Silly me. I heard the title and thought it was about NFL players and wondered who was going to play Kansas City running back Larry Johnson (he was still employed by K.C. as I wrote this) or exiled NFL cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.
After all, other than the food service workers chronicled by investigative writer Eric Schlosser in his best-selling 2002 tome Fast Food Nation, what laborers are more expendable than highly compensated NFL players?
For starters, just like cleaning crews in slaughterhouses or teenaged burger flippers at ubiquitous fast-food joints, NFL players' jobs aren't guaranteed by a contract like athletes in other pro sports. Their careers on average are shorter than athletes in the other sports by more than half, tapping out at just over three years. A starter goes down and a backup replaces him in the blink of a commercial break.
But this is a lesson too many NFL players either never learn or too quickly forget. Larry Johnson, who wouldn't be playing Sunday even if his team was, is merely the latest example. What a dunce. Johnson was suspended by his team last week for one game for uttering one slur against gays and tweeting another slur within a 24-hour period.
This was from a guy who last year was arrested twice for mistreatment of women and has been arrested for the same two other times in the past six years. This was from a guy who last year was sentenced to probation. This was from a guy who last season was deactivated for one game for violating a team rule.
Johnson's agent Peter Schaffer told The Kansas City Star late Saturday night that that Johnson and the Chiefs had agreed in principle that Johnson would suffer a two-week suspension but be paid for one of those weeks. The original suspension would have cost Johnson more than $600,000. Now he will lose roughly half of that.
Two questions about Johnson's future remained unanswered, however: Will Kansas City elect to maintain his services and will the league commissioner Roger Goodell impose a further penalty?
I will be surprised if the answer to the first question is affirmative and the answer to the second question is negative. After all, neither Kansas City nor the NFL needs a lout like Larry Johnson.
The team has won one game all year with him. Johnson has only been a difference in adding more embarrassment to the franchise.
The league has Adrian Peterson and other running back stars who say the right things when they open their mouths and keep their names off of police blotters.
This is what former Kansas City coach Marty Schottenheimer told Sirius NFL Radio last week about the impact of Johnson's behavior on his continued employment in the NFL: "Let me ask you this, of the other 31 teams in the National Football League, who in the world is going to bring him into their locker room? Whether they're losing, or certainly they won't if they're winning. But, to me, the guy doesn't have the skill level to warrant the kind of BS that they're putting up with out there and I would not be surprised to see them run him right out of town."
It sounded trite when Michael Vick said upon his humble return to the league that playing professional football is a privilege and not a right. But he was closer to correct than not, despite the fact that being a pro football player is a job earned as fairly as any other.
After the 100,000 high school seniors are whittled down to 9,000 college players, and only 310 of those are invited to the NFL scouting combine from which NFL teams build their rosters, there isn't a whole lot that separates most NFL players from others at their same position. Idiocy, however, jumps out.
To be sure, see how many cornerbacks on any given Sunday can't cover most wide receivers one-on-one. Then remember that Pacman Jones is just 26, and in his return to the league after a one-year suspension, was able in at least one game to lead the Cowboys in tackles and force a fumble. Had he not thumbed his nose at a chance this year to play in Canada by stating some NFL team would be dying to sign him, he'd probably be back in the NFL after the Canadian Football League season concluded at November's end.
But Pacman too is a dunce. As 49ers coach Mike Singletary would say: "Cannot play with 'em. Cannot win with 'em. Cannot coach with 'em. Can't do it."
And we as fans couldn't care less either. The Cowboys' games are still selling out without Pacman, and their colors and logo are still among the best selling in the league. The only people who haven't forgotten Pacman are the people injured in that Las Vegas strip club melee he was involved in.
Likewise, the only people who won't forget Larry Johnson during what could be -- and should be -- a long and lasting absence from the NFL for him are those he's injured.