|What If Roles Were Reversed?
December 20th, 2010
Every name mentioned in this story is fictional, and not meant to portray any individual in either the military, or playing for a team in the NFL.
I live in Chicago and sometimes hate the sports jocks on the radio. This week there’s been a lot of talk about the ‘Bears’ playing the ‘Vikings’ on a frozen field in Minneapolis. The Viking's punter found it interesting that the NFL would put such emphasis on concussions, yet allow a game to be played on such a frozen surface. I guess that just shows you the difference between today’s overpaid, spoiled, Prima-Donna athletes, and the athletes of forty years ago. It led me to this thought about professional athletes and our military members. Imagine for a moment, if their pay (and attitudes) were reversed. Let's assume that the monthly pay of an ‘average NFL player’ is what an E-4 with two years of service makes ($1986/month). A general in the Army is interviewed; then a player from an NFL team is interviewed. How different the world is!
Reporter: “General Richardson, you have a big battle looming for your 10001st Brigade in the Arizona desert tomorrow night with those who have invaded our homeland. What can you tell us about your battle plans?”
General Richardson: “Well, you know, there is a good probability that weapons will be fired, and I don’t want any of my Rangers to be hurt, so we’re going to take every precaution to ensure none of our men are wounded.”
Reporter: “But General Richardson, our country’s safety and values are at stake, aren’t you going to make sure the average American’s freedom is preserved?”
General Richardson: “Well, Sergeant Thad just signed on with this brigade recently, we made him the highest-paid platoon leader to come work with us. He’s our top platoon leader, and we can’t risk him getting shot or wounded. And the fifth platoon has half the squad injured right now from crawling over barbed wire that surrounded the last bunker they overran, so I have to make sure they aren’t put in harm’s way either. “
Reporter: “Now General, you can’t be serious! We’re talking about preserving our way of life! Who’s going to defend us and make sure we can continue our lives like we have in the past?”
General Richardson: “Son, we have a lot of money invested in contracts for these men. We can’t risk having them hurt by fighting combat under less than perfect conditions. Too much heat and one of them could suffer heat stroke. And if that was Sergeant Thad, where would I be then?”
Reporter: “General, I thought your assigned mission was to protect the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”
General Richardson: “Where have you been these last ten years? That was years ago when people joined the military out of a sense of duty and love for their country. But with free agency on us, we’re now free to sign with whatever branch we choose; we negotiate our own contracts, and get as much money as we can. After all, it doesn’t take much to get a man killed, and you know these contracts have nightmarish insurance policies in them. Hell, if I get killed in action, my wife would get fifty million up front, and ten thousand a month as long as she lived.”
Reporter: “General, what do you say about the men who volunteer to play football in the NFL? They play every week, in rain, snow, sleet, or the heat of the day. Their average pay is less than twenty thousand per year. Yet they throw their bodies into that game, knowing that they could be injured severely in the process. They do all that for such little money, yet your spoiled fighting forces here are afraid to get an ingrown toenail.”
General Richardson: “If those men had the skills and abilities of my men, they too could be making all this money, and not risking too much. They know we take care of our own after all.”
Reporter: “ $#*!#$%^”
The same reporter interviews a star NFL player, asking about the upcoming game.
Reporter: “John Smalltown, you’re preparing to play the Chicago Bears tomorrow night, and will most likely be playing on a frozen field. There’s a good possibility that if someone is tackled hard that they could suffer a concussion. What can you tell me about this?”
John Smalltown: “This is our job, it’s what we’re trained to do. There is no way we’re letting our fans down. We’ll play our hearts out and lay it all on the line for the fans.”
Reporter: “But John, the field will be frozen and as hard as a parking lot! What can you do to protect yourself?”
John Smalltown: “Our owners know what we’re doing. The NFL set this schedule up last year, and didn’t know this game would have to be played under these conditions. But hey, that’s what we’re paid to do, so we’ll go do it!”
Reporter: “John, I have to tell you, I fear for your safety, and the safety of your teammates.”
John Smalltown: “Don’t you worry about us, just say hi to our families for us, and tell them we’ll be home as soon as we can.”
Reporter: “I don’t know how you guys do it. I’m not sure I could do this, and I don’t want to find out. This is George Dehaven for the six o’clock news, signing off for now. Please keep your football team in your thoughts and prayers as they play this game tonight. Some of them are going to need everything they can get. I wonder if somehow, someway, we can get a few of them tickets to Disneyland?”