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.