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The Politics of Equal Playing [Football]Fields



Many including myself fancy the notion that all the ills of society are due to inequality and that only if we could legislate absolute parity would we have a peaceful and just society. It’s a beguiling allure, this notion of equality being the panacea of the world's problems, I know because for a while there I fell for it too. Well, I'm saddened to inform you that an

egalitarian experiment has been attempted and equality has failed to manifest itself.

This experiment in legislated egalitarianism plays out every year in the NFL, which was once dominated by a few teams, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New York, San Francisco, Washington, but in an act of altruism, the

league members decided for the benefit of the fans, they'd democratically legislate more equality into the game.

So in the 90s, the league instituted a series of measures to make the small market teams as competitive as their large market counterparts. They redistributed revenues from television broadcast rights, merchandising sales and instituted a salary cap making it impossible to spend more than a predetermined threshold for players salaries. They also established free-agency, allowing players to offer their services to the highest bidder.

In addition to all manner of other reforms the NFL embarked on this new egalitarian path, and despite all of these profound changes, which do ensure more teams make it to the playoffs each year, the parity it promised has yet to manifest itself. Every year there are perennial contenders, like the New England Patriots with 7 Super Bowl appearances in 16 years, and perennial losers, like the Cleveland Browns with zero playoff appearances.

So why has parity been so hard to achieve despite all the best efforts of the NFL? Well, each team is afforded the same resources, the same amount of money, same access to players, and are all limited on how much they can spend so why is it the Patriots have been dominating the league since 2001 and Cleveland, is a perennial cellar dweller? Each team gets the same resources but teams like the Patriots maximize them while teams like Cleveland squander them. The teams that succeed can attribute their success to a number of different aspects, such as :

Better philosophy - the overall approach to fundamental aspects of the football organization.

Better organization - structuring the organization in a more efficient manner.

Better salary cap management - structuring player contracts so that they allow for more flexibility in signing key free agents.

Better trades - utilizing trades to better your team and to the detriment of other teams.

Better coaching - utilizing tactical schemes that create the optimum matchups with opponents.

Better player analysis & drafting - in addition to physical attributes focusing on football IQ and character development.

The Cleveland Browns have had 27 different quarterbacks go through their roster since 1999 whereas the Patriots have had 2, which demonstrates poor player analysis, drafting, development, and coaching. The Browns have also traded many sub-average or average players to the Patriots who then become above average performers, and the Browns have become the Patriots de facto player farm club.

Some of the players acquired from the Browns, as follows :

RB Dion Lewis

DE Jabaal Sheard

LB Barkevious Mingo

DT Ishmaa'ily Kitchen

WR Brian Tyms

OT Keavon Milton

LB Eric Martin

LS Christian Yount

WR Perez Ashford

WR Reggie Dunn

OL Braxton Cave

OL Caylin Hauptmann

DE Cam Henderson

DT John Hughes

Do these players somehow magically improve when they leave the Browns and step onto the Patriots practice field, or do the Patriots coach and utilize these players in a coaching scheme that increases their efficacy? I would say that it’s the later. Because the players that the Patriots discard due to lack of effort tend to end up on the Browns roster, see Jamie Collins.

So as you can see the inequity between the Patriots and Browns has nothing to do with an uneven distribution of material resources, but instead of how efficiently those resources are utilized. Despite being allotted the same amount of resources some teams utilize them more efficiently than others and are able to translate that efficiency into success!

In light of the recent furor about player protests, former players like Ryan Clark have made statements characterizing the protests as “this is about an even playing field for all races, genders....” and denounces Trump's campaign as “based on separation” which is not only a fallacy but also hypocritical and highly ironic, when Ryan Clark's entire career was based separation.

He made his millions as a player because he “separated” or distinguished himself from his competitors. His teams “separated” or distinguished themselves from their competitors in order to win games and championships! Almost every aspect of our lives is based on distinguishing our selves from others. We work hard in school to distinguish ourselves worthy of higher education, as all are not accepted into academia. We distinguish ourselves from other members of our sex to attract a mate, we distinguish ourselves from others to get a job and so on.

The radical left who’ve inculcated the west with their crusade to end inequality, have misrepresented what causes it in the first place. It is human nature, not capitalism, not the “patriarchy” not “white supremacy” that causes some to use what they’re given more efficiently than others. There are those born into money who squander hard earned family fortunes, while others come from abject poverty and become self-made billionaires.

It is desire, intelligence, aptitude, ambition, diligence, industriousness, personality traits, a modicum of luck, and some providence that lead to the uneven distribution of success, not some malevolent forces of the capitalist or white supremacist boogeyman! Because if that were the case all “racialized” minorities would be impoverished and all whites would be wealthy and that’s simply not the case. All wealthy families would always stay wealthy and all poor families would stay poor and that’s simply not the case either.

So pardon me Ryan if I don’t buy your rhetoric about equality because you’re a millionaire because you engaged in a zero-sum game where you won because others lost and the fact that you can’t comprehend that makes your virtue-signaling a little hypocritical and really ironic to my ear. As much as I desire to see the end of inequality there are those who’d squander the resources redistributed to them because, well because of human nature!


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