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Message to the NFL: Pay Your Workers

Exhausted. The "argument between millionaires and billionaires" has left me at an awkward place this offseason. One where I've openly stated that I just don't care if there's football next year.

Will that feeling hold up as the "beginning" of the season grows nearer? Maybe… maybe not. All I know is, I have become mentally exhausted, and sometimes irritable, from listening to the NFL and the Players Union (or Strike Force, or whatever they're called) slander each other to the media, all while playing the innocent victim to their fans. It is tiring.

For the longest time, I straddled the fence, refusing to take a side. All that mattered was that they came to a speedy resolve, and that we'd see football come September.

I was listening to the radio the other day, excited to hear some more "DRose for MVP" talk, and the broadcaster said something football-related that actually caught my attention.

While the NFL is the most profitable and popular sport's league in America, it's players are the lowest paid, have the shortest careers, and suffer the most injuries.

One and one does not add up.

The NFL is king in America. Yet only 14 of the 50 highest-earning American athletes in 2010 were football players. Peyton Manning was the first on the list, at number nine, and had to troll our television sets in the form of $15mm in endorsements just to break the top 10.

Where it gets worse, and what I think needs to be addressed the most, is with the salaries of your typical NFL player. Players in the NBA averaged $5.3mm in 2008. At the same time, NFL players were averaging less than $800k per season. I understand that there are more players on an NFL team, I get that. However, when the league is handcuffed by the salaries of rookies (see Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez being in the top 50 above), players at the "bottom tier" are playing a very violent game, suffering some very significant injuries, for very low money. 

I don't agree that the players should get to look at the owner's books. Ever. The NFL is a business, and the owners should not be required to turn over their financials to its employees. However, the owners should really look over the numbers, and figure out a way to greater reward the players that are contributing to those figures.

Or at least that's how I'd feel, if I really cared.