Here is a dumb thing!

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Tireless ESPN football reporter Adam Schefter has new information on the ongoing negotiations between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers over the rights to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which is interesting enough as this sort of thing goes. The teams, Schefter reports, have essentially agreed on a deal. Now all that’s left is for Kaepernick to give up millions and millions of dollars to which he’s legally obligated.

The thing is—I said this was dumb—Schefter never quite says this. He writes that “the quarterback and the Broncos still have to agree on a restructured contract,” that the two sides are talking about their “contractual differences” (i.e., Kaepernick wanting money he’s owed and the Broncos not wanting to have to pay it to him) and that the real issue here “is whether the Broncos and Kaepernick can work out a restructured deal.” After noting that Kaepernick is owed $11.9 million, and that this counts as $15.9 million on his employer’s books due to arcane NFL accounting practices, he writes, “The Broncos want a much friendlier cap number and contract.” (Friendlier to whom?) A reader unfamiliar with the NFL would have no way to understand that “restructuring” is a euphemism for Kaepernick giving up millions of dollars he’s owed.

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The purpose of euphemisms is to obscure reality, which in this case is that a team worth billions is functionally asking a player to pay millions of dollars to play for them, and that this both makes sense because of arcane accounting practices meant to ensure safe profits for team owners and serves as an example of the incredible fact that contracts in the country’s most popular sports league are basically fictitious. Why would a football reporter want to obscure this?

[ESPN]

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