“Hating labor and labor unions is America’s unofficial pastime. When a star athlete signs a multimillion-dollar contract, the talk radio lines explode with fans deconstructing the value of the deal, protecting the billionaire team owner’s money as if it were their own. Striking teachers immediately face the cries that they shouldn’t complain about their wages because they get the summers off. When football players, after years of providing entertainment for couch potatoes nationwide, sue their league for not disclosing the devastating health risks accompanied with the fame of stardom, those same fans, who bought the jerseys and asked for the autographs, turn coldly against their former heroes and say things like “Nobody put a gun to their head.” Americans expect workers to take what they get. If you don’t like it, leave. Or as they say in the NFL, next man up.” These are the opening lines of Howard Bryant’s essay entitled “What Colin Kaepernick Taught Us”, part of a collection of essays recently published in his latest literary masterpiece, his book Full Dissidence: Notes From An Uneven Playing Field. Labor talks and fights in regular life are not popular, especially when unions are involved, but the sentiment is exacerbated when it comes to people who play a game for a living, whose contracts and salaries (usually with numbers starting on six-figure step of the financial ladder) are being widely reported on and dissected in all forms of media by experts and fans alike: pro athletes.
Tag: free agency
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