Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott waiting for the next drill during the morning walk-through at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)
Clemens: NFL players continue to gain power, as they should
Daric Clemens is a senior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Daric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the saying goes, cash rules everything around us and to an extent, it’s correct. But when it comes to sports there hasn’t been a truer statement. The NFL’s best talents in their prime want their money now and they will get it at whatever cost it may take, rightfully so.
The “holdout culture” throughout the league has started to become a bigger situation recently because the players are beginning to take a stand for what they deserve.
The NFL’s billionaire team owners benefit heavily off of the players each season. In 2018, the league acquired about $8.78 billion in national revenue which was distributed to each team according to The Action Network. The players are usually not collecting a fair amount in there deals for the simple fact that their contracts are not fully guaranteed like other professional leagues. Which isn’t logical because the athletes are the ones producing on the field throughout the years and taking on the physical toll that the sport demands.
Players have expressed their feelings about the lack thereof guaranteed money for the athletes, “Considering football’s level of brute, immanent physicality, high turnover as well as the short life cycle of its participants, it would seem to me that the NFL players are in the most need of a fully guaranteed contracts,” Left Tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers Russell Okung said in a thread on Twitter.
The lack of guaranteed money is the main cause in a players withhold from team activities. Their holdout strategy consists of basically, stepping away from the organization missing, training camp/practice and if it comes down to it also the games. While their holdout takes place their agent is in consistent talks with the team discussing the contract that their respected player would like to receive.
This approach has been a valuable move for star athletes throughout the years. In 2018, Aaron Donald, Earl Thomas, Khalil Mack and Le’Veon Bell, were the in the headlines for sitting out during their team’s training camp. Three out of the four were able to get what they wanted as Bell, Donald and Mack ended up getting a new contract at some point that will keep them content.
However, Thomas ended his holdout before receiving a new deal and it cost him as he suffered a season-ending injury in week four. While he was carted off the field he showed his frustration by flipping up his middle finger towards his former team the Seattle Seahawk’s sideline.
Injury is a fear many players have because it can ruin their chance to get a new contract and you can lose out on money with the contracts not being a full promise. That’s why the demand of a new contract is urgent to players at the top tier in their position and they are realizing it’s not worth being on the field if they haven’t secured the agreement they want.
The new year brought on more holdouts as currently Dallas Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliott sits out hoping to get a big pay day from the Cowboys and Chargers running back Melvin Gordon looks to be moved to another team so he can find a new deal.
The concept is leading to more control for the players around the league. The owners still have to cut the check for these players to get paid, but the athletes have most of the leverage because the owners need the best guys to play if they want to be successful.
The professionals need to continue to take a stand and demand the guaranteed money that they deserve because as an athlete you never know when it can end, so get paid while you still can and control your future.