Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Dan Ellis' financial problems

Making $1.5 million this year, Dan Ellis stands to lose a fair chunk of that. Ten per cent goes to his agent, 35 per cent of that will go to Uncle Sam, and 25 per cent of that will go into the player's escrow account.

I have a hard enough time calculating my own paycheque, but subtract those basic numbers from his base $1.5 million, he has $450,000 in net pay, or 4091 per cent more than I make as a part-time student, part-time warehouse worker and full-time rabblerouser.

Twitter, for my liking, creates far too many headlines and stories, but this is one that deserves to be addressed. At some point during his life working out before training camp in preparation for his first season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dan Ellis thought it was a good idea to chime in on Saint's running back Reggie Bush's lament that NFL players stand to lose 18 per cent of their salaries next year after the NFL owners win a labour battle against the players that can't afford to miss a season.

Here's why:

In the NFL, players, on average, have a three-year career. The minimum salary is $285,000, which seems like a lot, but when you factor in that a player may only play for that for three or four years before working at a used-car lot, that's very little money to prepare for the future.

That may drop, since the NFL would love nothing more than to adjust the rookie pay scale and roll salaries back 18 per cent. For veterans, NFL teams can cut them at the height of their careers in cost-saving moves. I'm a Seattle Seahawks fan, and exactly one year ago we were excited to see T.J. Houshmenzahdeh catch balls for a good chunk of his career after signing a big four-year deal. Now he's playing in Baltimore, for the minimum salary. Tack on health-care and a lack of retirement benefits, the NFL players stand to lose quite a bit in this labour fight.

Enter Dan Ellis was one of the first NHLers to get on Twitter, and he has quite a strong online following. Then he became the subject of an Internet meme when he, as the Puck Daddy bluntly put it, piggybacked on a Twitter rant.

This was the result.

And, later, this. A collection of Dan Ellis' other problems. I'm sure that Ryan Lambert of Two-Line Pass will have a collection of the best ones later in the week so I'll spare the details.

From "I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now then when I was in college." [sic] to "If you don't make a lot of money I don't expect u to understand in the same way I could never understand what it is like to risk my life" [sic] you might feel sympathy for Dan Ellis and his bank account, or the bum life that most athletes have to endure playing sports for a living. Most of us don't have that luxury, since some of us still do buy discounted groceries because our entire paycheques go towards paying the high-def cable bill to feed the sports addiction habit. I'm not going to go off on a 'woe-is-me' tale because I have it pretty good. I'm still living off the parent's dime, even though I've moved out, but I have to live responsibly and within my means on a tight budget. Like most people, I cook my own meals, take the bus to school, walk to work, buy dishes at the dollar store and siphon Internet from the neighbors.

Dan Ellis is not like that. He can afford airport massages and custom rims on his cars. Maybe his money isn't enough when he expects to live a life of glorified excess like they do on Entourage. He does have a wife and kid and probably sinks more money into his family than he can on carnal pleasures. I assume that's part of growing up. For a guy who generally wanders around the Internet aloof and vaguely familiar with his surroundings, I can accept that he has no ill-intentions towards the proletariat who watch his games from the cheap seats (in Tampa, known as 'the lower bowl'). I can also accept he isn't aware that Florida has a 12 per cent unemployment rate.

Always remember that former goon Darren McCarty had to auction off his posessions, and allegedly his Cup rings, because he was broke. It turns out this summer that Chris Neil is a couple million bucks in debt. We laugh about these things, because we can hardly imagine just how hard it is to spend all that money.

It isn't. I don't rest until every last dime of my paycheque is spent frivolously on a retro-looking Star Wars poster, new pair of jeans or a taxi ride home. A few extra dollars means I'm probably buying the original prints of Star Wars, a new expensive suit, and an luxury car to drive home. You do it too, and the difference between you and Dan Ellis, in this respect, is that more people listen to Ellis and what he does with his money, and to us, it looks like Ellis has this blatant sense of entitlement when it comes to his dollars.

Well... he does. But so do the rest of us.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think most people spend paycheck to paycheck. Well I know I don't. I kind of understand Ellis because he brought up a point: When you make a shitload of money, you are tempted to spend a shitload of money. So I believe him when he says he's having monetary issues. But that is his own damn fault!! I don't feel bad for anyone who lives beyond their means, because it is of their own stupidity if they have problems (Ellis bought a Jaguar right after he signed with Tampa)