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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

NFL Holdouts: When Cashing in Costs...

Summer time has given me ample opportunities to neglect not only this site, but a host of important responsibilities that have taken a back seat to watching the Olympics, drinking beer and planning for my radio show (tonight, 6-9pm click here to listen).
Sports is a business of calculated performances and intricate interpersonal dynamics. There's no 'I' in team, but there are two in winning (and one in paid). This is an apt prelude to the paradox of sport and the NFL in particular: Where the team rides shotgun to the personal interests of its constituents.

More frequently we see displays from players that affirm the notion that commitment to the team is as superficial as the numbers on their chests. Fans deserve to be cognizant of the tactics numerous NFL players have used to quell the impact of their selfish demands. Inexplicably players have tried defending their position by biting the hand that feeds, ostensibly denouncing the role they play in their own contractual decisions (be it un-retiring, demanding re-negotiation, holding out, whining in the media, etc).

When a player like Brett Favre spins out the claims of being cold shouldered from the employer that he screwed over you can't help but laugh at the irony. He'll pine repeatedly about the level of disrespect which he felt was at odds with the Packers Family ideals. But it was never about the family, it was all about the individual.

Many others feel so entitled to more money that they shaft their family/team and skip training camp to make their point. The use of this shameful tactic has been employed by several hold-outs (Bills LT Jason Peters, Rams Steven Jackson, Eagles Brian Westbrook to name just a few). They argue (rather, their agents and GM's argue) about comparative market value over time, current marginal value, clauses for financial incentives, performance benchmarks and any number of variables that convolute the situation. Their stance is strictly business, but as soon as the athletes name is on the bottom line, it was never about money. Back to family time with barefoot sprints after practice and tender jaunts with your QB.

Allegiances in NFL are eroding faster than the credibility of the Tour de France. Most rationalize the decline by highlighting the fickle nature of NFL contracts and the troubling lack of guaranteed money. Whatever the reason the purpose is clear: in spite of previously agreed upon terms and legally binding contractual commitment, some players still hold their personal demands above that of the team.

Is that the kind of player you want to go into battle with? Does an entire unit deserve to be held hostage by a single player who has essentially changed their mind? No, because being a team player and gaining respect from your peers is all about what you give, not get. Its about sacrificeing yourself for the betterment of the team. What part of holding out suggests they are willing to sacrifice anything other than a 5th Jaguar or a 3rd home?

If you're under contract, show up and be a team member instead of a player. Perhaps your willingness to conduct yourself as a professional and act appropriately under the terms of your contract will reflect positively when you are schedualed to re-negotiate a deal.

Thanks for stopping by and subscribe or die. Cheers, Derek.

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