Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The (Mostly Hypothetical) NFL Preview: St. Louis Rams (and a call to action.)
The Team: St. Louis Rams.
Quick Recap: So Sunday, when there was nothing on the radio except ESPN sports talk, and I didn't feel like listening to my old cassette tapes of Vince Guaraldi:
I overheard a snippet of guys talking about how the NFL lockout was supposed to end this week. As a general rule, I almost never listen to ESPN anymore. After giving up on Mike & Mike when they decided actively support a dog killer simply because he was better than Kevin Kolb, it was surprisingly easy to not listen to any ESPN anymore, and you'd be surprised how little you miss the complete lack of analysis, repetition of topics over the course of a day, and would-be catch phrases.
If you ask me, the worst thing ESPN did was popularize the use of jargon, catch phrases and quips in sports "reporting." (I say "reporting" in quotes because it's just sports, guys, and sports is the second-lowest rung of the Entertainment "News" Ladder, "news" in quotes being news we don't really need.)
This is that ladder:
1. Movies starring Helen Mirren.
2. Movies which don't involve "former reality stars."
3. All other movies.
4. Celebrities doing charity work.
6. Celebrity babies.
7. Celebrity marriages/Rebecca Black's Friday (tie)
8. TV shows.
9. TV shows on Fox.
10. Music from bands I like.
11. All other music.
12. Anything Kardashian.
14. Stories about video games.
15. Stories about video games nobody will ever play, like "L.A. Noire."
17. Things that are only art for rich people.
19. Pete Wentz.
So anyway, I was listening to ESPN because nothing else was on, and hearing a bunch of catch phrases -- honestly, it was nothing but -- and finally the guys on the radio said, with no attribution whatsoever, that the strike would end this week, "probably Thursday," which then caused me to listen more closely to find out whether they had anything to base that on, but 20 minutes of listening later, I had been treated to a "discussion" of Sam Bradford's pay and absolutely no reasons to support the tossed-out conclusion that the strike would end Thursday.
Which: (a) It's not a strike, it's a lockout, and there's a difference, and (b) is there a Mock Lockout Analysis, like the Mock Drafts, in which all the "experts" are simply going to toss out lists of days they think the strike will end? Will Mel Kiper have it ending Thursday, but Friday is moving up the boards quickly?
The discussion of Sam Bradford's pay, too, was remarkable for it's hypothetical quality, as the hosts kept peppering the discussion with assumptions and maybes and the like.
You are sports "reporters." You know you're doing a radio show. You can't spend 2 minutes looking up Bradford on Wikipedia before you go up?
Bradford presumably played into the lockout talks because his contract is the richest ever given to a rookie, at least until Cam Newton gets overpaid by the Carolina Panthers this year. Bradford is guaranteed $50 million by the Rams, and don't $*#&#%($ tell me we don't have enough money to pay for health care reform. 19 of the 32 NFL teams had payrolls over $100 million in 2009-2010. The other 13 were all over $80,000,000 in payroll. That's not salary cap; that's money they paid out.
And all of that money was paid into the NFL voluntarily by fans and advertisers. Voluntarily. All of it. That's a minimum of $2,560,000,000 -- two billion dollars given voluntarily by fans and advertisers to the NFL in 2009-2010, the period of time spanning the worst economy anyone alive can remember. (I used $80,000,000 x 32 to get that figure.)
If we instituted a 1% payroll tax on NFL teams, annually, it would raise $25,600,000. And that cost would be passed on through luxury boxes, season ticket sales, merchandise, and, God Forbid, a modest 1% reduction in the amount of salaries players earn.
Do you think Sam Bradford could live with only having $49,500,000 guaranteed to be paid to him over his lifetime?
So that's your St. Louis Rams: They overpaid a rookie quarterback last year, helping ensure that money would be given to 22-year-olds who can never use that money in their lifetime, and even with that they couldn't beat the Seahawks, whose owner is such a selfish monster that he spends nearly $400,000 a week on his yacht, and while you were watching that game, people like Nikki White died of a treatable disease.
Sorry. I just find it hard to care much about football as I'm watching the country fall apart and selfish people keep getting their way.
If you ask me, fans of the NFL have a moral obligation to do something about it. I suggest that this year, instead of investing in any new NFL gear -- no Madden 2012 for you, no new Buffalo Bills jersey for me, no inflatable Steelers chair for whatever loser would buy that -- the fans take the money they would have spent on the NFL, and instead send it to a charity that will do something beneficial for people who aren't 22-year-olds gifted with the ability to throw a football 70 yards.
I was going to say we could donate it to Sam Bradford's charity, but www.sambradford.org is a dead link and Google searching for "Sam Bradford's Charity" shows him volunteering for a golf outing but not much else.
Keep in mind that Bradford will be paid $50,000,000 over his lifetime. If he lives 100 more years, he can spent $500,000 per year and not run out of money. If Bradford took 1/2 his money and gave it to charity, he would still have over $10,000 per month to spend every single month of his life for 100 years. Why doesn't he have a charity?
Since my kids have autism, I'm going to suggest that the money you would have spent on the NFL this year be given to Autism Speaks. This group advocates for people with autism and helps support research into finding treatments for the condition. Clicking that link (or this one) will take you their donations page.
But you can find your own charity -- Charity Navigator will help you pick a worthy one.
And, to make a point, I suggest that every NFL fan do this on the same day -- and skip football that week. I won't make you miss your team's opening week. Instead, I'll pick Week 3 of the NFL season.
So here's the plan: On Week 3 of the NFL season, NFL fans who truly care about people will NOT WATCH ANY NFL FOOTBALL, and will on that day donate at least $5, or some of their time, to the charity of their choice.
I hope that by doing this, we can bring attention not just to the fact that this is a truly rich country which owes it to the less fortunate to help them out, but also to the fact that there are many many Sam Bradfords and others who earn supermoney and who have a moral obligation to not hoard money and instead to help others.
Remember: The WEEK 3 NFL Protest. Spread it around.
I'll finish up the Rams some other time. I've lost my appetite for football today.