Training camp is in full force all around the NFL, and with training camp comes the usual side effects. Injuries, fights, hope, and the kicker….holdouts. The thing that gets me angrier than you can comprehend about holdouts are when fans, writers, and team officials alike, get on the player’s case and argue that he should be at camp, and that he owes an infinite amount of loyalty to the team that signs his checks and gives him the opportunity to play in the NFL.
While loyalty is all well and good, those arguments are absolute stupidity.
Click “Continue Reading” to read Joe’s opinions about holdouts.
In its most basic form, a holdout in the NFL is where a player is unhappy with his contract or role on the team, and does not participate in team activities, whether it’s a game or a practice, without getting that contract or role changed. Several players back down on their holdout requests after they miss an extended amount of time, for their own good, but most players stay true to their word and don’t give an inch. We often see top draft picks holding out or players who have unexpected breakout seasons.
Why do I think that players have the right to hold out? Well, let’s take a quick look at some stats, shall we?
- The average length of an NFL career is about 3.5 seasons, according to the NFLPA.
- Only 7 percent of NFL players have a career that lasts more than 10 years.
- The life expectancy of an NFL player is 55 years old.
Just think about those three stats for a couple seconds. Don’t even think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars these NFL players will need in special medical care after their careers are over, and don’t consider the fact that concussions were seen in almost every single NFL game this season. These health issues are real, and the players deserve their money for two reasons. One is that they’ll need it eventually, to pay for health insurance that is sure to be priced beyond any reasonable cost because of the danger of their profession, which would take care of hospital fees, specialists, and prescriptions. Beyond that reason, they deserve to be compensated for putting their body through torture every day, especially on the practice fields of hard-nosed coaches like John Harbaugh, Andy Reid and Jeff Fisher.
Now let’s move away from the injuries and shocking life expectancy figures, and just think about the players’ arguments. Darrelle Revis is the notable holdout this year, so I’ll use him as an example. An All-Pro performer last season, the Jets’ stud had 6 interceptions, 47 tackles an a whopping 31 passes deflected. Those numbers are even a bad indication of his performance as he started to receive the “Nmandi Asomugha Treatment”, or more simply, teams refused to throw the ball his way. He called his side of the field “Revis Island”, where receivers go and are never heard from again, and in all fairness, it was true. He was that good. And now, he wants a raise.
Let’s dial it back and make some comparisons. Let’s say you work on a sales team in an office. You’ve been consistently good for 5 years, not the best in your office, but pretty good. Your boss gives you credit when it’s due, but doesn’t go overboard with it. Then this year, you’ve decided to work harder and get more recognition on the team and with your boss. You make the company’s biggest sale in three years, and your boss openly compliments your efforts and literally applauds every time you walk by him. You keep up the hard work and make another very big, important sale. The praise just keeps growing from around the office, and your boss is as pleased as he’s ever been with a worker. You’d like a raise or promotion, but you stay quiet because you think it will come in time. Then, you keep making big sales and are the cream of the crop of your company. Your boss praises you all the time, but you never get a raise or promotion. Don’t you think you deserve it? Don’t you feel like you’re doing so much work, and getting little return except praise that is now so commonplace and bland that you don’t care about it anymore?
It’s the same thing with an NFL player who holds out, except they put their body on the line every day and make millions upon millions for their owner, the guy that signs their checks. Arguments are made about loyalty to the team, what about loyalty to the player on the team’s part? The player is the one who gets them the national attention, the player is the one that sells out the stadiums, and most of all, the player is the one who PLAYS THE GAME!!! Owners, fans, writers, and even coaches have no place to say that players are wrong to hold out for new contracts. They’re not the ones on the field, they’re not the ones giving the fans and media what they want.
Now, as I return to a reasonable state, I see no reason why top draft picks hold out until they’re paid more than established NFL stars, but in most cases, the holdout is a reasonable request. Revis wants to be one of the NFL’s highest-paid cornerbacks, and he deserves it, being that he’s one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.
That’s my rant for today, some news about the Ravens’ stadium practice today will be posted later.