I love — absolutely love — that we live in a world where mascots of professional football teams have contract disputes. Apparently the long-time Minnesota Vikings mascot Ragnar was just let go from the team after 20 years of being their Norse Raider in the flesh at home games. At yesterday’s home game, fans started noticing the absence of Joe Juranitch, the man affectionately known to Vikings fans as Ragnar. Turns out he was at home watching the game:
Wait. It gets better. According to Star Tribute reporter Michael Rand, the Vikings then released the following statement explaining that his contract had expired:
This offseason, Joe Juranitch’s (Ragnar) contract with the Vikings expired. Since then the team has had multiple conversations with Joe but has not been able to reach an agreement on his role with the team moving forward. The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades. We intend to honor his 21 seasons on the field during a 2015 Vikings home game and we will welcome him to future ceremonial events. We will always consider Ragnar an important part of Vikings history.
Wait. It gets EVEN BETTER. Apparently Ragnar was asking HUGE money from the team — $20,000 over the next 10 years. For eight home games, that’s a guaranteed $160,000 annually, plus the possibility of playoff games. That’s some good coin for only having to work four hours on eight Sundays in the fall.
A person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press that Ragnar asked for $20,000 per game over the next 10 years. That would be $1.6 million for eight regular-season home games per season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team does not publicly discuss contract negotiations.
Dude, there’s no doubt Ragnar represents the spirit of the vikings. BUTTTTT… the frugal, mean-spirited capitalist in me says… “dude, you’re just a mascot.”
There’s a great lesson in business negotiation here. Kinda sounds like he screwed himself over by implying to his employers in the Vikings front office he was irreplaceable just because he was loved. They balked at the price tag, did some soul searching, and ultimately decided that — at the end of the day — he’s still just a mascot. My point? You’re probably not worth what you think you’re worth. Be levelheaded and have some perspective, Bros.
Greed got the best of him. Now he’s stuck not being Ragnar. He’s literally just another common Joe.