I absolutely love Twitter. Never in the history of media have “common people” been closer to people who were once unreachable. To be able to send a message to a celebrity, sports star, musician or political figure and have them potentially respond is a fantastic tool. However, the problem is, speaking your mind 140 characters at a time can have its downfalls. Sometimes, I think, people say things too quickly without thinking about them they tend to mis-speak. Especially when they get fired up about an issue.
Take the Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert, for instance. Last year during the off season amid contract talks that turned into trade talks, Albert lashed out against his team and fanbase on Twitter. Realizing his mistake, he quickly deleted the offending “tweets” and then deactivated his account altogether. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of the season that Albert graced the Twitter pages once again.
Still, sometimes athletes can use Twitter to try and help the fanbase at large understand the inner workings of a business they know little about. That happend earlier this morning with Chiefs soon-to-be free agent guard Geoff Schwartz. Schwartz answered a tweet from a — presumed — fan, asking him to take a pay cut and stay in Kansas City. This was Schwart’s response:
So you’d take less money in your job? Yea right. Same thing applies in FA “@chiefsbitch: forget that free agency”
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) March 5, 2014
Schwartz kind of has a point. He’s trying to get the best value and the biggest contract he can. Of course this tweet was quickly followed up with another tweet by somebody else, saying that because Schwartz makes a lot of money, he could stand to take a pay cut.
@geoffschwartz yeah but we aren’t making hundreds of thousands to millions in our jobs. Apples to oranges my friend.
— Victor DeMarco (@DeMarcoVic) March 5, 2014
And here’s the big mistake that a lot of “common people” make when thinking about professional athletes and the pay scale.
Unlike many workplaces in the private sector where contract negotiations and compensation are kept private — and even secret — in professional sports everyone knows what you make. Once details of the contract are released, it’s common knowledge. If you don’t think that bothers some players, you’re crazy.
I’ll give you an example.
Everybody on the Kansas City Chiefs knows that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is the highest paid player on the team right now. How do you think that makes a guy like Jamaal Charles — who barely cracks the top 10 in pay, but was over 35 percent of the entire offense last season — feel? I would think it would make him feel pretty under valued. In fact, I think Chiefs fans should thank their lucky stars — or arrowheads…whatever — that Charles doesn’t seem to be the money-hungry player that others in his position could be. He could easily hold out for more money based on his 2013 performance.
The issue of Geoff Schwartz and all the players heading into free agency is exactly the same. In fact, Seattle Seahawks free agent defensive end Michael Bennet — who I wouldn’t mind the Chiefs looking at, but I digress — said it best in regards to free agency.
“There is no such thing as discount,” Bennett said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” Tuesday night. “This isn’t Costco, this isn’t Walmart; this is real life.
There is no discount really because you go out there and you don’t give a discount on effort,” he said. “You go out there and you give the best effort every day and you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way that you perform and the kind of teammate you are.”
That’s the truth right there. While we wish that players would show some loyalty to teams who they have played for, it’s just not practical in the NFL today. It’s not how it works and it’s not fair to expect it to. I know that trying to understand what it’s like to make $850,000 in one year would be like. I’m not going to sit here and insult your intelligence and act like I know. What I do know is that players don’t even see half of what they make. After taxes and the 12 percent or so that their agent takes, plus whatever other people they have on the payroll — financial advisors, lawyers, etc. — that $850,000 goes quick. Still, to try to understand it for us who will likely never see that kind of money is impossible. Still, Schwartz tried to explain.
@DeMarcoVic not true. It’s all relative.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) March 5, 2014
In the case of Schwartz, he’s the top rated player at his position heading into the off season. Why shouldn’t he be paid like it? I want Chiefs general manager John Dorsey to do his magic in free agency and stretch the money as far as it will go. Like most of you, I covet Schwartz as probably the top player scheduled to hit the open market next week. But to expect Schwartz to give the Chiefs the “home town” discount is ludicrous.
The Chiefs signed Schwartz to a one-year “show me” contract last year, not giving him the big bucks until he proved that he could play. I would say he proved it.
He showed the Chiefs, now it’s time for the team to reciprocate.