The NFL has come a long way in providing equal opportunities for all players. I think it is important to give attention to areas where they have both succeed and failed in this task. This will give a guide of what is working and what is not working, and will pave the way for a better future.
The salary of NFL players is still one of the areas of major controversy. Even within the NFL, there is a huge range of difference between contracts for the highest paid players and ones at the base rate.
It is easy to see why better players are paid more. If a higher offer comes along, it can be tempting for a brilliant player to leave their club. They are therefore enticed to stay with huge contracts. Regardless of whether this is fair, the simple fact is that they should be more equal.
Having contracts that differ in millions of dollars between players can create lower confidence in other players. It can stop them from performing their best and create conflict within the club. It can also create competition among players, which something that is not desirable. Salaries should be fair, not outrageous.
The first openly gay male to be drafted in NFL was Michael Sam in 2014. There was massive controversy surrounding this showing our intolerance towards people that come from different backgrounds than our own.
Since then there has only been one player to play in Division I. There is a culture in American football to hide ones sexuality so that it does not hurt ones career. However, if we are going to work towards having completely open and equal opportunities for all players, this needs to change.
We have come a long way in having racial equality in football. From a time when all players were white males to now, there has been a huge shift in our thinking. However, I would like to see more representation for different racial backgrounds. The NFL lacks Asian players which means they are not equally represented in the NFL. Other nationalities, such as those from middle eastern countries, should also be given the change to be equally represented.
Although this is something we will not be seeing change anytime soon, I think it is important to speak about it now than never. Women sports are gaining momentum more so now than ever before. This has led to the recognition that they are not at all supported in professional sports equal to men. The NFL could be the first to respond to this.
By offering a seperate division for women players, women would have the right to the same equal opportunities that men have. Their skills and talents would be equally recognized and rewarded, and it would lead to a shift in the way we see sportswoman.
Many of these changes will not happen overnight, but it is important to speak about them now. The more we ask for equal rights and discuss their necessity, the closer we will move towards them.