All the radio stations were discussing a certain NFL player’s comments calling his situation “modern-day slavery”. Since everyone else seems to be offering opinions on his comments, I didn’t want to feel left out. So here are my thoughts:
An Open Letter to Professional Athletes
Dear Highly-Paid Athlete:
I hear you’re having a disagreement with the owners and executives of your team. In reality, your lot in life is not much different from most everyone else’s – someone owns the company and you get paid to show up and do what it is the company hired you to do.
That, my friend, is called a job. It is not slavery. You can choose to work at that job, or you can choose to retire tomorrow and not work. And there are a bunch of people who would love to be able to do what you do. I don’t know of anyone who thinks slavery is an enviable position. Nor are there any slaves who can choose to retire.
Now maybe you were trying to use a figure of speech and it just got lost in the context. But you used the specific term “modern-day slavery”. I need to point out that modern-day slavery is no different from old-time slavery. Slavery has not changed. Sure, America’s stance on slavery has changed since the 1800s. But there is still slavery.
Not the I’m-slaving-away-at-my-job type, but the I’m-being-kept-against-my-will-and-working-for-nothing type of slavery.
Which is a far cry from your lot in life.
Yes, you have your problems, and I hope you can resolve them. But before you compare yourself to a slave, go spend a week with International Justice Mission so you know what modern-day slavery looks like. Go work in the brick kilns in Chennai for a week and then let us know how closely that compares to your life here in America.
Or better yet, how about devoting part of your salary to helping slaves? There are thousands of slaves in Sudan and millions of slaves throughout the world right now. Don’t just use them in your labor dispute. Don’t just reference them in your speeches. Do something for them.
A Fan of Football
For what it’s worth, I think his comments were nothing more than poorly-planned choice of words. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not angry with the player, nor am I offended. I just felt it was an opportune time to highlight a real problem to contrast with the so-called problem of an NFL lockout or strike.
There – I have done my slacktivism duty.
And I know some NFL players already do go to Africa and help needy kids. Good for them. Let’s have more of that and less of the complaining about your contract. Millionaires don’t get much sympathy, especially not now.
Getting back to the NFL … I do not like the plan to go to 18 games for the regular season. Go ahead and drop the pre-season games from 4 to 2, but don’t increase the regular season – that would water down the season.
and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.