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Damar Hamlin's ordeal underscores the perilous work conditions for NFL players, who desperately need stronger advocacy

Jan 11, 2023

On Sunday morning, before the still-healing Buffalo Bills kicked off their regular-season finale against the New England Patriots, several NFL media members tweeted that the Bills were going to pay Damar Hamlin's full contract amount.

But so it's crystal clear: It isn't the full amount for the remainder of the four-year, $3.64M contract Hamlin signed in 2021 after he was drafted in the sixth round, it was the full amount of his 2022 salary. And since NFL players generally get paid over the 18 weeks of the regular season and Hamlin had a cardiac arrest on the field during Week 17, it amounted to Buffalo making him whole for one more week.

Because his contract contained a clause that if he went on injured reserve, he'd get a pay cut. So by the Bills selling a few grossly overpriced beers on Sunday they were able to scrape together the $20,556 the team so benevolently agreed to pay to make up the difference. For a player whose heart had stopped for nine minutes just a few days earlier while he was in service to their organization.

And many on social media hailed Buffalo as heroes.

But here in this space, it is just another reminder of the grossly inhumane way team owners view players, and how ineffective the NFL Players Association is at advocating for its members.

Circle back a couple of paragraphs: By being placed on injured reserve, a clause was triggered in Hamlin's contract that cut his salary nearly in half. So instead of going into cardiac arrest the way he did, had he torn an ACL in, say, the first game of the season, his salary as he rehabbed would have been just 55 percent of what it had been had he remained healthy and on the 53-man roster for the entire regular season.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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