As Free Agents Redding, Others Don’t Deserve Abuse for Changing Teams

Earlier this week, Cory Redding signed on with the Indianapolis Colts and he caught a lot of grief from Ravens fans for making the switch.  The same fans who rooted for him through his years in Baltimore now found themselves railing against him for making the same kind of decision that brought him to the team in the first place.  We as fans view our teams as an emotional investments, but for players they are a financial investment, trying to make as much money as they can in the 10-15 years that they have to earn income as professional athletes.

Now, I have heard all the excuses about players “deserving” whatever they receive from fans because they aren’t properly loyal, but frankly that argument doesn’t hold any water, no matter how much money these athletes make.

Take a moment to think about what you do for a living.  You have probably worked there for anywhere between 1 and 20 years.  Maybe you feel some loyalty to them because they offered you your first job or they have promoted you and appreciated your work over the years.  A competitor has just offered to double your salary but you have to move across the country.  You go to your boss and not only can he or she not double your salary he or she can’t even increase it by more than a token amount.  The competitor is also willing to commit to employ you for more years.  What do you do?  You aren’t a multimillionaire, just an average Joe.  Chances are you make the move, especially if you don’t have any tie to the area you live in now (Redding for instance is from Houston, TX).

But these athletes are millionaires, you say.  Once you have a certain amount of money, even in a precarious job like a professional athlete, you should be satisfied and not ask any more.  Exactly how much would that be?  If you made $2M a year what exactly would make you turn down $3M (or any increase for that matter)?  How much money would you have to make a year for you to allow random strangers to tell you to stay in that job no matter how much more you could make elsewhere?

It is often said that the NFL is a business though fans tend to only apply that part to teams, which are given carte blanche to cut any players they want as long as the team gets better.  But when a player looks out for his own well-being it is seen as a betrayal.  A company’s job is to improve the bottom line, and an employee’s job is to do his best and be rewarded for it.  My father worked for the same company for over 20 years while he turned down better opportunities elsewhere due to loyalty to the company.  They let him go a few years before he was going to retire.  Countless of employees have lost their jobs during this recession after staying committed to their companies.  Why should the employers receive our applause while they look out for #1 while the employees are ridiculed for doing the same?

Cory Redding, Ben Grubbs, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski, Jarret Johnson, and others should be given our warm thanks and best wishes as they continue their careers in other uniforms.  We can root for our teams without demanding that our fandoms take priority over the livelihoods of other individuals, no matter how wealthy we might think they are.

8 Comments

  1. Jay Matthews

    March 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Agreed 100%, Wes. If the Ravens thought he were too old/otherwise expendable, they’d have cut him in a heartbeat, so loyalty is a weak excuse when there’s so much money involved. The only criticism that might apply is this: perhaps Redding should’ve taken the high road and ignored the twitter trash rather than bother responding. Easier said than done, I’m sure, but there’s little sense trying to placate the lowest common denominator.

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    March 18, 2012 at 6:56 am

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  3. 9inchnail

    March 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Look, we are fans. We love them when they are here and abhor them when they are with someone else. F them. We stopped cheering Robby when he left, stopped cheering Murray, Dempsey, Bert Jones, Boller, Rex and Johhny U. All of them. Cory Redding, JJ, Nokahoma, Grubbs and Zybisco can all kiss my you know what!

  4. spy

    March 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I do not have a problem with them leaving,,,,,,,,,I wouldn’t want Harbaugh to be my coach either,,,,,,,,,,it seems if they get the chance they bolt , I wonder if the coach does have something to do with it ,,,,,any other thoughts here ?

    • CurlyC

      March 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      I wonder if they asked Harbs if he used that timeout yet on the way out the door?

      • spy

        March 20, 2012 at 10:20 am

        Good one,,,,,,,,,,

    • mystery man

      March 20, 2012 at 11:45 am

      I agree with spy , I guess players do get tired of being in the doghouse. They also get tired of being treated like college boys , these players are men Harbaugh , you better wake up before the team turns on you , you have been lucky so far.

  5. Mark

    March 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I love how some fans just assume these players were even offered a deal from the team that they left.

    For all we know, the Ravens told Redding they werne’t interested in signing him and to pursue other offers.

    And even if that’s not the case, these guys are FREE agents. They sign wherever they please.

    What if Redding decided to hold off on signing with Indy in hopes the Ravens came back with an offer and the Ravens didn’t. The Colts most likely would’ve moved on and that deal Redding could’ve had would’ve been gone.

    I’m as emotional as anyone when it comes to watching my teams on the field.

    But it ends there. This is a business and these guys are their own people. It’s ridiculous how some fans can’t see that.

    Great article.