In a survey conducted between December of last year into January, USA Today shed some fascinating light into the psyches of more than 100 NFL players.
Their findings were rife with irony.
First, when asked which of the league’s issues the players found most important, 39 percent of the players said player safety was of utmost concern.
It’s an interesting choice as the most important issue for players.
The risk of injury is an inherent risk of a job that can give players fame and success that virtually no other walk of life could provide.
It’s a risk that players are implicitly accepting by pursuing a career as a professional football player.
Meanwhile, 18 percent of players said social issues are the league’s most pressing matter. That includes issues such as anthem protests.
Considering the fuss the league made after President Donald Trump ripped anthem protests at a rally in September, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Perhaps equally as unsurprising is what players find every bit as important as anthem protests.
The same survey found that 18 percent of players consider money and guaranteed contracts the most pressing issue facing the league.
NFL players been grousing for years about the lavish guaranteed deals their counterparts in the NBA and MLB sign.
So after their health and safety, NFL players can’t decide if kneeling for the anthem or earning as much money as possible is more important.
The great irony of it all is the two issues NFL players find equally important are about to collide.
The NFL lost $30 million in ad revenue in 2017, due in no small part to national anthem protests. The dent in the NFL’s bottom line will assuredly trickle down and impact players, particularly when it’s time to negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement.
Since players find the two issues of social activism and guaranteed money of equal importance, it’ll be curious to see which impulse wins out.
The players were also surveyed on other issues, such as whether or not they feel respected by their team’s owner and whether they approved of the job commissioner Roger Goodell was doing.
The survey found that 76 percent of players felt respected by owners, while 24 percent do not.
More interestingly, two-thirds of the players surveyed believe Goodell was doing an unsatisfactory job, while a third approved of the job he’s doing.
One player who disapproved of the job Goodell’s been doing is Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marquise Lee.
“Dis-a(expletive)ing-prove,” Lee answered.
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