Jonathan Vilma‘s defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is dominating the sports news landscape but it really doesn’t interest me. Yawn. Then the complaints about Goodell the dictator start pouring in. I think he’s doing a swell job. I like him but I’m still bored. Then someone mentions that the penalty against Vilma is too harsh because of the briefness of the NFL career. This hits a nerve. This person goes on to say that Vilma’s life and that of his family is being affected by Goodell, in his ivory tower. Now, I’m angry.
I instantly think of NBA player Latrell Sprewell and his “I have a family to feed” rant in 2004, when he felt a 3-year, $21 million offer from the Timberwolves was beneath him. Now, Sprewell is broke and is being prohibited from seeing his children.
I digress. Let’s get back to Jonathan Vilma. Between 2004 and 2008, Vilma made approximately $12 million with the Jets. He went on to sign a 5-year, $34 million contract with the Saints that guaranteed him $17.2 million with a signing bonus of $6 million. Vilma and his family should be set for life.
As I see it, the magic number for living a very comfortable lifestyle is $5 million. If you have $5 million in the bank, an annuity, earning a mere 3% APY, will give you $194,327 for 50 years. This is a conservative analysis and let me tell you, $200K a year, for 50 years, can feed any family and, the best part is, you’re earning this while sitting on your behind.
My parents gave me a great life with much, much less.
I am not shedding any tears for Vilma.
How about poor Wes Welker? He considered his $9.5 million tender for 2012, a sacrifice. A sacrifice? Most Americans don’t make that much money in their lifetime. Someone making $100,000 a year, will earn $3 million in 30 years.
Then we have the NFL Players Association fighting for better pension plans. I am in agreement that players that are severely injured should be compensated but I am incensed, when the NFLPA cries about the two-year player that fails to become vested and receives no pension. What? An unemployed 24 year old? How about find another job? In 2012, the minimum wage for a player is $390,000. Surely, earning that for a year or two is nice. Then, guess what, you can start another career.
The NFLPA cries that the pension is too low for marginal players that had a short career. Are you kidding? Most American workers have to work 30 years to receive a full retirement pension and I’ll tell you what, it’s not $200K a year.
While most NFL players should be set for life, even those with short careers, those that didn’t make enough money are still young enough to join the American workforce. Why should you have a fat pension for the rest of your life, for playing five years of football?
A famous Sports Illustrated report from 2009, claimed that after retirement, 78% percent of NFL players are bankrupt or near bankrupt within two years. This is absurd, yet every day we hear about players like Terrell Owens and Warren Sapp. There is no excuse.
Enough about maintaining a certain lifestyle. Save $5 million.
As much as I love to watch these guys on Sunday and think they should earn as much as possible, I don’t want to see their tears, when the game passes them by. Go tell a construction worker, a teacher, a waiter, or your mailman, that the NFL doesn’t care about you. They’re probably working too hard to listen.
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