Tag: National Football League

Katrina Shankland knows more about the NFL’s player salary structure than Scott Walker does

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of the blog post is a New England Patriots fan who lives in Illinois, and Wisconsin State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) is, like the vast majority of Wisconsinites, a Green Bay Packers fan. Anyways, the Chicago Bears are a bunch of losers.


At a recent private, invite-only “listening session”, Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, while claiming that the NFL’s free agency system should be a model for paying public school teachers, demonstrated that he has no knowledge of how the NFL’s player salary structure works. Here’s what Walker said:

If the Green Bay Packers pay people to perform and if they perform well on their team, (the Packers) pay them to do that…They don’t pay them for how many years they’ve been on the football team. They pay them whether or not they help (the Packers) win football games.

Wisconsin State Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), the Assistant Minority Leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly, issued this brilliant response to Walker’s absurd claims about the NFL player salary structure and absurd comparison between NFL player salaries and Wisconsin public school teacher salaries. I encourage everyone who is reading this blog post to read Shankland’s statement in full, but I’ll summarize three points that Shankland made in her statement:

  • NFL teams often have a total player payroll that is well under the league’s salary cap, whereas public school districts in Wisconsin are barely able to make payroll thanks to Walker’s funding cuts to public K-12 schools in Wisconsin
  • NFL players have a strong labor union representing them, whereas Walker and his Republican allies severely weakened Wisconsin public school teachers’ unions by restricting collective bargaining rights.
  • For the third point, I’ll directly quote Shankland: “…the NFL does pay their athletes regardless of whether or not they win games. Ask the Chicago Bears about this.”

For those of you who are wondering, the Chicago Bears compiled a record of 6 wins and 10 losses, and failed to make the playoffs, in the 2015 NFL season. Oh, and NFL players do not lose a penny of their base salary if their team loses a game.

The salary and unionization structure of NFL players and that of public school teachers in Wisconsin are not identical by any rational person’s imagination. I applaud Katrina Shankland for having a far better knowledge of the NFL player salary structure than Scott Walker does.

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Failed USFL team owner Donald Trump complains about recent emphasis on player safety in the NFL

Donald Trump, who, decades prior to running for the Republican presidential nomination, was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the failed United States Football League (USFL), complained at a recent campaign rally that the National Football League (NFL) has become “too soft” because of the increased emphasis on player safety in recent years:

As Donald Trump watched Saturday night’s Steelers-Bengals game, with hard hits that caused concussions and drew penalty flags, he thought he saw a metaphor for the direction that our country is heading in.

“Football has become soft like our country has become soft,” Trump said at a campaign rally today, to cheers from the audience.

Trump said he’s frustrated to see the way the NFL has changed the rules to take many hits to the head out of the game, at the expense of what Trump views as the old-school style of play that made the game great decades ago.

Make no mistake about it, football is a big part of American culture, with the Super Bowl traditionally being the most-watched television program of the year and the NBC Sunday Night Football jingle being effectively America’s second national anthem. In fact, I’m a big fan of football myself, with football being my third-favorite sport behind curling (a winter sport that is almost never on American television) and stock car racing.

Back to the main point of the blog post…player safety is something that should be a major focus of football at all levels of the sport. Head injuries are very serious, and repetitive head injuries have caused many former football players to suffer long-term medical problems. Many deceased former football players, including Frank Gifford and Junior Seau (last name pronounced say-OW), were diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that causes, among other things, memory loss and suicidal mentality. I believe that any non-incidental contact above the shoulders should be banned in football at all levels.

Let’s not forget that Trump was largely responsible for the USFL, a professional football league that operated for three seasons in the 1980’s, folding:

Soon after Trump bought the Generals after the USFL’s inaugural season, which was played in the spring of 1983, he started pushing his fellow owners to move the league’s games to the fall and go head-to-head with the NFL. “If God wanted football in the spring,” Trump once said, “he wouldn’t have created baseball.” After the league’s third season, the owners agreed to move to a fall schedule in 1986.

“I think it was a big mistake,” said Dr. Ted Diethrich, one of the league’s original owners. “When that decision was made, the course for this was charted, and it was going to be a wreck.”

Several teams were having financial difficulties at the time, and the league lacked the fall TV contracts that supported the NFL. The USFL instead tried to take on the NFL in the courts by filing an antitrust lawsuit. The hope was that the USFL would either merge with the established league or win a sizable settlement. The merger never happened, and despite winning the lawsuit, the USFL was ultimately awarded only $3 for its troubles. The league soon folded, and Trump’s push for the fall schedule and a lawsuit against the NFL is generally cited as the main reason.

Remember, Donald Trump has derailed professional football once before, so he’s not credible when it comes to talking about the current state of professional football in America.

The actual blown call in the Packers Hail Mary victory over the Lions

There’s been a considerable amount of talk of a blown call on the last play before time ran out in the 4th quarter of last night’s NFL Thursday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions (won by the Packers by a score of 27-23). That play involved a questionable facemask penalty against Lions defensive end Devin Taylor (#98):

However, since Taylor did move the face mask of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (#12) to one side, although only by his thumb, that was a correct call by the officials. Even though time ran out in regulation, since the penalty was committed by the defensive team (the Lions), the Packers were given one untimed down.

The actual blown call was on the untimed play, which was the Hail Mary pass itself. At a little past 40 seconds into the video below, you will see Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (#17), who was not the player who caught the winning pass, commit an offensive pass interference penalty against Lions linebacker Josh Byrnes (#57) by grabbing the shoulderpad of Byrnes as Byrnes was attempting to intercept a forward pass by Aaron Rodgers:

Had offensive pass interference been called against Adams, that would have ended the game, the Packers touchdown from Aaron Rodgers to tight end Richard Rodgers (#82) would have not counted, and the Lions would have won. Instead, the officials missed the offensive pass interference and allowed the touchdown to stand.

Aaron Schock caught using taxpayer money on airplane trip to NFL game

Disgraced U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has been implicated in one scandal after another in recent months, most notably the Decorgate scandal, in which Schock had his Washington, D.C. office decorated in a lavish, Downton Abbey-inspired style.

Now, Schock has been implicated in yet another scandal. This time, it involves taxpayer money, a private airplane, and a NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings (the Bears defeated the Vikings 21-13 in that game):

Schock chartered an aircraft to take him from Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia, about 30 miles from the Capitol, to Peoria on Friday, Nov. 14. The return trip to Reagan National Airport was set for the next Monday. The side trip to Chicago was tucked in between, on Sunday, according to the pilot who flew the plane.

The newest official House disbursement records show a November payment of $10,802 to pilot Keith Siilats for “commercial transportation.”

Siilats told me in an interview on Sunday, “That whole weekend was paid by the government.” The only invoice Siilats said he submitted was for government payment.

Siilats also told me he attended the Bears game with Schock.

There are no records showing any reimbursement from Schock for the Chicago flights.

That’s right…Aaron Schock is using your taxpayer money to fly to professional football games. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that federal tax dollars, which could be better spent on things like rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, helping the poor, and so on, are being used for a Member of Congress’s trip to a NFL game.

Aaron Schock should resign from Congress immediately…in fact, he should have resigned a long time ago. In the meantime, I’ll start referring to this latest Schock scandal as the “Bearsgate” scandal.