It’s a business


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We’ve heard NFL players say this thousands of times over the years when talking about pro football.

“It’s a business.”

They often use this expression about contracts, getting cut, getting traded and so forth.

Former player Nick Mangold even used it recently when talking about Jamal Adams dispute with the Jets.

“I think sometimes that goes to show a little bit of a younger player not realizing the business side,” Mangold told SiriusXM Radio. “People get traded all the time. It’s nothing personal. It’s a business. If you’re going to be upset about a team taking a phone call [about a potential trade], it’s going to be a rough go, I think, through a career as an NFL player.”

Yes, no doubt, it’s a business, first-and-foremost.

So NFL players need make a decision, Are they willing to except lower salaries in the future in order to engage in political activism?

They have every right to speak their minds on Twitter, Instagram, during media interviews about political topics. Every right. That is what the First Amendment is for.

But their union needs to make them cognizant that it could take money out of their pockets.

A big controversy today involved Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver running an anti-Semitic quote on Instagram. It turns out it was a fake Hitler quote, but the quote he ran and highlighted was filled with vitriol.

I could be wrong, but this can’t be good for business

Last week ESPN broke a story about some NFL-NFLPA ideas for this season –

“The NFL Players Association and the NFL are collaborating on an idea to list the names of black people killed by police on jerseys,” wrote Outkick’s Jason Whitlock. “The absurdity of this pivot could only be topped by the folly of DeMaurice Smith’s and Roger Goodell’s other proposed pivot, in Week 1 the NFL will play the ‘black national anthem,’ Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, before playing The Star-Spangled Banner. So the NFL is going to start its season with all of its employees standing for the “black national anthem” and a majority of its on-field employees immediately taking a knee for the American national anthem?”

Forget the politics of this – let’s just focus on business. These two plans could turn off a lot of paying customers.

One website posted a story about the Black National Anthem idea, and got 130,000 comments under the story. 130,000! And most of the commenters weren’t happy and were critical of the idea.

Once again. I’m talking strictly business here. And keep in mind these are just proposals, and they haven’t officially been implemented yet. They might have been floated as trial balloons.

The point here is simple, and I’m trying to avoid getting into the weeds on these issues, and just focus on business.

If NFL players want to make these kind of political statements, that is their right. They are protected by the First Amendment.

But if they might turn off a lot of fans, and the TV ratings and attendance (if they allow fans in the stadiums), could go down.

If the NFL profits go down, the NFL players 48.5 percent of the pie will be less, and teams will look to cut salaries.

The NFL is a business.

And player union needs to make players aware of the cause and effect of getting too political with their league.

And younger players perhaps need to be wary of older vets, like Jackson and Malcolm Jenkins, who are have already made most of their money. They have very little to lose with their political activism. Most of their career earnings have already been made.

You never knew the politics of wildly-successful late-night TV host Johnny Carson.

He once told a confidante: “Why would I want to tick off half my audience?”

July 7, 2020

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