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True or False? LeBron James compares NFL owners to slave owners

The tension between NFL ownership and the players that comprise the league have been no secret over the past several years.

Between the non-guaranteed contracts that fill rosters, the disinformation campaign around concussions that last for most of the league’s history and the entire national anthem controversy that swirled around the 2017 season, players and ownership have seen their relationship go from strained to downright ugly.

Few NFL players are in the position to criticize the league.

Given the unemployment of Colin Kaepernick and the struggles similarly social justice-minded players have had in securing contracts, players tend to avoid overt criticism of the league for the sake of their own finances.

He plays in the NBA, a league that is far friendlier to players who speak out on social issues, and even if he didn’t, his status is so secure that no team or league would dare act against him.

Adrian Peterson did so in 2011, and NFL ownership has done little to dissuade players from thinking that way.

At a meeting between NFL owners and players last season, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair compared players to prisoners by saying that the league couldn’t let “The inmates run the prison.” The NBA has taken a very different approach to work with its players, empowering them to speak out whenever the opportunity strikes.

“The players are who make the ship go,” he said.

Adam Silver has empowered players, and because of that, he has never needed to battle with them as the NFL has to.

As long as football players have as little leverage as they do, there are always going to be players who feel the way that James does.


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