Retired NFL players’ funds according to Sports Illustrated

American society places a high value on professional sports. Professional sports and athletes create revenue, stimulate mass interest, inspire cities, create jobs and are a form of entertainment for millions of fans nationally and internationally.

Watching football on television is an American pastime; families and friends gather around and tune in every week to watch their favorite teams and players play football.

Yes, football can be entertaining to watch, but what about the things people don’t see on TV?

The National Football League (NFL) is, first and foremost, a corporation.

The NFL has never been a morally ethical entity in the treatment of their players. Because while many players benefit from the system, many more have been taken advantage of by it.

According to Forbes, the average National Football League (NFL) player makes $1.9 million a year. This is pocket change compared to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s compensation–$35 million in 2014. Goodell’s salary is $3.2 million, and the rest of his compensation comes via bonuses from all 32 NFL owners.

If athletes are the working class of the sports industry, then their owners and sponsors are the capitalist class.

The owners and sponsors live off the profits they obtain by exploiting athletes whilst reinvesting some of their profits for further wealth accumulation.

The average career of an NFL player is 3.3 years. After football, many players experience financial hardship, especially if they don’t have other possible career alternatives.

According to Sports Illustrated, 78 percent of ex-NFL players are bankrupt or in serious financial difficulties within two years of leaving the NFL.

For these reasons, colleges emphasize that players should take their education seriously and earn degrees.

The NFL and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) force players to spend three years in college with disregard to the detrimental possibilities these years may have on the professional and personal welfare of those players.

Players risk injuries that threaten to destroy potentially lucrative careers. This system works for both organizations; the NFL doesn’t have to create a league to train young and talented players and the NCAA gets to sell player merchandise and keep the profits.

The system does not work for the players because money is being made off their talent before the system decides they are ready to play professionally.

It is important to acknowledge how difficult it is to become a professional NFL player. Players can only play for so long due to the physical strain the sport puts on their bodies.

Men train their entire adolescence and teenage years for a chance at the NFL – only 1.6 percent of college football players get a shot at the professional level. It is great that these men have a passion that will take them far if they make it. But these athletes earn way too much money.

Public service workers —teachers, police officers, doctors, firefighters and soldiers— are the backbone of society. They contribute to the good of society as a whole and should earn more money than any professional athlete does.

The average teacher’s salary is $53,800. Teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies and instructional materials.

According to the Horace Mann Educator Advisory Panel Survey, 30 percent of teachers spend $201-$400 out of pocket to fund classroom projects or purchase supplies.

Every teacher is ensures the educational advancement of our society. Teachers help shape the minds of the future. They make less money than they should earn.

The armed forces sacrifice their lives to protect our country. Soldiers leave their families for prolonged periods of time without a guarantee they will come home safely. Deployed soldiers risk their lives every time they enter a warzone – the same can be said for police officers, firefighters and emergency responders.

Doctors and physicians save the lives of countless people, and they spend years paying off the debt accrued from medical school.

Let us not forget the salary of the most important job in the entire world. The president of the United States’ salary is $400,000 – nothing compared to the average NFL player. The wage gap between the two careers is unfathomable.

While not negating the amount of difficulties professional sports players face, American society places too much of an importance on these sports.

There is something lacking in a society where an athlete gets paid millions of dollars to play a game, while football owners and sponsors swim in the profits made off of player merchandise and revenue.

When it comes down it, the professional sports industry is just supply and demand. As long as there is a demand from the

American people, as long they continue to let the NFL corporation swim around in millions of dollars, the professional sports industry will continue to thrive despite all its problems and mistreatment of players.

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