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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