Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bye Bye

Here is the setup. You live in a mid-sized metropolitan city. There are four major grocery chains, 3 regional grocery stores and 5 of the mom-and-pop variety. You work for Gouge-For-Less. You've worked there for 5 years and have received excellent performance evaluations each year. You are well-liked both by your coworkers and the management. You are very happy with the company and look forward to a long career with them.

One day you come to work and you can't find your time card to punch in. You go see your supervisor to find out what's up. She tells you that you no longer work there; you now work for Just Try'n to Get By Groceries, an up and coming local store. Two of their former employees will now be working at Gouge -For-Less.

Your supervisor thanks you for all your hard work for the company, hands you your box cutter and tells you that you need to report to your new employer by 4:00 p.m.

While this scenario would seem quite odd out in the real world, it is a routine part of business for athletes who play for professional sports teams. Owners and management trade players like kids who trade sports cards. More often than not, the athlete has no say in regards to whether or not he/she wishes to be traded or where they might be sent.

As a youth, I accepted this system because it was the status quo and, to be quite frank, I didn't really think about the human implications. Now that I'm older, I can't believe that sports teams are allowed to get away with this. It is to treat human beings like a commodity!

I know a lot of people would say, "Yeah, but they get paid gazillions of dollars." There's no question, in my mind, that far too many professional athletes are paid unrealistic sums to play the games they played as children. When one compares the societal benefit between a home run hitter or a defensive lineman with an elementary school teacher, it would seem the latter is far more valuable!

Yet, regardless of how much money they get paid, it is quite dehumanizing to be treated like nothing more than a sack of potatoes to be be tossed here or there at the whim of management -- to not have a real say in when, where or for whom a person works.

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