Are Fans “Jealous” Of The Suggs Deal ? ….

July 16, 2009 |

I must agree with Glenn Clark’s recent remarks regarding this “olive branch” we’ve been sharing. While we rally together for causes benefiting Baltimore’s charities, we’re both hungering for the opportunity to get back down to what we do best …..


Don’t take this the wrong way – there is no personal animosity (at least, on my part), and it’s really nothing more than a shared joy for disagreeing with each other and using this forum to throw sand in the other guy’s eyes.

I’m a devoted listener to the Comcast Morning Show. I’ve always subscribed to Drew’s “no nonsense” approach to sports talk. He really does tell it like it is …..

And, I’m always interested in hearing Glenn throw out the occasional barbs, in my direction. Indeed, it’s the devotion of my mornings. It’s not an act – we really do disagree with each other, on many occasions. It’s probably attributed to basic philosophical differences, on sports.

Thus, when he approached the mic’ this morning and labeled fans who don’t like the new Terrell Suggs contract as “jealous” of the money professional athletes earn, I really took notice. While I’ll agree many people don’t understand the asset in a star player’s potential, I don’t know if I’d agree with Glenn’s assessment.

First, Glenn and I are actually on pretty firm ground and in basic agreement with each other on the nature of the topic. In accompanying comments, he suggested this is merely the price paid for building a winning organization and competing in sports. I agree 100%.

There is a distinct reason the NFL Salary Cap is nearing $127 million and it’s tied to the mean profit of teams, with incremental increases based on adjustments negotiated through the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Translation – NFL owners are FREAKING BATHING in cash revenues, and they’re obligated to share the earning potential with the men who make it happen. It’s the NFL, if a team loses games, they make money. And, if a team wins games, they make a lot of money.

It’s the same argument for other sports, too.

Alex Rodriguez is making filthy money. So is Derek Jeter, and C.C. Sabathia. And, they’re worth it. Why? Well, the Yankees are reaping incredible profits on a daily basis and their cast of characters, listed above, are the primary ingredients in ensuring the team’s competitive presence.

The New York Yankees make A LOT of money, because of A’Rod, Jeter, Sabathia and others. Not in spite of them. People buy the replica jerseys and they’ll flock to see them at every stop, including Camden Yards, on this “Summer of 2009” tour.

Fans aren’t wearing Melky Cabrera jerseys. And, they’re not driving hundreds of miles and spending the same amount in hopes of getting a glimpse of Brett Gardner. Heck, you can’t walk through Baltimore’s inner harbor without bumping into someone sporting the name “Jeter,” if the Yankees are in town.

Players are the reason teams make money. And, if the teams are enjoying handsome profits, shouldn’t the rewards be shared with the guys who make it happen? And, the teams can afford it. If they can’t, they won’t sign the specific player.

But, in getting back to Glenn’s original comment, I don’t see fans as being “jealous.” Specifically, I see many of them as being uninformed on the intricate nature of sports and money, and their intersection in a business model.

The non-sports fans will say teachers, cops and firefighters have a greater influence on society. They’ll also say these same public servants are a more valuable asset. Fair enough. But, the sobering reality is millions and millions of people are capable of being teachers, cops and firefighters.

Conversely, far less amounts of people are capable of hitting baseballs nearly 500 feet or running a football through a wall of 350-pound behemoths. It is what it is – and this is nothing less than supply vs. demand.

Believe this, if the same cast of characters capable of being firefighters could also do Terrell Suggs’ job, he wouldn’t be getting paid $60 million …..

I think there is a probable frustration factor, when it comes to a current public venting on the respective salaries of athletes, too. Lets not forget the economic climate of this nation. Hardworking people in this city are struggling to pay mortgages and auto liens. And, we all know someone who’s unemployed.

So, while I don’t believe a spirited sense of jealousy exists, I do think society is less sympathetic of the pro athlete’s plight, especially as it relates to haggling over a few dollars, when we’re in the $60 million neighborhood.

When decent people commit to the daily grind and hope to stay afloat in this economy, while supporting a family, they’re not going to be rallying behind Terrell Suggs or anyone else who could conceivably pave Easy Street and his driveway, with hundred dollar bills.

It’s not going to happen.

And, having such a mindset and disposition to the new Suggs contract doesn’t really amount to “jealousy.” In fact, it’s just a mitigating result of life in America, in 2009.

While it’s hard for some people to stomach, making as much money, as possible, is part of the American Dream. It’s capitalism. While he’s not a pioneer or patriot of any means, Terrell Suggs is an American guy and he’s living that dream.

Good for him …..