Due to a labor dispute, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. That's right, I was holding out for more money. Okay that's not true, but it seems to be a common occurrence these days in the world of sports. Following a lockout filled summer (one big contract dispute), there's been individual contract disputes with some players. Probably the most publicized contract dispute, currently going on in the NFL, is Chris Johnson's. Personally, I've never been a fan of contract disputes. I think my perception of them has always been that they only happen out of greed. These guys make millions of dollars. Why do they need to holdout for more money?
But then there's the current situation with Frank Gore. He wants a contract extension before the start of the season. Instead of viewing a potential contract extension as a reward for being one of the best RBs in franchise history, I've read comments from fans saying it that would be a bad business decision. Since he's not likely to produce at a high level for more than two years, they feel that the Niners should just let him walk at the end of the year. It's just business.
Just business? Those fans may say it's just business now, but what if Gore had a contract dispute three or four years ago? Would it have been just business then as well? Last year, Vincent Jackson's holdout lasted long into the season. Was that just business? Or what if Chris Johnson's holdout leads to him missing games this year? Would that be considered just business? Or is it just business because Gore is on the back end of his career?
It seems like fans have contradictory opinions on contract disputes. If a player is in their prime, people may question their loyalty to the team or think they're greedy. But if a player is past their prime, then it's just business. In reality, contract negotiations either involve loyalty or they don't. It's irrelevant where a player is at in their career.
Now this isn't to say that loyalty should trump business entirely. Teams shouldn't hand out ridiculous contracts just to keep a player. But if someone looks at the Gore situation and the idea of loyalty doesn't enter the conversation, then it shouldn't when Chris Johnson or any other players holds out for money. If you expect the players to show loyalty to their teams, then you should expect the teams to reciprocate that loyalty. But if you don't get mad when teams treat the players in a business manner, then you can't get mad when the players do the same. You either expect loyalty or you don't. You either view it as "just business" or you don't.
But you can't expect the owners to treat the players like a business and expect loyalty in return.