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NFL players’ complaints legitimate

The average lifespan of an NFL offensive lineman is 18 years shorter than the average American’s. The current NFL lockout/NFLPA decertification is a culmination of events that is much more complicated than most people want to admit. It is more than a bunch of greedy players who should just shut up and be grateful to get millions of dollars to play a game. Health and long term care are some of the main fighting points for the players.

 

The average career span of an NFL player is between three and four years, including all the quarterbacks, kickers and punters. The NFL has been currently operating under a 16 game regular season. One of the main argument points between the players and the owners is that the owners are pushing for an 18 game season. While adding two games would greatly increase a franchise’s revenues, it would also cut the already short NFL careers even shorter. Longer seasons also mean more risk for injuries.

 

Not long ago, we had the year of the concussion, which shined light on what was an already existing problem. This year was marked by the uncovering of painkiller abuse. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reports mainly focused on many players with severe painkiller addictions and dependences. The strain on the NFL player’s body is only increasing. This past year, 352 players were placed on the injured reserved from season ending injuries.

 

The average NFL player’s salary is approximately $1.9 million, but that number can be deceiving. The average is thrown off by a few blockbuster deals like Peyton Manning who is making around 14 million a year. However, instead of the average salary, the median salary of an NFL player is $770,000.

 

The NFL currently has a five year post-retirement health care insurance, but then a player is completely on his own. Many NFL players then have to find health insurance and be willing to accept the astronomical increase in their premiums for, in many cases, their multiple pre-existing conditions. And if they need regular treatment for any of their health issues, it only multiplies their costs.

 

The physical and  mental health of NFL players are both concerns. In 2009, The New York Times reported that NFL players are 19 times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s than the average male age 30-49.

 

So if you think all the players who are fighting for themselves and teammates need to stop whining so you can watch them play, the players aren’t being selfish… you are.

 

Information compiled from ESPN, SportsIllustrated and businessweek.com

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