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There are some sports fans out there that still don’t understand that professional sports are a business; and a high stakes one at that. The most recent scenario of this can be found in fan reactions to Ray Rice’s contract negotiations. On one hand you have the ignorant fans who think that Ray Rice should stop “whining” or “being a baby” and just sign a contract. On the other hand you have ignorant fans who think the team should just throw money at him since he has had a few good seasons.
I can’t even begin to tell you how baffling to me these two schools of thought are but here is my attempt. I’m going to put you in the mind of both Ray Rice and people in the Ravens organization so you can finally understand how downright dumb you look when you say things like “what’s another two million dollars to Rice when he already makes a ton of money?”
In the world of professional sports, especially the NFL, the owners have virtually all the power. They have most of the leverage in negotiations which is why they get 90% of what they want in collective bargaining agreements and contract disputes. In Ray Rice’s situation, the Ravens literally hold all the chips. Ray Rice’s only bargaining piece is to sit out during team activities such as the OTA’s that just passed, training camp and the like. Rice could potentially sit out for the season but he would be throwing away over seven million dollars because he is already under the franchise tag. It’s hard to turn down that much money just to prove a point. Chris Johnson did it last year and look where it got him.
The Ravens can only go on history with Rice and look at what has happened in similar situations. Running backs’ careers typically aren’t that long and teams usually aren’t into the whole “paying for past services” deal. The Ravens want to pay Rice the least amount of money they can, obviously, to minimize risk should he get hurt or have a down year. Saying that they should give him whatever he wants is downright absurd. You wouldn’t pay $1,000 for a computer when you can get the same one for $500 if all it took was a little negotiating. It just doesn’t make sense.
On Ray Rice’s end, he wants to make the most amount of money he possibly can. He knows that this contract will probably be the biggest he gets in his career and saying that if the two sides are off by two million dollar, Ray Rice should take the deal is ludicrous. “Oh, but it’s only a difference of two million, what’s two more million dollars to him?” I have actually heard people give me this scenario and the answer is… its two million dollars of a difference! Just because he makes a lot of money doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want more. You can’t sit there and blame Ray for wanting as much as he can get. Sure he gets paid a lot of money but this is his job. This is what he is going to rely on for the rest of his life; this contract, essentially.
Ray Rice seems like a “good guy.” He hasn’t gone to the media and said bad things about the Ravens for not paying him. He hasn’t complained at all quite frankly. He just wants what he feels he deserves. How can you blame him for that? You can’t, because you would do the same. But you can’t sit there and act like the Ravens should throw gobs of money at him either. That’s just simply not how it works.
Ray won’t sit out the season. I will guarantee you that. I expect a deal to probably get done in the next couple of weeks. He wants to be back for training camp and the Ravens want him back as well.
I just honestly don’t know what some people are thinking when they say stuff like I have given examples of. News flash people: professional sports are not just games, they are billion dollar industries. It’s time to start realizing this. The players and organizations you have grown to love aren’t always as clean as you conceive them to be. They are selfish and out to get as much as they can in this world, like most people and I don’t blame them either.