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Mathias Kiwanuka “Very Angry and Very Upset” with New York Giants Over Forced Pay Cut

June 18th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Dan Benton

When the New York Giants took the field for their first practice of mini-camp on Tuesday, Mathias Kiwanuka was there — filling in at both defensive end and pass-rushing linebacker. He went through the drills, smiled and joked with his teammates and acted as if he were happy to be there.

The only problem is, Kiwanuka is not happy. And had the circumstances of his personal life been any different, he would no long be a member of the New York Football Giants.

Kiwanuka, who signed a four-year, $21.75 million deal in 2012, admitted on Tuesday that he was both "very angry" and "very upset" with the Giants for forcing him into a massive pay cut this offseason — a pay cut that reduced his base salary to from $4.375 million to $1.5 million. And while he could have opted to turn down the requested cut and been released, Kiwi and his wife were expecting a baby boy in April and that was the sort of major shakeup he felt the couple and their soon-to-be son could not and should not endure.

Accordingly, the backed into a corner Kiwanuka gritted his teeth and reluctantly agreed to the salary reduction.

"If we are going to be playing on these contracts, make them contracts," Kiwanuka told The Star-Ledger. "Either that or everyone sign a one-year deal every year and we’ll do it that way. It’s not fair to be locked in somewhere and have that place say that we’ve decided not to honor the rest of the deal. I don’t think it is a contract by definition if one side can opt out of it at any point and the other has no recourse."

Despite his anger and emotion, Kiwanuka vows to not let it impact his play in 2014, even if the team once against shifts his position to linebacker — which they did on Tuesday.

"Yeah, I’m a team player, but there is a point," he said. "I don't think it's right. I think that there are plenty of situations where players out-perform their contracts and they’re bashed media-relations wise or fan-wise for asking for more money, so when two sides agree to a contract and one side decides they’re not going to live up to it, it’s disappointing.

"You want to expect that that is the deal, but you’re naive if you think that is what is going to happen. That’s the reality of the situation. That is the reality of the league. I don’t agree with it at all, but these are the rules that we agreed upon. So we could either play or watch."

Although Kiwanuka went on to admit that the NFLPA and free agency have helped level the playing field for players, it doesn't necessarily mean that things are equal between players and management. And, of course, he cites his current situation as the prime example.

On the other side of the coin, there's nothing that protects owners from players holding out for more money — it's something we see every year from rookies (ie. Jay Bromley seeking a larger signing bonus) to veterans (ie. Andre Johnson). It's a cutthroat business and business isn't fair. That's just the nature of the game.

Also…

Tags: Andre Johnson, Football, Jay Bromley, Mathias Kiwanuka, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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4 Responses to “Mathias Kiwanuka “Very Angry and Very Upset” with New York Giants Over Forced Pay Cut”

  1.  Krow says:

    He’s right … and he’s wrong. They did agree on a contract. But it was based on an expected level of performance that Kiwi has not delivered on. What the team said in essence was that we’re paying you as if you can do X … but in reality you’re doing a lot less than X.

    The NFL … unlike some (but not all) other sports pays for performance. Had Kiwi lit it up … as he led them to believe he could … then this would all be moot. Because if they cut him then someone else would be happy to take his contract. But we all know no team is giving him that kind of money because … news flash … he’s not worth it.

    This is his last year with the Giants. He will leave bitter … and probably not get picked up unless he eats the vet minimum on a ‘show me’ deal. He’s a jag, and that’s what they get paid.

  2.  GIANTT says:

    I get his point but if he feels worried that he is “only ” going to get 1.5 mill then he is not facing reality . If, after all the money he has previously received , he is counting on this money to pay his bills and to me thats kind of what it sounds like , then he needs some lessons on money management .How many of us have to labor 10 to 20 years to make the kind of money that he is disappointed to be forced to take ? Please dont give me the tired saw about short careers etc etc . How many of us would have LOVED to be in the position of having ther ability to play any sport for a family supporting salary ?

    •  Krow says:

      I don’t begrudge them the money. But to get these huge “entertainment” paydays you have to earn it. If people stop going to Nicolas Cage movies … and they should … then his income will dwindle. That’s how it works. Kiwi is not a bust … but he’s had very few memorable years … and of late very few memorable plays. Teams aren’t staying up late wondering how to stop him. Fans aren’t spinning the turnstiles to watch him in action. He’s decent … an OK player … who … at $1,500,000 … is getting about what he’s worth.

      •  Krow says:

        After a little research … and it’s not perfect … but it seems that Kiwi has made around $25,000,000 in salary/bonus. So it’s not like he’s some career sub who’s never seen any money. He’s not going to be looking for a job when his playing days are over. Well … unless he’s blown it all.

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