The NFL’s players don’t like the labor dispute to be called a fight between millionaires and billionaires, in large part because a lot of the players aren’t millionaires. (In large part because some of the players spend everything they earn, and then some.)
Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has offered a different description, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
“I think what the players are fighting for is something bigger,” Polamalu said. “A lot of people think it’s millionaires versus billionaires and that’s the huge argument. The fact is its people fighting against big business. The big business argument is ‘I got the money and I got the power therefore I can tell you what to do.’ That’s life everywhere. I think this is a time when the football players are standing up and saying, ‘No, no, no, the people have the power.'”
It’s better than “millionaires vs. billionaires,” but it’s still unlikely that the average working man and woman will identify with pro athletes who are trying to paint themselves as oppressed victims of corporate muscle. Besides, no one has suggested that the players are going broke. In fact, they likely won’t even make less money. Instead, this is a question of whether the players will continue to share in the growth of the game at the same rate they have shared in the growth of the game.
The players — specifically their leadership — continue to focus on receiving 50 cents of every dollar, no matter how big the dollars become. Lost in that position is the reality that the total dollars paid to the players most likely will continue to grow, only at a slower rate.
Some would say we should all be so mistreated by our employers, especially where no other industry gives a subset of the total workforce half of the total gross revenue.