(CLEVELAND) Andy Easland understands that in these economic times, nothing should come as a surprise.
The 25-year-old tight end has been an employee of the Cleveland Browns since late July, but with a round of layoffs looming, he knows he could find himself back on the street.
“It’s tough, but I understand, it’s a business,” Easland told reporters. “You just have to go out there again and try to find work.”
Clubs in the National Football League have announced that they will once again lay off hundreds of players, making this the 93rd consecutive August that so many workers will lose their jobs.
“It’s a strange pattern,” notes Berea University economics professor Mike Senzon. “The league seems to hit a critical mass of employment around late July to early August. Then right before Labor Day, boom – massive layoffs.
“And it’s happened whether the economy has been in recession or not,” Senzon added. “I just don’t get it. It’s like the NFL has some sick cat-and-mouse game going with its workforce. They get everybody’s hopes up that a huge contract is coming, and then they just heartlessly cut almost half the workers.”
Stranger still, notes Easland, is that some workers never seem to lose their jobs. Easland himself has been let go three times by three different teams, yet he sees some players who manage to hang on to their jobs and even receive pay raises. “And they don’t work nearly as hard as we do,” he adds.
“When I was with the Vikings [in 2009], there was a player, I’ll just call him ‘Brett.’ Well, Brett didn’t even show up for training camp. He was flown in on a corporate jet and the coaches and players were majorly kissing his ass. You think he lost his job? No chance.” Easland continues with a sigh, “They made him a starter that day. I sure would like to know whose dick he was sucking.”
The layoffs have drawn the attention of irate politicians. Representative Peter King of New York has been especially critical, as his area is home to not one but two clubs, the Giants and Jets. “The league is earning millions if not billions annually,” King griped at a press conference. “There’s just no need for it to put honest men out of work like this. These teams ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
For Easland, the Browns hopeful, there is no time for political posturing. “I just hope I make the team this time,” he admitted. “If not, I’ll look into some indoor leagues, but the money isn’t nearly as good. I’ve just got to keep working hard, take it one day at a time. Hopefully I get a full-time job this time. I’ll do whatever it takes.
Easland paused and added, “I’ll even work overtime.”