Meet Adrian Peterson, modern day slave

He’ll make $10.72 million this year as an NFL running back:

adrianPeterson.jpgVikings running back Adrian Peterson compared NFL owners’ treatment of players to “modern-day slavery,” according to an online interview published Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports.

NFL owners and players couldn’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement last week after more than two weeks of federal mediation. Shortly before the players union decertified, Peterson spoke to Yahoo to promote a recent appearance on the online reality show “Double Take.” The NFL declared a lockout when the CBA expired.

“The players are getting robbed. They are,” Peterson told Yahoo. “The owners are making so much money off of us to begin with. I don’t know that I want to quote myself on that.”

When discussing other players feeling the same way, Peterson said: “It’s modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too. With all the money. … The owners are trying to get a different percentage, and bring in more money. I understand that; these are business-minded people. Of course this is what they are going to want to do. I understand that; it’s how they got to where they are now. But as players, we have to stand our ground and say, ‘Hey, without us, there’s no football.’ ”

Peterson is set to make $10.72 million in base salary in 2011.

The Vikings declined to comment. Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, supported his client in a statement Tuesday night.

“I think anybody that knows Adrian knows that Adrian is a very strong-willed and passionate individual,” Dogra said. “The game means an awful lot to him. People should not just take his statements per se word by word.”

You feeling sorry for Mr. Peterson? 

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  • James H

    Peterson? Maybe not. But I do feel sorry for some of the players who are good enough to make the NFL and throw their bodies into the fray, but not good enough to be superstars, land lucrative endorsement deals, or get a comfy color commentator gig after their bodies are broken and mended a dozen times on the field.

    Guys like that can get, what … $375k per year? And for how many years before their bodies get out? Three? Four? Five? That’s less than $2 million for a gruesomely short career, while the rest of us poor schlubs in the world will earn just as much (or more) without completely destroying our bodies.

    And as for the NFL owners … I have no sympathy whatsoever for them, particularly considering the antics of my own local football king, Daniel “Sue ‘Em” Snyder, who gets bent out of shape when a local rag is just a little bit critical.

  • Wayne

    RE “while the rest of us poor schlubs in the world will earn just as much”

    You got to be kidding. How many people make 2 million in 5 years?

    Regardless it is not modern-day slavery. Like any job, if you want the money it comes at a price. If you don’t like it you can walk away. Slaves would not have a choice and they wouldn’t be paid that much. Every aspect of their lives would be controlled by the slave owner including who to mate with,taking of offsprings, etc.

  • Gmac

    In 2008, $295k

    In 2009, $310k

    In 2010, $325k

    In 2011, $340k

    In 2012, $355k

    I don’t feel sorry for ANY of them for rather obvious reasons.

    Just like the baseball strikes in the 80′s and 90′s that shortened the season and chased off the fan base, this ‘lockout’ will accomplish little beyond some modest changes in salary structure.

    It’s turned into a thug culture on both sides of the table and I’m not going to support it.

    “Peterson said: “It’s modern-day slavery, you know?”
    FWIW, slaves didn’t sign contracts…

  • James H

    You got to be kidding. How many people make 2 million in 5 years

    I didn’t say “just as much in 5 years.” I said “just as much” over our careers. If a person averages around $50k over the course of a career of about 40 years, thats $2 million right there.

  • http://doublenickelfarm.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Idiots.

    Who cares what the wage? I tell my teens that if they agree to the wage then the discussion is over. What another makes off of you is because they have vested money and time in the pot too.

    And there are far less people with the money and means to run a football/sports team than a player that can wow us with his ‘skill.’

    If you don’t like the slavery, get off the plantation. Seems appropriate…

  • John

    Good Lord James, owners don’t raid universities and force football players into chains and make them play football. It’s a free country you want to play football but aren’t good enough to make millions then you have a decision to make, NO ONE MAKES ANYONE PLAY FOOTBALL.
    As far as this fight between owners and players it’s like Iran/Iraq I hope they both lose. The average family can’t affort to go to NFL games because of the cost owners and players are to blame.

  • James H

    John:

    I’m only trying to make a comparison and point out the incomes of individual NFL players as opposed to the highly (or outlandishly) compensated superstars (and alleged superstars like Albert Haynesworth).

    Beyond that, I don’t see much that puts either the NFL owners or the players in a good light. The real lockout sufferers (as pointed out elsewhere) are folks like security guards, popcorn vendors, and so forth — people who earn a wage working for the stadiums during game season, but now have to look for other work because millionaires and billionaires can’t agree on how to slice the pie.

  • Oldpuppymax

    Without the NFL, Peterson would be doing…what… robbing houses, collecting welfare, selling/using drugs or completing the “Theory of Everything.” You make the call. So please, SHUT UP Adrian. People are laughing AT you, not feeling your pain.

  • hyperbolist

    Hm, I wonder what it is about Adrian Peterson that causes Oldpuppymax to think of robbing houses, collecting welfare, and selling/using drugs?

    The NFL owners are despicable people. Sure, the players are well-paid, but as James pointed out, the average player isn’t insanely rich and the average career is 3-4 years long before a devastating injury cuts it short. Oftentimes these injuries occlude the player from pursuing an honest post-football career involving physical labour, i.e. a skilled trade.

    The slavery comparison is dumb. Adrian Peterson shouldn’t have said that. But the owners are abusing the players. And all this is coming from someone who doesn’t give a shit about American “football”.

  • Chip

    Abusing the players? Are you serious? Hyper who in the hell is forcing these people to sign on to these abusive contracts? Who is forcing these people to accept these wages? THEY are the ones that made the choice to play football, I don’t feel sorry for either the dumb players or their employers. I can’t stand any of the millionaire sports. I’m sick of them all.

  • GarandFan

    A pox on both their houses. No one is putting a gun to the head of the players, FORCING them to play.

    The local team owner is still trying to get the city to build a new stadium. Seems the current one is “too old”. And the freaking politicians, who can’t balance the budget, and are cutting services, want to go into debt to build him one.

  • Woop

    If this player was white you’d never have written this post.

  • Clint

    The slavery comment is clearly dumb.

    But he’s not wrong — there’s something wrong there.

    Consider the NFL’s salary cap — in any other business, wouldn’t that be illegal collusion? All of the employers of NFL-quality football players are getting together and openly agreeing to pay the players less than they would otherwise have to.

    Can you imagine the stink if all of the major gas companies in America got together and agreed that they’d all raise the price of gas by a dollar a gallon?

    There’s a reason for football players to be angry about this — and while Adrian Peterson probably isn’t the one getting screwed, we wouldn’t be talking about it if the complaint came from a third-string lineman who takes most of his hits in practice.

  • Wayne

    James that did cross my mind. However it is still a ridiculous statement. Giving someone 40 years worth of salary for 5 years of work is still great. They have 35 years left over to do something else. Not only that but since the capital came in at such a short period, anyone with half a brain could invest it and retired, buy a business, etc. Also don’t they get retirement benefits after just three years of playing?

    Give me those deals please.

  • hyperbolist

    Woah, Chip, what exactly is your problem with the free market? Their wages are based on supply and demand. Owners make one hell of a lot of money off of these guys and now they want to squeeze them a lot harder. I enjoy professional sports (though not this one) and I also have a problem with workers being exploited.

    Clint has it exactly right. What exactly is the problem of top paid athletes taking umbrage to their lower-paid teammates getting financially abused?

  • rich

    Time for the “Replacements” to play a season.

  • Chip

    Hyper I don’t have a problem with the free market. What I have a problem with is the stupidity of the professional sports player.

    What, have they been living in a bubble? They can plainly see on TV that the game is a dangerous sport.

    They go into the deal with the understanding that, “Hmmm I could get seriously hurt playing this game, should I accept the $350,000.00 per year playing a game in which I could be disabled in a year or should I choose a safer career for 20 or more years?” Cry me a river.

    If I know an employer is going to make a “great living” off my blood, sweat, and tears, I clearly have a choice to make, shame on me if I’m stupid and make the wrong one. In my opinion they should have a backup plan just in case the sports thing goes south on them, too bad for them if they don’t.

  • James H

    anyone with half a brain could invest it and retired, buy a business, etc

    If they took a lot of ocncussions, that’s more brain than they have left.

  • ODA315

    NFL Players

    Maybe you should join the NEA.

  • Tina S

    Slaves were purchased at auctions and could be resold or traded at the owners wim. Athletes are purchased through a draft and can be sold or traded at the owners wim. If your company could trade you to a another company you would probably feel like a slave as well.

  • Chip

    Hmm, I thought anyone that made over $250K a year were part of the “evil rich” and had to PAY, and give up their money to the poor for the good of the country, all of a sudden it’s the poor millionaire football players?

  • James H

    Tina:

    The metaphor doesn’t wash. Owners trade contracts for services, not actual players, and players have the option to refuse to work (though they incur contractual penalties if they do).

  • Eileen Winchell

    I really feel sorry for those poor million plus players. They really make me sick with ther belly-aching. They should be unemployed and see how they like it.

  • Wayne

    Tinas you mean like a temp service or outsource employees? They sign a contract to allow owners to trade their services. If they don’t like it then don’t sign but don’t cry me a river.

  • DJ Drummond

    Mr. Peterson has unintentionally demonstrated why the players are losing this debate.

    First, let’s state the obvious. This business has a TON of money, about NINE BILLION dollars a year, and it’s a legal monopoly. Not only that, but the brands (teams) are well-known and very popular. Even at the current ridiculous prices, what most fans want is to see football. They will pay a LOT of money to see the games.

    The players and owners both have a few valid points. The players point out that it’s THEIR talent that brings in the fans, after a few years their playing years are over, so why shouldn’t they get as much money as they can? The owners point out that that THEY put up the money to buy and run the teams, sometimes paying ridiculous rents and costs (and sometiems not), and the owners are not ‘guaranteed’ to make a profit, while most players have guaranteed minimum amounts in their contracts. The owners have to pay everyone in the front office, handle media when a player does something incredibly stupid, and essentially take ALL the financial risk.

    Of course, both arguments miss the fact that these are a relatively few very lucky, very rich men arguing over how much of the jackpot they each should claim. I note that none of the teams have suggested, say, that the disputed amount could be donated to charity, or used to fund schools, hospitals or other worthy but needy establishments. Frankly, it’s very hard, if you take away the names and just look at the way they do business, to see how professional football is that much different from casinos or prostitution. Well OK, the casinos and the prositutes never threaten to refuse to do business for their customers.

    Anyway, back to Mr. Peterson. The players did have a trump card in the dispute – the players and the owners signed a CBA – collective bargaining agreement – and the players were happy to honor that contract, at least as a group. It’s the owners who decided not to honor that agreement, and that alone makes the owners look just a bit more unreasonable. Until, of course, statements like this one from Peterson basically show that that the debate is like judging horse rear ends – no matter what you choose, the product and the smell will be the same.

    Oh, one other point. James H, you left out that pro football players can still do many other things after they stop playing, even if they are injured, and the amount they made in thei playing days provides capital for investing and self-owned businesses that is not a possibility for normal people. And of course, there’s also the publicity of having a name known as a pro athlete, most folks do not get to enjoy celebrity status to attract business or supporters.

  • SCSIwuzzy

    Tina S,
    There were free agent slaves? Slaves went to college to learn how to work the fields, and got a free (or mostly free) education while doing so? Parent’s dreamed that their children would have aptitude for picking cotton and would compete for the highly coveted positions in the slave draft?

    Seriously, do you think before you type?
    Some days it feels like the trolls here would fail a Turing test…

  • hyperbolist

    Chip, what does taxation have to do with this? Most athletes vote Republican (i.e. with their pocketbooks). That doesn’t mean people should not care if owners seek to exploit them unfairly.

  • James H

    DJ: Lots of good material above. When people line up on one side or the other, it’s worth remembering that in a highly unionized field like football playing, the union seeking a new CBA is roughly the same as somebody in an ordinary job being aggressive when negotiating for a salary increase.

    Did you know that Google pays some of its top engineers retention bonuses? That is, these top engineers get large bonuses just for staying with the company for the past six months.

    But if you’re a top engineer at Google, you get to play by a different set of rules.

    Bottom line: If you’re an essential worker at your office, you get to command a higher salary … and you have the privilege of arguing with the boss when he won’t give you what you want.

    Now, to what’s addressed to me:

    Oh, one other point. James H, you left out that pro football players can still do many other things after they stop playing, even if they are injured, and the amount they made in thei playing days provides capital for investing and self-owned businesses that is not a possibility for normal people.

    The smart players do, in fact do this. Although I wonder at the price the players pay for this occasionally. The owners initially wanted an 18-game season, and I don’t blame the players for balking at that, given what their bodies go through in a 16-game season.

    Additionally, part of me wonders how much of the player’s salary lands in the pockets of his manager, agent, private trainer, and so forth. (Also, the agent and so forth considered deductible? I’ve always been curious).

    And of course, there’s also the publicity of having a name known as a pro athlete, most folks do not get to enjoy celebrity status to attract business or supporters.

    Unless your Ryan Leaf.

    Seriously, though, this point isn’t so great. The Deion Saunderses and John Elways of the league have the world in front of them. The Stephen Petermans? Not so much.

  • Chip

    Hyper, I could care less about the politics of a professional sports player and I don’t care that you and others feel they are being exploited, they have a choice, they made it and signed a contract and agreed to get payed X amount of dollars to be exploited. If they don’t like it, they can do what the rest of us do, quit and get a job that’s not so detrimental to their bodies.

    Wouldn’t that teach those nasty, evil owners, and fans, if the professional sports players of the US just stop playing altogether? Strike, don’t strike, no skin off my nose, I don’t watch the idiots anyway.

  • DJ Drummond

    James H: “it’s worth remembering that in a highly unionized field like football playing, the union seeking a new CBA is roughly the same as somebody in an ordinary job being aggressive when negotiating for a salary increase.

    Actually, IIRC the problem is that the owners want to break the existing CBA. The players’ union is happy with the status quo.

    James: “Bottom line: If you’re an essential worker at your office, you get to command a higher salary … and you have the privilege of arguing with the boss when he won’t give you what you want.”

    True. That also works against unions, because by default their members have no advantage besides numbers. If they can easily be replaced, their union lacks effective power. The players union, as a consequence, has generally stiffed the rookies and non-star players in favor of the name players whose support they need to have real weight with the owners.

    James: “I wonder at the price the players pay for this occasionally. The owners initially wanted an 18-game season, and I don’t blame the players for balking at that, given what their bodies go through in a 16-game season.”

    The players actually did not mind the 18-game season so much, but the original offer was ludicrous; the owners at first wanted 18 games at no additional pay and the same roster size. At that time there was considerable public support for the players, b/c who would work 12% longer for no benefit?

    James: “part of me wonders how much of the player’s salary lands in the pockets of his manager, agent, private trainer, and so forth.”

    The joys of contracts. That part does not bother me at all, b/c if you come into millions of dollars, you will end up hiring help to keep things straight. Shoot, I signed up with a recruiter when I earned my MBA, in order to chase a better job. Just part of the picture.

    In the end, it comes down to the fact that an athlete has the opportunity to go pro. No one forces him to do so. If he goes down that road, he does so by choice.

  • Tina S

    Tinas you mean like a temp service or outsource employees? They sign a contract to allow owners to trade their services. If they don’t like it then don’t sign but don’t cry me a river.

    More like indentured servitude (which also has a contract) as opposed to a temp service. I’ve worked with several temp services. If the temp service assigns you to a company you don’t like, you just tell them so and they’ll assign you to a different company. With the NFL it is not so easy to switch teams. Temp services also use short term contracts while the NFL and indetured servitude have long multi-year contracts.

  • Tina S

    There were free agent slaves? Slaves went to college to learn how to work the fields, and got a free (or mostly free) education while doing so? Parent’s dreamed that their children would have aptitude for picking cotton and would compete for the highly coveted positions in the slave draft?

    Seriously, do you think before you type?
    Some days it feels like the trolls here would fail a Turing test…

    I never said professional athletes were slaves. I just described some conditions that if were part of your job, would make you feel like a slave. However, some apprentices were indentured servents who traded there freedom for the purpose of getting an education.

  • DJ Drummond

    Still a false analogy, Tina. Indentured servants were commonly convicted criminals exiled, or debtors who could not pay their debt and were sentenced by court to servitude for a period of years.

    Anyone claiming they ‘feel like a slave’ because they don’t make enough money, don’t like their boss, or are just don’t have a work ethic, are liars, losers, and liberals.

  • James H

    Anyone claiming they ‘feel like a slave’ because they don’t make enough money, don’t like their boss, or are just don’t have a work ethic, are liars, losers, and liberals.

    Or else they’re in law, accounting, or one of those other fields where you give up your soul to the Firm. Especially if you work for Wolfram & Hart.

    I’m hostile to the analogy, too, as it really does minimize the horrors of actual slavery. But if somebody feels like he isn’t in control of his life? I can see how he could feel that way. Especially if that somebody works for an overbearing boss. Particularly the sort of boss people call a “slavedriver.”

  • Tina S

    Still a false analogy, Tina. Indentured servants were commonly convicted criminals exiled, or debtors who could not pay their debt and were sentenced by court to servitude for a period of years.

    Anyone claiming they ‘feel like a slave’ because they don’t make enough money, don’t like their boss, or are just don’t have a work ethic, are liars, losers, and liberals.

    DJ,

    It very well may be that indentured servants were commonly convicted criminals as well as everything else you said. But that does not dispute anything I said. I am not saying that professional athletes are slaves or indentured servants. Nor am I saying that the contract of a professionally athlete is just like the contract of an indentured servant. All I’m saying is that there are enough similiarities for me to be able to understand why a professional athlete would feel like a slave. I recognize and don’t dispute that their are very significant differences between athletes and slaves/indentured servants.

  • DJ Drummond

    Tina: “But that does not dispute anything I said.”

    It destroys any validity to your analogy.

    But, you’d need a functioning logic center to make that connection.

  • James H

    DJ, in all of this, you have failed to address the most important issue: Dan Snyder.

  • Tina S

    There are a lot of similiarities between the National Football League Players Association and the Actors Guild. Since Ronald Reagan was the president of the Actors Guild and a sports announcer, do you think he would be supportive of union rights for NFL players?

  • DJ Drummond

    As usual, Tina tries to change the subject.

    And what about Dan Snyder, James? Why would one badly-behaving owner be the key issue in a dispute which all partes have agreed is about money?

  • James H

    And what about Dan Snyder, James? Why would one badly-behaving owner be the key issue in a dispute which all partes have agreed is about money?

    It’s a local thing; he’s gone extra-douchey lately.

    But in seriousness, some of his behavior really is emblematic of what’s wrong with the NFL, particularly his attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of people who want to attend his games. Nobody holds a gun to people’s heads to make them attend games, but the way his organization handles customers speaks of a contempt for the very people who pay to see the games.

  • deez

    How about this: Who cares?
    When baseball went on strike, I stopped being a fan. When football goes on strike, same thing will happen. I have better things to do than watch criminal millionaires smash into each other…

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