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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Slaves? Hardly

Earlier this week, Adrian Peterson likened NFL players to slaves. Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall then backed Peterson's comment later this week.

That is hardly the case and is demeaning to the people who actually were slaves.

Slaves were forced to work in their job with no say in what they were doing or how they were doing it. They also received no monetary compensation.

NFL players choose to work in the NFL. There's nothing written anywhere that says college football players MUST play in the NFL.

But they do so because they either enjoy playing the game or enjoy the compensation that comes with being an NFL player.

Yes, they cannot readily change jobs. But that is because they sign a contract to work for a certain team.

Do they have to join the team that drafts them? Nope.

There have been instances where a player has forced a trade rather than play for a team prior to ever playing a down for that club - John Elway being the most famous.

And players hold out in an effort to force their trade or release all the time.

But they are compensation well.

Is it a perfect system? Nope.

But to say that NFL players are slaves borders on the ridiculous.


Anonymous said...

This is exactly how I feel this is such a ridiculous statement for them to make

Slab said...

I agree. What a crock of crap! Slaves! Mendenhall, Peterson and every other NFL player appealed to be included in the draft, and then negotiated and signed a contract to pay them more money than they would see in 10 lifetimes doing anything other than playing professional football.

marc said...

i can only view mendenhall now as an ignorant jack ass.

joe said...

dale, i'd say it is past "borders on ridiculous" and is ridiculous !
at this point both sides in the labor dispute ought to realize their comments aren't winning them any fans towards their respective sides. both sides should just shut up, let the lawsuits play out, then get back to negotiating in private.

Greg Mercer said...

Mendenhall's an idiot. a real slave would've protected the ball better in the 4th quarter of a Superbowl.

Steve-O said...


Personally I don't think Mendenhall has ever resonated with us fans as a true Steeler. How is he taken in the locker room? Do his teammates embrace him as one of their own or is he on of those guys that are just in it for themselves?

Nicholas Conner said...

He didn't say NFL players were slaves, rather, he likened the NFL to the slave trade, meaning that there are similarities, which there are. The biggest differences of course are that it's voluntary and the players are compensated, but I think it was at the last NFL combine that a writer offered a similar sentiment, something to the effect of how odd it was to hear men (scouts) rave over the size of a prospects buttocks (referring to an lineman's lower body strength). What's somewhat shocking to me is the verocity of the responses in disagreement with him; it's as if he said something to personally offend.

Dale Lolley said...

To me it is personally offensive. There are actually people who are still slaves out there - even in this country – in the sex business.

As for how Mendenhall is taken in the locker room, I've never had any problem with him. I think he's a good guy. He's pretty quiet and laid back.

Nicholas Conner said...

Fair enough. I would suppose differing opinions have something to do with what the aspects of being a slave are, and which of those are shared by an NFL player. And then, which aspects are most central to the definition of slavery. It's true that NFL players don't have to worry about forced labor or not being compensated, but I could see the devalue of a person to that of a commodity.

Just for comparison's sake, I was wondering if a prostitute could claim any similarities to your example...or maybe a pornography star would be more appropriate, if we're comparing NFL players.

Anonymous said...

I've been to a few 3rd world countries and take this to be a horribly offensive comment because there are still millions of slaves in this world. Sex slaves, work slaves, some that are children that sleep on the floor after having horrible things happen to them every day. The players have NOTHING in common to this experience. I've seen people crawling on the ground because their limbs have been blown off as they are forced to search for hidden land mines. AP is an ignorant human that is lucky to be American. I'm now ashamed that Mendy took back up to his comment. These people are idiots. I hope they have a great time in South Beach this summer with the rest of the "slaves."