Sunday, July 27, 2008


According to ESPN, Glenn Dorsey and his agent have agreed to a $51M, five-year contract that includes $22M in guaranteed income.

Unless I'm mistaken, that means that Mr. Dorsey is a very rich man for the rest of his life. Period. Regardless of what happens this season or the next.

Now, I am a huge fan of Glenn Dorsey. I think his leadership on and off the field was key to LSU siezing opportunities and winning the crystal football. I think he's the kind of guy you'd like to have over for dinner. I think he probably is the kind of guy who has friends from home that will remain his friends even now that he's rich. I don't know any of that, but I bet it's not very far from the truth.

Furthermore, I don't blame Putt for negotiating his salary to get the most he can. Who wouldn't? Who would accept less salary than the market will bear? He's only missed one practice. I'd say, as holdouts go, this one was more hold than out.

But. C'mon! $51M before he's even attended a single Chief's practice? What corporation pays it's new hires more than it's proven veteran performers?

Corporations at the mercy of agents. Corporations in the entertainment business, that's who.

Actors make millions before anyone knows if the picture will be a success or a flop. What's more, fantastic actors who don't have fame are often paid far less than mediocre actors with big names and fan followings. Many many stable, grounded actors make less money than troubled, childish divas with more silicone than talent.

Because, afterall, it's not about performance. It's about making money. It's about the take at the end of the project.

Which is why some professional sports teams with loyal fan bases never or rarely touch the top rung. Because, if playing pretty good with pretty good talent keeps the fans in the stadium buying $8 beer and $5 hot dogs and $80 jerseys and $100 seats, then those players will likely take the money and vacation with the Hollywood stars.

Have you noticed how these two industries are increasingly linked together in the public eye? It's not a coincidence. They're in the same business - entertainment. The principles are the same. The money is increasingly the same. Therefore, the excesses are the same. And, more and more, the media coverage is the same.

Dorsey is, of course, just playing by the well established rules of the game. #1 pick Jake Long signed for 5 years/$57.5M. #2 Chris Long is 6 years/$56.5M. #3 Matt Ryan signed for 6 years/$72M. #4 Darren McFadden signed for 6 years/$60 M. And #6 Vernon Gholston signed for 5 years/$50M.

These teams aren't primarily focused on winning the Superbowl. Although it's financially beneficial to do so and the players above will have some impact in getting them there. The teams are really corporations, and their "CEOs" are interested in revenue. And Mr. Dorsey and his fellow draftees have the potential to be revenue streams. So they're paying $50 to $72M over five or six years for the chance that these players' names and personalities (and skills) will generate more luxury box sales, more NFL merchandising sales, more television revenue.

Cynical? Sure. I'm a cynical person. I've lived long enough, and have remained sober enough, to develop a feel for human nature. The market - the medium inside which the NFL operates - is driven by human nature. And, by default, unless you believe that humans are altruistic, community-minded saints who occassionally and tragically fall to bad influence, you too can call yourself cynical. If you're like me, you think that humans are self-interested by default and altruistic only through vigorous effort and self-discipline. And even then, it's sort of self-interested in a "look at me, I'm a really great guy" sort of way.

But I digress. Big time. Sorry.

Putt Dorsey is just playing the game by the rule book he was given. And here's the rub for me.

I'm a big fan of capitalism and the market. And I am also a big fan of limited governmental regulation. But I'm not a big fan of either Hollywood or the NFL. Both cultures, frankly, disgust me. My brain says - regulate. My nature warns against it.

But if the fan bases continue to support. If they don't mind that it cost $200 to take your kid to an NFL game and have the idiot in front of you use language that is basically X rated. If the culture embraces the NFL as it is, then this is the NFL we get. Yay.

And Putt Dorsey is the last person I would begrudge a big payday.

But I continue to be apathetic about the NFL and, as my kids grow up, my apathy increasingly turns to hostility. If my girls grow up fans of the NFL, it will be despite me, not because of me. And I'm OK with that. Like many things, I'll be able to eventually say, "I told you so."

In the meantime, congrats to Putt on his amazing career at LSU and his new contract. You deserve it more than most, Mr. Dorsey. And I think you'll do more good with it than most. But I'll never know for sure. Cause I won't be watching.


  1. I just wanted to say... that was well said.

  2. I echo that. There'll come a day soon, I think, when the League imposes limits on what rookies can make.

    Thanks for stopping by Jason.

  3. i gotta go give my cousin a call, see if maybe he needs another member of his posse.


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