The New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr says NFL players should be paid more to reflect the dangers inherent in the league.
The average NFL salary in 2013 was $2m, lower than the NBA ($4.9m), MLB ($3.82m) and NHL ($2.58m). “I think that we should make more money, personally,” he said. “I understand that basketball plays 80-something games, baseball plays this many games, soccer plays that many games, but this is a sport that’s most-watched in America. A sport where there’s more injuries. There’s more collisions.
“It’s not even a full-contact sport, I would call it a full-collision sport. You have people running who can run 20 miles per hour and they’re running downhill to hit you, and you’re running 18 miles per hour. That’s a car wreck.”
Beckham also highlighted the fact that NFL players’ careers are not as long as their counterparts in other major sporting leagues in the US. “It’s just the careers are shorter. There’s injuries that you have after you leave the game, brain injuries, whatever it is, nerve injuries. And it’s just something that I feel as if there’s no way someone who – even if they did their three or four years in the league – should have to worry about money for the rest of their lives.”
The NFL would point to the fact that its teams’ rosters are larger than in the other major leagues, so revenue has to be spread among a larger group of players. However, the NFL brought in $9.5bn in 2013, a larger haul than MLB ($9bn), the NBA ($5bn) and NHL ($3.7bn), while Beckham again pointed to the after effects of an NFL career. “Out of the gate I feel as if there could be more money up front for the players,” he said. “I’m not a player rep or anything, but speaking on what I’ve seen and I can see how those 30 for 30s and people go broke and stuff like that. Tomorrow’s never promised. So I feel as if that they should all have been compensated for being in the NFL and being on a team. I understand we have more players, but look, there has to be some way to balance that out.”
Beckham is guaranteed $10.4m over the four years of his rookie contract but is likely to negotiate a much bigger deal at some point in his career. He is one of the league’s brightest young talents and was NFL offensive rookie of the year last season.
This article was written by Tom Lutz, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th May 2015 21.08 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010