WASHINGTON — There is a major misconception in sports and Dallas Cowboys receiver Brice Butler is trying to set the story straight: players do not get free tickets to games. Not home games, not away games, nor Pro Bowls or Super Bowls.
Butler tweeted as much today, receiving affirmation from players around the league, including Redskins pass rusher Junior Galette and former general manager Scot McCloughan’s wife, Jessica:
Some fans tried to insist that this cannot be true, claiming that there is no way that Tom Brady has to pay for Gisele Bundchen to attend a Patriots game. But Butler didn’t back down:
So what is a player to do? For home games, it’s easy to talk to someone in the ticket office that can sell tickets to players at cost. For away games, it gets a little trickier. There is usually an away team family section, but those tickets are limited, particularly if a player has a large group of family and friends.
That’s when things get tricky.
In 2012, late in his career, former Redskins linebacker London Fletcher traveled to Cleveland to face the Browns for the first time. It was a homecoming for the Iron Man, who grew up in Cleveland and played college at Division III John Carroll University.
Fletcher’s friends and family turned out in force for the game, which eventually caused trouble. Via NFL.com:
Nita Ashford, a relative of Fletcher’s, told WEWS-TV that her family members were attacked by some Browns fans after Sunday’s 38-21 Redskins victory. According to the family, Cleveland police used Tasers during the melee, and three of Fletcher’s family members were arrested. Evette Robinson, Fletcher’s 57-year-old aunt, also suffered a heart attack during the skirmish and was taken to a hospital. Her condition was unknown.
To avoid this situation occurring, players who can afford it generally buy suites for friends and family to relax in style. So don’t worry about Gisele sitting out in the cold during December in Foxboro.
But not everyone can afford suites, or any tickets at all.
The situation gets legitimately awkward for young players who make the NFL minimum salary but want to accommodate friends and family. Nothing in the NFL is guaranteed (especially tickets) so this might be the only chance to play in front of friends and family. But asking friends and family to pick up the tab when you play in the NFL is awkward.
That’s why rookies playing in a first game or in front of a hometown crowd get that deer-in-the-lights look when reporters ask if they’re buying tickets for friends and family. That looks means, “not if I can help it.” That’s a great question to end a locker room interview.
Also on Butler’s thread, Atlanta hip-hop artist Lecrae revealed that rappers also don’t get free tickets to shows:
So if professional athletes don’t get tickets to games they play in and rappers don’t get tickets to shows they perform in, then truly nothing in life is free.