What’s the Hold Up?

Posted: August 11, 2011 in NFL

The hold up this time of year is all about the hold out, a common trend in the NFL that no matter how much people of my ilk detest does not seem to go away. I am referring to the contract hold outs of player’s who feel that they do not need to honour their contractual commitments they made years ago to their teams.

This year the two big names for a hold out were Philadelphia Eagle’s wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and arguably the second best running back in the league in Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.

Now my problem here stems from the principle that you signed a contract in order to play professional football, something you called your dream once. When you achieved this dream I bet you were ecstatic over the fact that you got to play football everyday for the rest of your life, no?

When a player’s name is called by the commissioner (currently Roger Goodell) it is supposed to be one of the best days of a college football player’s life. This past year almost every player embraced the commissioner with a bear hug, following the lead of Gerald McCoy last year when he almost crushed Goodell with a similar hug.

So then it begs the question, why so serious? Why must you always feel you’re entitled to more? If you’re playing worse the team is not allowed to restructure your deal so that you’re paid less. Now granted, I am aware that contracts can be terminated in the NFL, but the best players will have clauses that will protect them in some fashion. Also there is a guaranteed amount of money so you’re not cut loose with nothing. If you are playing great you can rest assured that you will be paid.

Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, no questions no debate. The man is an athletic specimen, he continually runs for yards and TDs every year and he gets paid. He is clean cut, smiles and gets endorsement deals as well. Mr. Johnson has a golden grill, long dreads and always look like he’s about to hurt someone.

This is not profiling, this is merely suggesting that one avenue to get some more money is to clean yourself up, present yourself like a professional adult and get some outside the lines money.

Now back to this silly idea of the hold out. There are more drawbacks here than benefits from holding out, especially after months lost to training, team communication and conditioning with the trainers.

First off when you are holding out that means you’re holding out on your coaches, your player’s and yourself. You are denying yourself and your teammates the chance to practice offensive set ups, plays, schemes, anything to get yards and put points on the board. Why would you be so selfish as to prevent that? Isn’t football played on a field with 10 other offensive players? Are you not part of a “team” that wears the same jersey and plays on the same field?

Second, you are not bigger than the league or the system with which it works in. You decided to go to college to play football and pursue a career in it afterwards. Neither I nor anyone else prevented you from continuing on with your education and working in a field that does not have the same risks involved as football. You made a conscious choice to pursue fame and fortune and now you’re complaining about the road you’re driving on to reach that goal? Get over yourself.

I cannot stress how many times these acts of selfishness upset me as a fan, knowing full well I am nothing shy of jealous of every single one of these players, coaches, assistants, water boys, etc. They are all directly involved with teams, players, organizations. They are where I want to be and I will be there one day, I’m just not there right now. So to see the game taken for granted time and time again upsets me, as it should every fan.

This once again brings us to the business side of it, and understanding your role as the employee.

Sure I could hold out for more money from my company, but they would say go ahead and get work with another company/brand. Fine, but then I need to submit resumes and go to interviews to get that new job with a new organization.

You must understand this player’s, the NFL is the organization not the teams within it. You are playing within a CBA for the entire league, not just the team that will pay you. As a result, you have signed a contract to play in the NFL therefore honour that contract.

I do not care if you are over achieving in the first two or three years of your four year rookie deal. You know when you can expect to be paid and get a new deal? When this current contract is completed, by you the employee.

Over achieving happens everywhere in life and you are not always compensated the way you wish to be, it’s called life, deal with it. You think I get paid what I want? Or what I think I’m worth? My employer decides that not me. If I want to hold out, I can wait in the unemployment line.

You can do the same, I am sure the UFL would love to have a former 2,000 yard rusher in their programs on game day.

This is not to say that you should roll over and die on these issues, if anything continue to perform then you will get even more money when it comes to contract negotiation time. You might get more guaranteed money, more years, who knows.

That is the beauty of being the best, you prove your worth on the field then come contract time you have all the leverage. Holding out to me shows that you’re a whiny baby who does not want to play by the rules. This is not acceptable. Coaches don’t stop coaching if they think they’re underpaid. They make a note to the front office and move along with their business.

I do want to say that I support player’s being paid what they are worth, otherwise it’s a sweat shop on the field. However, as always there is something to be said about paying your dues. One great year followed by a good year is great but shouldn’t the team get this free money before they start paying out? Should they not be rewarded for the chance they took on an East Carolina standout?

It is not as if they drafted Peyton Manning type talent and are paying him peanuts. Johnson was a late first round draft pick from a smaller school who broke his leg in his senior year of high school and was a poor high school student. He did not come with a sparkly clean resume and Heisman Trophy stats to boot.

This is an example of a team taking a calculated risk and hitting the jackpot, are they not entitled to their winnings?

In sum, Mr. Johnson will get paid after this year I imagine with a contract that makes him close to, or actually being the highest paid running back in the game. However to do that he will have to have another year of production, that is the key to the vault in the NFL. Good luck Mr. Johnson, the path to cash is covered in grass and hash marks, I’m sure you’ll find your way.

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