Friday, September 11, 2009

Defending the Indefensible...

Imagine yourself having just graduated from college. You've been offered a very lucrative job. It's been your life-long dream to work in this industry. It's what you went to college for. You are about to realize all of your dreams. The only downside is, you have to move 1,000 miles away from where you went to college and roughly 900 miles away from where you grew up. But this is your dream, so you do it. And you wind up doing it very well. Over the next 8 years, you win awards at your job. You are one of the best employees at what you do. During those 8 years, you get married, have kids and begin raising your family in your new environment. And you like it. You are living the fairy tale you always wanted to. Then, one day, out of the blue, your boss calls you into his office and tells you that you've been transferred to another branch, but this one is 3,000 miles away. You were never consulted on this. They didn't ask you if you'd be willing to go. And now, you have to go home and tell your family that either daddy is moving, or the entire family is being uprooted or you have to quit your job. Oh, and you have 5 days to move out there or forfeit your salary. You'd be pretty pissed, wouldn't you? Then why, for the love of God, is Richard Seymour being treated like garbage for having a natural human reaction? The preceding paragraph is exactly what just happened to Seymour when the Patriots traded him to the Raiders this week.

When a player gets traded from one team to another, we tend to only look at the ramifications it will have on that player or the team that traded for him or traded him away. We never take into account the human side of the equation. We only look at the teams involved in the trade, not the cities. We never think of the families. The collateral damage, if you will. When athletes sign free agent contracts, they get to take all of these things into account before signing with a team and a city. But when they are traded, most of them (the ones who don't have no-trade clauses in their contracts) just have to go. They have to leave their families behind or uproot them. And we, as fans, just take this for granted, because most of the time, the athlete does so with nary a peep. And we as fans gripe when a player like Seymour resists, because, well its his job to go....and he makes millions of dollars to do it. But those millions don't make it any easier to have to tell your wife and kids that your new office is 3,000 miles away. And there are other factors that most fans don't see or just turn a blind eye towards. Seymour is not the first athlete to resist a trade, after all.

Terrell Owens once got the NFL to void a trade on a technicality because he didn't want to play in Baltimore. Alonzo Mourning essentially held two NBA franchises hostage because he didn't want to play in Toronto. And Charles Johnson once forced the Colorado Rockies to pay him a $1 million trade fee to accept a trade from the Marlins to the Rockies. Why? Because Johnson would be forced to move from Florida (where there is no state income tax) to Colorado (where they have one of the highest state income taxes). I still consider that to be one of the shrewdest trade negotiation ploys a player has ever used. The point is, players, despite their salaries, still have some of the same worries and concerns that we do. We just tend to scoff at them because of what they do for a living and how much money they make.

Seymour was blindsided by the announcement of his trade to the Raiders. If he doesn't report to the Raiders in 5 days, he will be suspended for the season and lose over $3.6 million in salary. It's an expensive statement to make. But it appears as though it's one Seymour might be willing to make.


  1. you made some really good points. i agree, it's hard to have to go through something like this, but the fact is he gets paid a rather large sum of money each year to play a game while most other people get paid a mere fraction of that to do something much more beneficial to society. he should try living paycheck to paycheck and then see how his situation compares to what others have to go through. it's not that i don't feel sorry for him, but i really think moving to another town to live in another comfortable house without living paycheck to paycheck is not the worst thing in the world

    carlos garcia

  2. The sensitive side of Krak! I feel for much as I can feel for a Pat. But, there is something youare overlooking. We (the "Fan'). Have been somewhat conditioned by player behavior to have no tolerance for their daily life struggles. For as many players are loyal and stick with a team there are equally those who hop from team to team, city to city in pursuit of a higher salary. That type of behavior forces us to see that the almighty dollar really does rule their world. Just a slightly different angle. My favorite example of this was back in the Cowboys hayday of the 90s with Troy, Emmitt, Irving and HARPER....Harper - a SOLID 2nd to Irving thought he could be the man and sold out to Tampa for a few hundred thousand dollars more (dont research that amount...I am still a chick with no propensity for those type of details), well, he could never be "The MAN" and within short order his career tanked. But, when he made this choice...he broke some Cowboy hearts. So, you see We have become a bit callous.

  3. I have a difficult time feeling for athletes who earn millions of dollars when they are traded to a city hundreds or thousands of miles away. They know going in that moving is a part of their professions. Unlike the "civilian" who is transferred these men can fly their families in for long weekend (and in first class) as often as they wish.
    There was a time that an athlete could reasonably expect to stay with a team for most of his career. The TV special "When It Was A Game" clearly showed that it is no longer a game, it is a business and the players are not merely players thay are corporations.
    Howard G.

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  5. So apparently I was right. I was defending the indefensible. Players no longer have hearts that break when they leave a family member behind or have basic human rights. Once they sign a contract with a team, they are property of that team and they give up everything for a little extra money. Sorry, but I have a major problem with that. Money does not make everything better. If money made everything better, then rich people would not have any problems. Sometimes fans become jealous that athletes make a lot of money and that jealousy breeds contempt and a lack of sympathy for them. That's truly sad.

  6. Read this people....and remember, judge not, lest thee be judged yourself...