Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are Professional Athletes Modern-Day Slaves?

Photo Credit: xoque
Adrian Peterson, star running back for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, ignited a firestorm of debate this week with his description of pro athletes as being involved in "modern-day slavery."  In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Peterson had this to say:
"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.' There are so many different perspectives from different players, and obviously we're not all on the same page — I don't know. I don't really see this going to where we'll be without football for a long time; there's too much money lost for the owners. Eventually, I feel that we'll get something done."
To give Peterson the benefit of the doubt, I assume that what he was trying to say was that the players are being treated unfairly. And that would be a reasonable comment. But to say that pro athletes of 2011 are like those in slavery shows a remarkable degree of naivete. NFL football players get paid a lot of money to do what they want to do; slaves get paid nothing to do what they don't want to do.

My friend, Tobin, has written an intelligent post on this topic and shares some telling realities about a little discussed topic, actual modern-day slavery. You can read his post here.


Some Guy said...

Thanks for the mention.

It's easy to forget about slavery, since it's not publicly seen. But the statistics are shocking how many slaves there are around the world.

J. Hill said...

It's outrageous to compare your job or career to slavery. It shows a great degree of ignorance. On the issue of the players/owners issue, since when does the employee get to decide what the employer does with their money? People start businesses not to be fair, but to make money. I think this fairness thing is out of control when it comes to employment.