TRACES SPRING 2016 - Page 78

Get what you can

by Shaunhan Murray

Recently Malik Jackson told reporters that the reason he went to the Jacksonville Jaguars instead of staying on the Super Bowl winning Denver Broncos was for two thing. Money, and the fact that the Jags tried so hard.The first instinct is that Jackson is just some greedy overpaid football player who lacks a love for the game and is a sellout. Football is a brutal game, as Larry Fitzgerald once said, it is a sport with a 100 percent injury rate.

You are going to get hurt, it just depends on how bad for how often it happens.

Unlike others pro leagues like the NBA or MLB the NFL does not have fully guaranteed contracts. The average career is only 3.2 years or before the end of a rookie contract. When you see these flashy numbers thrown out by the media and by an agent , usually that isn’t close to the true value of the contract. Say a player signs a two year, ten million dollar, but only five of it is guaranteed. Depending on the contract ,this essentially means the team can cut that player and he is only getting the five instead of the ten. It is quite a deal the NFL owners have, one that the players association is trying to change, but for now it stays and with it a disgust for sellouts.

Football is so brutal that on any play you career, the thing you have been working for your entire life, can end, without even being hit. That is not to say the hitting doesn't do damage, there is a mountain of evidence that getting in a car crash a down causes considerable trauma that will affect a player thirty years since their last play. This is known as CTE and with more evidence is revealed the more we doubt the futures of these gladiators.

Many players are young men just rying to make a living, at the cost of their bodies. The main reason Malik Jackson wanted as much money as possible had to do with supporting his infant child. These players don't last long in the league and they need to maximize the money they can make while their in it.

Put yourself in their shoes. Someone offers you a raise in the stratosphere of a thousand percent raise are you going to turn it down? Especially if its is going to be all the money you earn in your entire life. The teams offer the contracts, the players just sign them. The ones to blame are the guys spending the money, the ones participating in the auction. Not the guys who play an unforgiving game, that destroys their bodies and quite possibly ,their minds.

“Literally thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the NFL by retired players, many of whom say that information on brain injury in football was withheld from them”­ Henry Rollins.