Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
In sports, specifically the NFL, high-profile players often take pay cuts and restructure their contracts to be favorable to their organization. Tom Brady is one prominent example. Fans get spoiled and wonder why everyone doesn’t do that. It becomes accepted.
Colin Kaepernick is the latest example. Widespread reports reveal that the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos have a trade laid out for the quarterback, depending on whether or not Kaepernick will take a $5 million pay cut. His base salary would drop from $11.9 million to $7 million.
For fans, it’s easy to point at someone else’s wallet and just assume it’s fat enough. For fans, it’s easy to tell other people to take a significant decrease in pay when in all likelihood, we wouldn’t do the same.
On the latest episode of The Jason Fitz Show, Fitz is absolutely dumbfounded by this notion.
“At what point do we stop trying to spend other people’s money? Because that’s a dangerous habit,” said Fitz. “You never tell somebody else if they’re rich or poor because you don’t know what someone else is dealing with. You don’t know the bills that Colin Kaepernick has.”
Fans look at the money and just assume he’s made enough and doesn’t need to make any more. And we automatically assume that’s how he perceives it as well.
“For so many of you, you sit there and say ‘oh my god, he’s still going to make $7 million to play in the NFL, and he can play for the Broncos!'” said Fitz. “Because we’ve all decided in our minds that playing for the Broncos means something and playing for the Browns means that your life is over. We’ve all decided that we have that right to turn around and to dictate because it’s a situation that we would like to play in that must mean Colin wants to play in it too.”
For most players, it’s not as much about the organization as it is the bottom line, evident from Brock Osweiler’s signing in Houston without ever meeting head coach Bill O’Brien.
“It tells us that it isn’t about the appeal of the team, it’s about the dollars, because these guys have a limited amount of time to make money,” said Fitz of the Osweiler situation. “So they make the most money they can during that time. And now you, the fan, have decided that because when you pull up Madden, the Broncos are a better franchise. And because we’ve seen the Broncos on national TV week in and week out and because the Broncos are likely to win more games, that suddenly becomes what Colin Kaepernick should care about because it’s what you care about.”
Fitz tries to break it down into more relatable terms.
“So let’s say you sign a deal and you make $60 thousand a year working at FedEx,” says Fitz. “Midway through your deal, your bosses figure out, man, you’re probably not worth $60k. … So they work out a trade, and UPS comes to you and says ‘yeah we’d love to take you, but if we take you, we’re only going to give you $40k.’ What would you do? You’d tell UPS to screw off. And then you’d go marching right back into FedEx, and you’d say ‘you signed this deal, honor it.’ Why are we holding Colin Kaepernick to a different standard?”
The hypocrisy of fans calling for pro athletes to take pay cut is blasphemous to Fitz. It’s easy to tell other people what to do with their money because it’s not your money.
“He’s still a person just like you and me, and he deserves the same benefit of the doubt, the same patience and the same ability to say ‘hey, I’m going to take care of my family,” said Fitz. “No matter what you think of his career earnings, no matter what you think of his salary and no matter what you think he should do. It’s not your money to spend, so stop pretending that it is.”
Jason Fitz can be found and followed on Twitter for updates, analysis and banter.
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.