NFL players don't get paychecks in the offseason, which is probably why we won't see an end to the league's labor stalemate anytime soon.
That's what came to mind when I heard the tale of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, a tremendously talented youngster who always seems to be in the middle of some sort of controversy.
It seems young Dez is facing not one, but two lawsuits that claim he owes some people $861,350 plus interest and attorneys fees for unpaid bills for watches, earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and tickets to sporting events.
I know. Don't you hate it when you're out shopping for earrings and before you know it, you got about a million dollar's worth in your cart? And all you got on you is a couple Gs. And next thing you know, you're asking for store credit because you're thinking you'll be getting that $8.5 million guaranteed pretty soon. Been there, done that, D.
(Here's the part where I suggest to all you jewelers out there that you get your money up front, even if your customer is projected as a first-round pick by Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Mike Mayock and the ghost of Jimmy the Greek.)
Dez also happens to be the guy who last year signed that contract with $8.5 million guaranteed. So if the charges are true, Dez probably hasn't done a good job managing the millions. I'd love to say he'd be the exception among professional athletes. But that would be as accurate as last September when I picked that Vikings-Chargers Super Bowl (Yes, the alleged Cheesehead lover picked the Vikings to win the NFC).
The folks at the NFLPA would like the owners to believe the players were paying attention when told to save for a rainy day and/or NFL lockout. They'd also like the owners to believe the NFLPA lockout fund will make a difference. NFL.com reports that the maximum payouts will be $60,000, which will be distributed in six payments beginning April 15.
In the words of Chad Ochocinco, "Child, PLEASE!"
Sixty grand? Why, that's $10.64 million less than the going rate for modern-day slavery! Heck, old Dez had a dinner tab for teammates last year that was 54 grand. Sixty grand. Sheesh.
I hope it doesn't come to this, but I get the feeling the owners wouldn't mind if this standoff lasted into September and cancelled a couple of games. I believe they're willing to risk the fans' loyalty to the game if it means breaking the players and regaining control in the collective bargaining agreement. And by "control," I mean both sides ultimately continue to get filthy rich.
Again, I hope that games aren't cancelled. But it looks to me like that's a gamble the owners would win. The fans will gripe about billionaires and millionaires, but we all know they'll be right back on board the minute the lockout ends. Heck, they'll probably be more energized by the game than ever before. And I don't think it's a reach to suggest Dez isn't the only NFL player who hasn't handled his money wisely.