Quite simply put, it’s because the NBA markets its players, while the NFL does not — in order for the owners to maintain leverage over the players.
“The NFL sells the NFL. The NBA sells its players. The NFL markets the NFL. The NBA markets its players, and players drive who we are in the NBA. You couldn’t identify 90 percent of NFL players if they were standing right in front of you. That’s a big part of their core problem. If you look at the social media following of NFL players, it’s not that big …
So, that’s an issue for NFL players, and I’m thinking it’s by design from the NFL because that’s what gives them more leverage. NFL players don’t make nearly as much off the field, other than the quarterback and maybe one skill position player, maybe two per team, as NBA players do, because they just don’t have the brand or visibility. That gives the NFL a lot more negotiating power, and I think that’s something that the NFL should be helping their players with more.”
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Mark Cuban Believes NFL Owners Are Greedy
This isn’t the first time Cuban has taken shots at NFL owners. Back in 2014, he called them “greedy,” saying the league would implode within the next 10 years because of it, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion,” Cuban said Sunday evening when his pregame conversation with reporters, which covered a broad range of topics, swayed toward football. “I’m just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy.
“Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No. 1 of business.”
NFL Owners Want Leverage Over the Players
It’s hard to argue against the billionaire’s point here. It’s very true that the NBA markets its star players and you know who the top guys are — LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, etc.
In the NFL, that really isn’t the case. With the exception of long-time players such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, the league doesn’t really have many recognizable faces — and that’s been a major problem since Roger Goodell took over as commissioner.
The NBA being lenient in their policies with their players also allows them greater freedom of speech and the ability to make more money in their off-the-court ventures. In the NFL, if you’re not the star quarterback, good luck trying to make a living off of the field.
It’s clear that the agenda over recent years has been for the NFL to downsize the power of its players — while placing the leverage in team owners’ hands.
Even if you don’t like Cuban for whatever reason, you have to admit — he’s 100 percent correct here.
Follow D.J. Siddiqi on Twitter @DJSiddiqi