic is 2 years old and isn't even true anymore. I only included it to focus on how much money these guys are paid, before endorsement deals. I figure that a person should probably have some money tucked away if they are pulling down more than 10 million a year.
However, I personally know someone that used to play a starting position with the Baltimore Ravens, we went to high school together and when he got injured after 5 years and a Super Bowl ring, he was cut and his previous salary of over $4 million a year was now zero dollars a year. It was astounding how quickly he was broke and the last I saw him he was back in our hometown managing a Jiffy Lube. It was a pretty sad thing to see that someone could manage to accrue nearly $20 million and be reduced to nada in just a few years. He told me that he was a fool and was trying to keep up with the "ballers" and overspent. I would imagine he would have to deal with a tremendous amount of regret for the rest of his life.
The league actually does have minimum salaries, even for guys that never see any playtime, this is what the collective bargaining agreement is all about. In 2019 the minimum salary for a first year rookie was $495,000 and this goes up dramatically as the years go by. It should come as no surprise that most of the players you are familiar with make dramatically more than this.
I think it will be interesting to see how many of the players "lawyer up" to fight this and I would imagine that they should be very careful how much of a fuss they decide to make about it. The average man is the average sports fan, and these people probably already make far less than $250,000... not to mention that 'Rona has wiped a lot of these people out financially and professionally. I don't expect a great deal of public sympathy for any NFL player that decides to make a big deal out of this.