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General Discussion: Why do we do it?

I have to admit, contracts for players are simply ridiculous. Paying $63 million, over seven years, voids simplistic priority. It even begs the question why CEO's, who get ripped for their outrageous payouts over a 30-year career, are thought of as demons but ball players being paid $28 million for a single season are thought of as heroes. I work for a local Ohio government serving the youth in the Dayton metropolitan area. Of all the people that spend 10-14 hours every day, it doesn't even compare to any player that's paid the minimum. It's the sick reality of what we've come to accept. Heck, we even complain why a certain superstar isn't paid more compared to the league he plays in.

Even players like Justin Smith, after signing a one-year franchise deal worth $8.644 million, can't take the time to personally address the media saying:

"I'm fired up and ready," Smith said in a press release. "I'm glad we got this done. It's time to get back with my teammates, get in some good offseason work, and make this a great season for the Bengals."

After personally seeing the hours and self sacrifice people put forth to better the lives of kids every day, for barely enough compensation to pay rent in a low-income housing development, it tends to turn me into a malcontent when seeing players hold out for more money. It fires me up when billionaires lock out millionaires because the percentage of the payroll makes both sides unhappy. It fires me up when the spoiled babies of Major League Baseball spend more effort to back slime balls like Don Fehr, that they completely fail to comprehend the struggles of everyone that spend a large portion of their paycheck just to watch them play.

So I ask, why do we do it?

Why do went spend so much money on season tickets and licensing fees, hip new style jerseys and $6 beers when our credit soars through the roof and the only audible noise from C-SPAN is a squealing pig not happy with the level of water saturation in his mud pit? I spend hours and hours discussing issues related to the Bengals -- mostly for free. My friends, while struggling to finance a life of their own, spend hard earned money on season tickets instead of a comprehensive retirement plan or even enough money to budget for $3 gas prices.

We cheer for guys like Eric Milton who has won as many games in 2007 as I have. Or guys like Chris Henry who get off lightly with the added benefit of tremendous compensation that would take us 5-10 years to earn -- hopefully. Or guys like Alan Iverson, making $17,184,375, while bursting into an apartment with a gun looking for his wife (initially charged with four felonies and five misdemeanors) and spends zero days in jail while complaining about the "rough life" he was forced to live. Cry me a river Alan, we really don't care.

It's why fans, like you and I, throw our arms up in the air when a player demands more money. It's why fans, like you and I, would rather let the sport go than to constantly hear second-rate players ask for contracts that spits milk through our noses (see baseball).

Why do we do it?

When it was about the game, players didn't worry as much about wear and tear. They didn't worry about wearing out their arm or, god forbid, an injury. They played the game during their related season with off-season jobs. It was clearly a different time and we're a different core of fans. We spend time during the off-season, like a bunch of GM armchair Madden-fanatics, thinking of ways to improve the team and making the salary cap more efficient. And honestly, we love doing it. It gives us an intellectual feeling we believe that surpasses the team's own brass of highly paid administrators. It's our feeling of empowerment.

Why do we do it?

Honestly, it's a nice relief for simple folk like you and I. The recreation pulls us from a mundane reality that we welcome. Listening to the Reds on the radio during my long journey from Dayton to Cincinnati is a highlight of my evening. It's even a great date idea. I think we realistically believe that "it is what it is" and mostly accept that. Why shouldn't we? The Bengals and the Reds bring us joy. We don't care how or where the money is spent provided a winner is put on the field.

So for general discussion, why do we do it?