AFL (Australian Football Lague for my international friends) is now a fully professional sport with clubs turning over in excess of $70m per year and the players average salary getting up to ~$300,000 per year with some over the $1m mark.
You read it all the time that it is a business and for the players it is a full time job.
The AFLPA (Players Association) is always pushing the case for the players to be treated like other industries. The fact is that it is not like any other industry.
The lifespan of the average AFL player is 4 years and the good ones might get past 10. In the whole scheme of a working life it isn’t a big percentage so they should be compensated in line with what the industry is generating, especially since they are the star attraction.
One argument I don’t get though is the “24/7” argument, that football is with them everywhere they go – they have to look after their bodies, they can’t go out without getting recognised, etc.
Do they not think that other industries are 24/7 as well? Most people I work with are available day and night with my smartphone; something is always happening and in today’s connected world work is hard to get away from. Wouldn’t it be great to sit at home all day resting your body and not getting hassled by email or messenger for work matters?
The scrutiny in the public eye that they come under when on the field is something that (thankfully) the majority of us don’t encounter. Take the example earlier this year when Richmond lost to Collingwood by 1 point with a goal kicked with 4 seconds remaining.
Richmond were 17 points up with around 4 minutes remaining. Through a combination of undisciplined errors they allowed Collingwood to kick 3 goals and literally steal the game. These players get paid to play and win. The expectation is that they train all year around to execute their skills under pressure, especially when it counts. The Richmond players failed to do this and the media hammered them.
I just happened to sit next to three Richmond players at a cafe in the days after the game I am referring to. I was to into my muesli and the daily paper to overhear anything until I was getting up to pay my bill. “A game goes for 2 hours; we are going to f**k up at some point”, one of them said with the other two nodding their heads in acknowledgement.
I wonder how’d we’d go in business getting a business presentation to a huge prospective client screened live with commentary? Then have it all dissected by the media in the days following.
You perform well right the way through your negotiations, good body language, assertive, confident and answering all questions with authority. It gets towards the end of the meeting, time to try and close the deal. The client throws in a curve ball that you weren’t expecting. You stutter, not sure where to look. They throw the ball in your court to accept their terms there and then (wasn’t it meant to be the other way around, you are thinking).
You lose the deal. What would be the feedback your boss would give you in the video review? What about the media reporting on it?
Would make the performance review far more interesting.