Tensions were brewing between the players and the owners before, sure, but the public debate over player salaries and revenue sharing should the MLB season be played without fans has taken things to the next level.
Many have attacked players who have spoken out, such as Blake Snell and Bryce Harper. Snell, who shared his opinions while streaming on Twitch, has faced the brunt of public criticism as many see his views as tone-deaf and selfish.
Here’s what Snell said:
“I'm not playing unless I get [my fair share]. That's just the way it is for me. Like, I'm sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way . . . higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that? . . . You all gotta understand. Cause you all are going to be like, 'Blake, play for the love of the game -- what's wrong with you? The money should not be a thing.' Bro. I am risking my life . . . And then be on lockdown, not around my family, not around the people I love, and getting paid way the hell less. And then the risk of injury runs every time I step on the field. So it's just, just not worth it. It's not. I love baseball to death, it's just not worth it."
Let me explain to you why Snell is right.
First, let’s consider the safety of the players. Many were quick to point out that Snell isn’t risking his life, but that isn’t true — although the death rate among younger populations is low, it is still a health threat. Additionally, as pitcher Sean Doolittle pointed out on Twitter last week, there are many lasting impacts from COVID-19.
While the science isn’t clear yet, there’s evidence to suggest that being infected with COVID-19 can cause permanent damage on the lungs. “Definitely a concern for athletes,” Doolittle wrote.
There’s another camp of criticisms saying that Snell is just using safety and health as a cover for simply wanting more money. Logically, that doesn’t make sense; playing this season will be a trade-off for any athlete, and it’s a matter of weighing the risks and rewards in terms of salary and health.
Perhaps the most fierce attacks on Snell revolve around how tone-deaf his statement was. Fans are criticizing him for complaining about making millions of dollars, all while essential works are making minimum wage. How can a player with such privilege complain about not making enough money?
Let’s look at the flip side of this. On the other side of this dynamic is the owners, who — miraculously! — have escaped all of this with little in the way of bad press.
Why are the owners trying to get the players to agree to getting paid less this season? The answer is simple: Because they want the profits. The owners, scared that their bottom line will suffer this season, have been urging the players to take a cut. They’re putting their bottom line ahead of playing this season, complaining about money all while essential workers work for minimum wage to save lives.
There are two sides to this sword, and while what Blake Snell said might not be the most palatable, he isn’t alone. Before you attack Snell for being tone-deaf and selfish, look who’s on the other side of these discussions.
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