Professional athletes get paid a tremendous amount of money to play a sport for a living, not a bad gig at all. The better the athlete is, the more money they will want to play. Some players stay their entire careers with one team, while others leave for greener pastures. There are instances where players leave their team for the rival team. There are also instances where players get drafted by their hometown team and then later bolt for more mullah.
All professional athletes have to consider many things when it comes to deciding between contact offers. Some athletes will have to think about what is best for them and their families. Others will depend on the financial aspect of things, making sure they are financially set for life. Veteran players would like to stay with their team, but sometimes they feel they deserved to be paid more, and leave to a rival team who is offering more money.
In the instance where a player leaves the team they have spent the majority of their careers on for the hated rival, fans feel a certain type of way. The fans feel betrayed by a player who they have invested a lot of time into supporting over the years. The fan’s mentality is ‘how could you go play for them’? The answer to that question is quite simple: money.
The latest big contract signing in sports occurred in Major League Baseball. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees rivalry is considered by many as the top rivalry in all of sports. It is highly debatable, but you can’t argue that it doesn’t deserve a place in the conversation. With all things considered, these two teams have a storied history. The two franchises flat out hate one another. Over the years, a lot of big name players who played for the Red Sox, wound up playing for the Yankees. The biggest example and arguably one of the biggest steals in professional sports history involves a man by the name of Babe Ruth. Ever heard of him? While the latest happening isn’t a player of Ruth’s caliber, he is a sensational player in today’s game. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury left the Red Sox for the Yankees on a seven-year $153 million deal. Keep in mind that Ellsbury helped lead the Red Sox to a Word Series title last season.
There are other instances where an athlete didn’t leave for a rivaled team, but simply left for more money. For example, Albert Pujols, who is more than likely the great Cardinal of all time, left the franchise for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Pujols led St. Louis to two World Series titles during his tenure, but at the end of the day, Pujols opted to leave for the all mighty dollar.
A big example of this also occurred in the MLB, but at a time when contracts of large numbers weren’t common. In 1993, Barry Bonds became a free agent after spending quite some time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead of going back to Pittsburgh, Bonds instead left for the San Francisco Giants on a six-year $43.75 million contract. Again, money wasn’t being thrown around to athletes at that time like it is today.
It is extremely rare for athletes to take less money to play with other elite players. Most athletes will leave for more money in a heartbeat. However, there are times where that isn’t the case. Take the Miami Heat for example. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all took less money in order to align themselves with each other in hopes to win an NBA championship. Well, so far, so good for the Big Three of Miami. The trio has led the Heat to two consecutive NBA titles. The summer of 2014 will be interesting, because James can become a free agent and could essentially leave to finally get paid a max deal. Only time will tell what happens with that. James left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, who took him with the number one overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. This left many fans in Cleveland very mad at James, who instantly became the villain.
If a player evolves into a superstar, they will want more money. There are times where the team they were drafted by can’t pay the athletes what they think they deserve, thus causing a lot of players to dash for the money. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL today. He has always been a loyal, team player. In 2011, Fitzgerald signed a new eight-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals. He could have left for a better opportunity at a Super Bowl, but he chose to remain loyal to the team that drafted him.
The four major professional sports in North America are essentially a business. The players generate a great portion of the revenue and then get paid for doing so. At the end of the day, most athletes will consider the money they could be making. Some will feel that they want the most money, while others will want to remain loyal and show that it isn’t all about the money. The biggest winners in all of these contract negotiations and throwing of money are the agents. These agents shop their clients around knowing that either way they are coming out with a better pay day for not only the clients, but the agents themselves. Agents get a portion of the money that they get their clients.
For now until the rest of time, professional athletes are going to get paid. Some will get paid and obnoxious amount of money to throw a ball around or to hit a ball over a fence. When all the dust settles, is it always all about the money?