So I'm reading my advertising network's e-mail newsletter of tipped stories from Blogfrica, and I see a note about Baltimore Ravens WR Anquan Boldin talking to Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun about misconceptions of NFL life. Here's the, um, money quote.
Q: Is that the biggest misconception that people have about football players, that everyone is a millionaire?Now, I'm not going to take Boldin too far into the woodshed on this. For one, he's one of the best players on my fantasy keeper team, and has been for three years now. If anything, it shows just how far into a bubble NFL guys are, and why athletes should be seen, and not heard. But it's not just athletes. The simple fact is that the more money you make in this country, the more out of touch you become with people who are undergoing real hardship.
A: Yeah, I think so. The crazy part about the NFL is the disparity between pay. You have some guys making $350,000 and then you have some guys making $10 million a year. But the general public doesn't understand that just because I'm in the NFL, that doesn't mean that I'm making millions upon millions. Nothing is guaranteed, and they don't factor in taxes. If you get a $10 million contract, you might get a little bit more than half of that after taxes. I think that's a big misconception among fans.
If Boldin had really wanted to discuss misconceptions about NFL life, he could have talked about how he almost died on the field for no reason in that Jets blowout a few years ago, and how the job isn't always fun, glory and hot and hotter running groupie sex. You might remember the play in question:
Note the conditions of the play. The Cardinals were down three touchdowns with 35 seconds left to play in the game, which means that there was no tactical advantage to the play being made. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't relieved of duties, or ever really chastised, for putting his valued resources in harm's way for no reason. (Compare that, say, to the howls of anguish that a baseball manager receives for letting a guy's pitch count rise.) And for that, the man was incapacitated for weeks, had metal placed in his *face*, and had his life flash before his eyes. Not exactly something that I'm going to face on my 7 to 7, today or ever.
And yes, Boldin's made tens of millions of dollars playing a game, rather than building things of intrinsic worth, bettering the plight of others, taking care of kids, making lasting art or a thousand other "better" things. No one should begrudge him this. He's really good at something that millions of people aspire to be good at, and he's only gotten to be that good at it through relentless amounts of work -- work that, independent of talent, few of us have the single-mindedness to pursue to this extent.
He risks career-ending injury every day, and when that injury comes, the contract is not guaranteed. He'll stop making money, and transition to a retirement that will last the rest of his probably shortened life, with very little that can take up the slack. That's the Faustian bargain that players make, so bitching about the money they make is very small beer indeed. Besides, if they didn't make it, the owners would, and as fans, we always have the option of just not paying for tickets and merch. So let's move on from that.
No, my problem is what the reaction to this will be, and that it's actually going to create traffic for a blog that did, let's be blunt, nothing of any merit whatsoever with the content. They pulled the money quote from the newspaper piece, linked to the story, then posted the knee-jerk "populist" opinion that Boldin's an out of touch jerk. Golf clap, sirs. That must have taken, well, seconds. And the use of at least one thumb. Probably the one you don't suck on. Would it have killed you, at least, to show a moment of wit, rather than the tired indignation?
I'm also not real thrilled with my ad network for spiking this, to be honest. The way Blogfrica works is that there are about 10 to 20 of us who have, through the grind and occasional moments of breakthrough, consistent high traffic that we can make a little coin from. Then there's another 500 to 1,000 of us who do the work consistently, but have erratic usage. Something hits the fancy of an editor at a tip service, and we're off to the races. Or, in my case, the store, to buy groceries. Yes, things have gotten that tight. It's been a joy, the day job. But I digress.
For the past couple of weeks, FTT has been doing the same thing it's been doing for the past 3.5 years and 2,800+ posts -- lists that try to make with the funny, and analysis that goes a little deeper than that. Either you like it or you don't; that's not my issue. But when a consistent source of traffic, such as my network, goes weeks without throwing you a bone, you notice. Especially when it's doling out the treats to a site that just did the Blogfrican equivalent of picking its nose and showing us the result.
Anyway... none of this is bringing the funny or the analysis, and for that, I apologize. But if I seem a little testier than usual, I think you can see why. After all, I don't have Boldin's millions, or the Midas touch of bitching about Boldin's milllions...