A08 Definition Essay Revised – Tikeena Sturdivant

Adrian Peterson referring to himself as a “40 million dollar slave” indicates that he doesn’t have a clear understanding of slavery. Slaves lived a shackled life; they did not have the freedom to do what they wanted. Their life was dedicated to serving someone else, who was also known as their “master.” They made a little bit of money if any at all; that decision was not up to them. The life of a slave was extreme, it can not be compared to anyone how has not really experienced such treatment. Adrian Peterson’s comment was very ignorant, however, he has a point.

Adrian Peterson agreed that he misused the word “slave”, he realized that he could have used a better choice of words. Many people have been offended by his comment, however, no one is actually trying to see what helped him come to this conclusion. He did not mean to offend anyone, he was expressing his frustrations about the NFL. Can Adrian Peterson say he was shackled by the NFL? Yes, he works hard to make the team owners money. He gets paid but not as much as the owners, the owners get paid because of the players. 70% of the players in the NFL are black but 100% of the owners are white. Were    all “masters” white? Yes. Were there a few white slaves? Yes, maybe 30% of them. People are quick to bring up the fact that a slave wouldn’t make close to twenty dollars let alone a million dollars. I think that’s something that Adrian Peterson know as well, which means that money wasn’t the problem. Moreover, even that can be analyzed. These team owners are rich, whereas we cant say the same about football players when they are the ones that’s working hard. Are they working hard for themselves who to make a white man rich? Slaves were “drafted” to work for a white man to make him wealthy or simply rich, sounds like a NFL player to me.

Some slave traders would host a slave auction to sell the slaves. This would consist of the slaves being naked in front of a crowd full of white people while the slave traders tell all of their good attributes. Although NFL players are not naked they go through the same thing called the combine. In comparison to the NFL team owners, slave owners wanted the slaves that were “fit for the job.” They were chose based on their intelligence, physical strength, skills, and state of health. Slaves did not mind lacking in some of these areas because it would mean they would not be brought. NFL players on the other hand, work hard to get “auctioned” to a team at the combine. Slaves and NFL players are chosen based on the same attributes. Can a player pick the team he wants to play for? Can a slave pick the “master” they wants to work for? The answer to both of these questions are no, the choice is not theirs.

Being a slave meant working from sunup to sundown with no breaks at all. Adrian Peterson expressed how much football players had to practice throughout the week, which made him feel like a slave. Slaves worked on a plantation and NFL players work on the field. Slaves might not have to do drills, run plays, and exercise; however, they worked none stop I’m sure they would be as tired as a football player. Neither slaves of NFL players cant eat when they want to if their job is not complete. A NFL player cant stop practice when he gets hungry and a slave can’t walk off the plantation when he/she is hungry. However, while NFL players have to watch what they eat to stay in shape slaves have to hope for a meal. They were never guaranteed food throughout the day, if they received food it was just slop. Slaves were taken away from their families just like football players are taken away from their families when they go on the road to play games. Once slaves were taken from their families they would never be able to see them again, whereas football players are only away from there families for about 2 days a week. However, I’m sure the feeling of being separated from their families are the same.

Slaves did not have a choice. It was either “work for the white man or die.”  NFL players had a choice it was to play for the team that wants them or not play at all. Although there may be many teams who wants this one football player, its almost like the player is auctioned to the team that offers more. Just like slaves were sold to the “master” that wanted to pay the most for them. They were being sold or “drafted” to work hard for someone else and not get paid as much as them.

Instead of criticizing Adrian Peterson’s comment people should actually analyze his reasoning and not just judge him for his comment. When I read Adrian Peterson’s comment I thought it was A little extreme but once I did my research I could see where the connection between a NFL player and a slave can be made. “I regret using those words because obviously there is nothing, absolutely nothing that you can compare to slavery,” Adrian Peterson said himself. He admits that his comment He knew he could of explained how he felt using different words but he didn’t, however, he apologized for it. I’m glad Adrian Peterson thought about what he said and owned up to his mistakes.

Works Cited


Slavery in America

History of Slavery

Life of A Slave

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3 Responses to A08 Definition Essay Revised – Tikeena Sturdivant

  1. sturdi36 says:

    i would appreciate feedback on my definition essay.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Tikeena! First let’s go one paragraph at a time; then I’ll make some general comments as well.

    P1. Several grammar errors here must be fixed. Some just seem sloppy; others may be true errors. Either way, they shouldn’t make it into your posts.
    —that’s he doesn’t have a clear understanding (sloppy?)
    —known as their “master”. (Fails for Rule 7. See Grammar Basics.)
    —if any at all, that decision (Comma splice)
    —slave was extremely, I don’t know (?)
    —anyone can compare their life (Fails for Rule 4.)
    —Adrian Peterson comment (sloppy?)

    P1. You identify a clear definition dilemma here, Tikeena, which is wonderful. Peterson defines himself as a slave, a clearly provocative statement that challenges our understanding of slavery. You make your position clear: he’s misusing the term. You don’t address the possibility that he might just mean to be metaphorical though. He thinks of himself as shackled by the NFL, which dictates his terms of service? He serves his masters, who by and large are rich white men who own teams? Granted his money’s better, but you might be falling into his trap by offering him metaphorical parallels he can accept as support for his observation.

    P2. I’m not sure I see the value of this second paragraph, Tikeena. It doesn’t contribute much to the definition of a slave. It certainly doesn’t need to contain the observations about not “working the babies,” or how the mother trained her baby by example. That’s very far from your central premise.

    P3. I see that you’re determined to share more details about the lives of slaves, and I guess your choice is reasonable and obvious, Tikeena, but I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s almost as if a movie character said, “I’m king of the world,” and you devoted several paragraphs to the history of kings as evidence that he wasn’t one. You’d be correct, but the proof is unnecessary. If you wanted to say Peterson’s comparison is insulting to the memory of slaves who were shipped from Africa in unspeakable conditions, that combination of value judgment with historical fact would suit your purpose more than stating the facts alone.

    P4. You can’t possibly mean “get rid of the slaves.” Awful as it is to acknowledge, they were a valuable commodity, not something to be rid of. Several grammar errors of note need fixing.
    —would consist . . . tell all (verb tenses)
    —They were brought (sloppy?)
    —Slaves did not mind lacking some of these areas because they were most likely to be chosen. (Logic sounds backwards.)
    —are the ones who were treated (verb tenses)
    —horrible (part of speech)

    OVERALL NOTE: Try to get at the comparison Peterson is making, Tikeena. You don’t have to accept it, but ignoring it makes your presentation weak. Most players are “drafted” out of college. They don’t field offers from several interested teams and choose where they want to work like workers in most other fields. They’re told who they’ll play for. They don’t stand naked in a public square, but they are subjected to very thorough physical exams that can’t involve a lot of clothing. And their rights are bought based on intelligence, physical strength, skills, and health. There are parallels, don’t you think? When their contracts with one team end, they’re traded, or their rights are sold. Teams want to “get something for them” instead of “letting them go for nothing.” Eventually, if they stay healthy long enough, they may be “granted free agency.” How does that not sound like emancipation? Do you see what I mean? Instead of the slave history, examine closely the definitional claim that’s being made and whether it has any value. Obviously he’s not claiming to have come over on a slave ship.

    P5. Backwards logic: I’m sure most slaves would prefer having an education, the slave owners want their slave or slaves to “out smart them.”

    P6. Three grammar errors in this one sentence alone, Tikeena. Do you see them? “No human being should be treated worst then an animal, that’s ridiculous!”

    I have no idea what this means: “Some slaves tried to sip their nap and try cleaning but were caught and beating”

    This paragraph offers you a good chance to use irony to contrast the daily life of a slave with the daily life of a pro football player if you want to, Tikeena. Your one brief expression of disappointment for Peterson’s comment is as close as you’ve come to a value judgment of his comment. If you can continue to express how insulting and disrespectful his comments were without letting emotion take over your argument, you’ll benefit from the direct engagement in the topic.

    P7. What’s the point of making a general comparison between slaves and “us,” Tikeena? Don’t you mean: Unlike Adrian Peterson, slaves were not given any choices? But again, the richer comparison is to try to find the smaller way in which Peterson is denied choices rather than pretend he’s utterly free. He can’t strike a deal with a team he wants to play for in the town he likes, for the coach he prefers until he becomes a free agent. Is he a free agent? You can’t truly examine his comments until you know his situation.

    P7. I agree real slavery exists, even in the United States, but why is that comment here? Lose the sentences about kids belonging to their parents too. The opinions of other people are also irrelevant.

    P8. We might need to hear more of Peterson’s remarks in their original context to be convinced that you’re representing him fairly, Tikeena. Did he say he felt like a slave because players lost money in a profit-sharing negotiation? You make it sound as if he did. You come closer here than anywhere to comparing Peterson’s actual life experience to a slave’s, and it works fairly well. Leaving the industry isn’t real freedom, of course. Most workers who don’t like their boss can change companies; they don’t have to make the “work for me or leave the field” choice. Again, to be fair, did he complain about working hard? Did he say working hard made him feel like a slave? You make it sound as if he did. Direct quotation might answer that question too.

    Your Works Cited needs to show more bibliographic detail, Tikeena. Ally Hodgson’s is a beautiful example of a typical bibliographic entry combined with a link to the online source. Be sure to adopt this method for your rewrite DUE TUE MAR 27.

    Will this help you do a better essay, Tikeena? I recognize it will require work, but do you see why the results will be worth it?

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