Football: Comparing NFL players to slaves is asinine

By S.C. Zuba
Sports Columnist

Rarely do things bother me as much as Adrian Peterson’s comments about the NFL labor issues last week.

Usually, I can let the ridiculous comments made by athletes go. Not this one, though. Not this time.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Peterson referred to the NFL as a slave trade, saying: “It’s a modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too.”

Really, Adrian? Wait a minute—really?

You’re comparing the National Football League to the slave trade? OK…let that soak in for a minute. Here’s something you may not know about this slavery ring otherwise known as the NFL. Last season, the minimum—yes, minimum—salary in the NFL was $325,000. That’s about 10 times more than the national average.

Oh, and one more thing, Adrian. Didn’t you sign a five-year contract worth just more than $40 million with $17 million guaranteed?

Slavery never sounded so good.

It’s asinine comments like this one that make fans despise what professional sports have become. It’s ridiculous comments like this one that make fans view professional athletes as money-hungry babies who don’t care about anything but themselves and collecting their weekly paycheck.

What’s worse is there are players actually defending Peterson’s comments.

Enter Rashard Mendenhall who tweeted, “@AdrianPeterson is correct in his anology (analogy) of this game. It is a lot deeper than most people understand. Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other.”

Well, I’ll admit, I’m a journalism major, not an African-American studies major, but here are a few things I do know about slavery.

Slaves were beaten. Slaves worked for free. Slaves had no freedom. Slaves were raped. Slaves were murdered. In America, some slaves were viewed as three-fifths of a person.

Slaves didn’t work for six months out of the year and use the remaining six months to enjoy the millions of dollars they made for their efforts.

Why, you ask? Oh, that’s right. Slaves didn’t make any money.

Adrian, I have a strong feeling your ancestors would view your comments on the NFL quite differently. So the next time you’re pulling into your mansion in your brand-new sports car, remember what slavery really was.


Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at

From the March 23-29 issue

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