The Breakdown: First instincts
September 11, 2010
I had a teacher tell me in grade school that you should always trust your first instinct. Over the years, though, that little tidbit of philosophical teacher wisdom has become less and less true to me.
It may be because my first reactions to things are often ridiculously stupid. For instance, I once saw a mouse run across my apartment floor in college and grabbed the first thing next to me – which for some strange reason was a baseball bat; I’m still not sure why it was there – and tried to smash it. The mouse got away; the cabinet it ran under wasn’t so lucky.
Anyway, I had two of those type of moments on Thursday – I mean bad first instincts, not beating up cabinetry.
Early in the day, it was announced that Tom Brady – cleft chin and all – was awarded a contract extension that made him the highest paid quarterback in the league.
My initial reaction? Good for him; he deserves it. After all, he is, in my opinion, the best QB of the past 10 years – why not get paid like it?
Seconds after thinking that, I felt like an idiot. I was happy that a guy with millions in the bank, a super model (and independently wealthy) wife, two kids, three Super Bowl rings, multiple passing records and a modeling contract himself was given even more money? I mean, that would be like seeing Tiger Woods at a bar with 40 other dudes and one beautiful woman – then being pumped when Tiger left with her.
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Brady will make up to $72 million over the next four seasons, nearly $50 million of that guaranteed. Let’s say you make $30,000 each year, that means it takes Brady 0.03 games, 0.05 touchdown passes, 7.33 passing yards and 0.62 pass completions to make your entire salary.
(Note: If you like feeling pathetic and realizing how little money you make compared to pro athletes, you should check out ESPN.com’s “Salary Crunch,” which compares your salary to that of elite jocks. It gets ridiculous, especially when some of them aren’t even that good.)
That’s fine; as fans, we’ve really become numb to these kinds of things. When it gets bad is when the athletes seem to forget that those of us pulling down small wages don’t think the same way they do.
See: Pregame “demonstration” by the Vikings and Saints on Thursday.
Showing their solidarity in the face of the lingering labor negotiations for the NFL and possible lockout in 2011, some Minnesota and New Orleans players stood about 10 yards onto the field and help up their index finger.
Really, they might as well have been flipping every fan – who paid too much money to be there – the bird.
But at first, I thought it was neat. You know, until common sense gave me a Carmelo Anthony slap across the face, making me realize the demonstration was actually of arrogance and ignorance, not unity.
Sure, the players want better benefits, better health care, better pensions and better basic protection in their line of work. Maybe they deserve it; maybe they don’t. I can tell you, though, that no fan cares at all if they get it, and absolutely no one will feel bad for a millionaire pro athlete who thinks his health care plan should be better or thinks the league needs to help him more when he retires at 29.
By making this stand on national TV, the players were essentially telling fans that they’re willing to deprive us of the only thing we care about from them – watching them play on the field – by sitting out next year to get even more money and even more benefits that the rest of us could only dream of getting.
Maybe it’s the fault of their warped perception of reality, or maybe this gesture seemed like a good idea before they did it.
If that’s the case, all I can tell you is to not always trust your first instinct.
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