I’m so Sick of how We Handle Players Leaving in Free Agency

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Unless you’re totally unplugged to the NBA world, you know Gordon Hayward just signed with the Celtics. If you’ve ever read this site before, you know I am a Celtics fan and have somewhat wary about some of these win-now moves the Celtics might do. You’re also probably wondering why I hadn’t addressed it yet. Well, because it all happened on July 4th and I didn’t feel like doing anything, I decided to wait until his introductory press conference to give my thoughts on the move. And I’ll probably still do that. While I’m excited to have a player of Hayward’s caliber join the Celtics, this creates a lot of issues in the short term, the chief of which is they now have way too many players. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What forced my hand into finally talking about Gordon Hayward is the concept of loyalty.

Search #betrayward on Twitter and you’ll find hundreds of these. Judging by the reactions, you’d think Gordon Hayward just assassinated every member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. That he’s a fugitive from justice who said Joseph Smith was a crackpot. Like, what did this guy do? Oh, he just decided he wanted to work somewhere else? That’s it? I’m so sick of this stupid idea that players need to be “loyal” to their teams. So just because a team drafted you you have to spend your entire life there? It doesn’t matter if they hate it or whatever, they drafted you so you have to be miserable living there forever. Sorry, man! The teams have no loyalty to the player. Unless you’re a Kobe-level megastar, which Hayward isn’t, 99% of teams will dump you the second you’re no longer worth the investment. The entire point of free agency was to give the players some choice and control over their careers. Do people not understand that? Literally every time someone leaves a team now he becomes public enemy number one. LeBron. Durant. Wade. Ray Allen. LaMarcus Aldridge. Jason Heyward got destroyed on Twitter when he left the Cardinals. The jersey burning, the bitching online, the booing, the death threats, it’s all just so stupid. These people aren’t robots. You can’t just assume the first team they play for is their dream scenario. Unless Gordon Hayward repeatedly said something like “I’m going to run for Congress in Utah I love it so much,” why should he be forced to stay? Utah has some great national parks. You also can’t drink or do anything after like, 10 p.m. And come on, do Jazz fans really think their team has any future whatsoever in the Western Conference? Utah stinks. How are they totally blindsided by this? How were the people of Oklahoma City blindsided by the fact that a professional athlete would rather live in San Francisco than OKC? How the HELL did the people of Cleveland think it’s more appealing to live there than MIAMI? Have some self awareness, people. Your city probably stinks, your team probably stinks, and the player who dares to leave the warm embrace of your psychotic fans probably has legitimate reasons to leave. Maybe he has a brain and saw that, since 90% of the good players in the NBA are now out West, maybe going East would be a good idea? Maybe he liked his time in college better than his time in the NBA (gasp!) and wanted to recapture some of the magic with his old coach. Maybe they have friends, or family, or just want to change things up. Maybe when, the last time he was a free agent, he took note of the fact that his current team decided not to give him the fifth year and the max and decided that they clearly didn’t want him that much?

How many of you hate your job? Be it your boss, the commute, you think it’s boring, the pay isn’t right, whatever. How many of you would leave your job, if you could? You could pick the city, the company, the perfect house, everything. You could literally have your dream life, all you had to do was leave your current job. How many of you would do that? 100%? I know I would. But it’s bad when pro athletes do it because…..why exactly? They make more money than you? Well, maybe if you weren’t so invested in sports and didn’t watch or go to games then the leagues wouldn’t have all this money to give out. Because they drafted him? So no other team (besides, of course, Portland) would have wanted Kevin Durant? He was a diamond in the rough that only Oklahoma City believed in? Because they decided they had a better chance to win somewhere else? Is that not what everyone who changes companies because they can get a better position does? Are people that hypocritical? “I don’t like the team he signed with so it’s okay if I burn his jersey and tell him I’ll kill his family!” Makes sense. I know all those people in Utah don’t get to experience the outside world much so they’re probably pretty emotionally stunted, but acting like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum probably isn’t going to make Hayward regret his decision. Grow up. I’m sorry your team isn’t in Florida or California, but the world needs ditch diggers, too. Everyone, including pro athletes, has a right to decide where they work. Whining about it on Twitter isn’t going to change that anytime soon.

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