Bears safety Chris Harris is one of the team's most prolific "tweeters."
He often uses Twitter to debate issues in and out of the game with his followers, responding honestly to their questions. What's funny is that one of his most open discussions came because of the lack of openness from his employer.
This week, a debate on the possibility of a lockout turned into a discussion on football players' pay. This inspired Harris to move outside the 140-character confines of Twitter. On his website, he gave his take on football players pay. Though it's easy to lament football players' high salaries, Harris points out everything that his salary means. He goes into detail, discussing the physical demands and risks of the job, the short nature of football players careers and lives, and that the average football player does not make seven figures per year.
As much as I wish that money wasn’t such an overwhelmingly important factor in our lives, it is. In this world we live in, part of our life’s survival is dependent on it, and this is why NFL players - in my honest opinion - are NOT overpaid. We sacrifice our lives in an effort to make owners happy, fans happy and, most importantly, our families happy.
What’s the price of your life’s well being and happiness? ...Answer: There isn't a price. However, as long as the world continues revolving around money, we all might as well earn a dollar amount that, at the very least, compensates us for that which we sacrifice. It’s simply the fair thing to do.
Harris was put in the unique position of defending his salary for one reason -- we know how much he makes. The details of his contract, his yearly salary and the types of bonuses he can earn are available on the Internet. He can't "cry poor" when we know that he made more than a $1million in 2010.
That's not true for the Bears, or any other NFL team, save the Packers. As privately-held corporations, the teams can keep their books closed, so that the players and the public have no idea what their profits were. (The Packers are the NFL's only publicly-held company, so their books are open.)
A major point of contention in the collective bargaining agreement is that the owners are claiming that they aren't making enough money to justify their current profit-sharing agreement with the players. The players have asked for the owners to open their finances and prove it, but the owners have repeatedly refused.
Without knowing their profits, the owners can claim that they aren't making enough money to sustain players' salaries and the fans and players won't know if they're being honest. That stands in stark contrast to the honesty Harris showed in talking about his salary and why he deserves it. If the same questions were lobbed at the owners, would they be as forthright?