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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, April 12

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Fire Tue Apr 08 2008

And the 12 Thousand Dollar Man Passes it to the 2 Million Dollar Man...

With the Fire off over the past weekend, most of the discussion has been about the recent release of player salaries by the MLS Player's union. Unsurprisingly, Blanco -- as part of the same salary cap exemption that allows the league to pay for David Beckham -- accounts for about half of the team's payroll. Among the other players there some eyebrow raisers like Bakare Soumare and Patrick Nyarko making more than proven guys like Chris Rolfe, Gonzalo Segares and Dasan Robinson. There are reasons for the wonkiness, but rather than go into all the vagaries of the super-complicated MLS roster rules, I'll just say a look at those numbers gives you an idea why so many solid mid-tier American MLS players like former Fire striker Nate Jaqua are departing for not so glamorous European teams like SC Rheindor Altach of the Austrian Second Division.

And then you have the guys on the "Developmental Roster" trying to live in Chicago on $12,900 and $17,700 a year. At least they didn't end up in New York or LA on that wage. There have been success stories from the developmental ranks like Rolfe and Robinson. But "developmental" is a misnomer since these guys suit up and play for the first team. Asking people to pay to see "professional athletes" playing for sub-poverty line wages has to be an embarrassment to an entity that describes itself as Major League. Which is why the player's union publishes all these numbers in the first place.

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