Monday, March 13, 2006

Work, Contracts, and Ethics in sports

According to, the Vikings and Steve Hutchinson have put provisions into their contract that will make it extremely difficult for Seattle to match the offer. Also according to (one of my favorite sites, by the way), "the Seahawks are livid at Hutchinson and agent Tom Condon with this development. It's one thing, as they see it, for a guy to get the best offer he can on the open market. It's another thing to huddle with the new team in an effort to come up with an offer that the Seahawks can't or won't be able to match."

To which I say...WHAT?!?!?

First of all, everything that Hutchinson and the Vikings have done so far is strictly within the rules set up by the NFL system. Second of all, those rules are SO LIMITING TO THE FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL NFL PLAYERS, it is utterly ridiculous to begrudge a man for playing within the rules to exercise his own freedom.

Players have no control over who drafts them; if they want to play pro football, they have no choice over where they play (and when a player tries to exert some control over who can draft him, he is universally lambasted). Once drafted and signed, a player can be traded at any point against his will (and if the player tries to exert some will over being traded, again, he is universally lambasted). A player must play several years before becoming an unrestricted free agent, who can decide to go and play wherever he wants. However, once becoming a free agent, a team can use a Franchise or Transition tag to limit the player's ability to sign with another team.

I am fine with these restrictions. They are somewhat necessary for the competitive balance of the NFL, and therefore necessary in the long run to providing these players with more money. However, we can't deny that the NFL system provides rules that are quite restrictive to the freedom of the individual player. So why on earth would anybody be angry at a player for attempting to exert his own freedom WITHIN THE RULES OF THAT SYSTEM? If Hutchinson wants to join the Vikings, and doesn't want the Seahawks to match the offer, why on earth should we judge him for taking legal steps to assure that he can play where he wants to play?

1 comment:

  1. Brad Johnson should be the starter in 2006. He's a quality veteran who can win games with this team. I don't see a better 2006 option--Schaub would be like starting over. However, clearly the Vikes need a plan for the future. Whether that means trading for a talented young QB, or drafting one, or building one out of clay, I don't know. They must have a plan for what to do after their 36 year old quarterback can't do it anymore.