NFL | Why Le’Veon Bell is right to strike
The plight of the running back In what was a gripping opening weekend of NFL action, the Steelers at Browns was an ugly and hard fought tie between two error ridden teams. The words ugly and error ridden will not be much of a surprise to Browns fans as that is pretty much their modus operandi. For Steelers fans though, this had to be another hugely frustrating afternoon watching their team sloppily give away half a game because they can never perform on the road. A big reason for their offensive struggles came from star running back Le’Veon Bell deciding that he would on principle rather not play and give up 1/16th of his yearly salary instead of playing. The typical fan response to this is simple: “Look at that spoiled millionaire striking because he wants to earn more money. How selfish is that. He doesn’t deserve to wear the jersey”. This is altogether an understandable response, fans watching professionals play sports and get payed for it may feel it is ridiculous that they would have anything to complain about. However, I fundamentally disagree with this view and instead think that the running-back position is dreadfully underpaid, and that Bell is right to strike. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. The year is 2010 and the then St Louis Rams selected QB Sam Bradford number one in the draft. Per NFL.com, Bradford received a six-year contract that had $50 million guaranteed, and could be up to $86 million if incentives were fulfilled. The next year Cam Newton was drafted number one overall and was given a four-year contract worth $22 million. To explain this, you need to understand the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. Roughly every 19 years, the stakeholders of every NFL team (owners, coaches, administrators, players etc.) come together to work out how the money should be split between the different stakeholders. Although the players can end up earning astronomical amounts of money to the tune of $25 million plus a year (if you are one of the best players in the league), the money which is paid to the players is very owner friendly, considering the billions of dollars each franchise can make. Each team has a maximum and minimum amount they can spend on their players. This system creates a very competitive league as no owners can either buy the league by outspending opponents, or make huge profits for themselves by skimping on player wages.