Since when did players get to decide where they were getting traded, or if they were going to be traded at all? This issue seemed to really gain traction in the NBA when, two years ago, Paul George told Indiana he was guaranteed to leave them in free agency, forcing the Pacers to trade George before he could hit the open market (though I must say the trade worked out handsomely for both sides). Then Kyrie Irving had enough of LeBron James. Then Kawhi Leonard pulled a George on the Spurs (but also refused to play). Then Jimmy Butler got fed up with the youngsters in Minnesota and blew everything up. And then the whole Anthony Davis situation happened (and it still happening?...)
The NFL is a league where trades are much rarer than in other professional sports, so this topic was not really an issue (with the exception of course of what Le’Veon Bell did this past offseason and then ensuing regular season). However, Bell’s teammate Antonio Brown has come around to change that tradition in a whole new way and it’s all because the power players have been given in this modern era of sports. It started with Brown not showing up to practice in Week 17, then promptly getting benched for the season finale. Then reports came out that he and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger were at odds. Then management took their jabs. When the dust had settled, you clearly had the Steelers on one side and Brown on the other, demanding to be traded out of a situation he definitely was not pleased with.
But surprise surprise, despite Brown being one of the top-three wide receivers in the league, his trade market appeared to be slim. Questions about his attitude and locker room presence came to the forefront, and it’s hard to blame people for asking them. What really gets my goat, though, is what went down on Thursday.
For those unaware, reports surfaced Thursday afternoon that the Bills were close to acquiring Brown. However, just hours later Brown called the trade ‘fake news’ and it was released that the trade had fallen through. Why, you may ask? Because Brown ‘did not want to be in Buffalo.’ So apparently, Brown has the power not only to not show up to practice and then bash his teammates, but also demand a trade and then tell the Steelers which team they can trade him to. Excuse me? It’s this kind of arrogance that is going to do no favors to professional sports in the coming years. Luckily the MLB has been basically immune to this crap so far, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we see this attitude transfer over to baseball (especially with the current CBA ending in 2021). When you sign a contract, you sign a contract. In pro sports the team owns the player’s rights and controls them, not the other way around.
P.S: the Steelers sure got screwed over this season, didn't they?