Football and Loyalty

Lavezzi to PSG for 31 million!

Watching your favorite football players head to another team (sometimes a team you don’t care for), can almost ruin your summer. Football fans feel an intense passion for their teams so it is understandable that these divorces are more than just a little painful. I don’t know what it’s like to be a professional athlete but as I read the latest updates on the summer transfer window I can’t help but notice the ridiculous amounts of money being thrown around.

The world revolves around money so its obvious that anyone given the opportunity to make more money will go for it. I can’t say that I fault them but I have reached my limit of what I can deem acceptable. I grew up in Chicago during the Michael Jordan years and I can’t ever recall a moment when someone discussed the possibility that he would be sold to any other team. It was an unwritten rule that was respected by players across the board. How much money does one person actually need?

If you are paid three million dollars a year plus all the benefits and perks of being a star athlete at some point what motivates you? Do you actually love the game? Do you feel any amount of love or loyalty to the city you play for? I am willing to bet that at a certain level how much of a difference in your daily life is there between three million and nine million. I can do the math I get that, but once you’ve bought the cars, the houses, the boats, the jewellery, the gifts for your family and friends when you wake up is there a voice that tells you, ‘this coffee isn’t good enough with the three million in the bank, it will only be good with 10 million dollars?’ When you go to the restaurant and they don’t even ask you to pay because you play for the team they love what changes with more money?

Everyone has the right to make sure they are well taken care of after they retire but I feel like you can retire more than fine after a few years at three million a year. And that’s not including the extras. I know I seem naive in my thinking but I have been to some of the planets poorest places and at this point all the justifications about more money for people who already make more than enough. It’s offensive really.

However, in the rare occasion that a football player decides to stay with a team even though he could make more money elsewhere, when he professes loyalty to a city and the fans I don’t think so much about the money because the loyalty makes everything else more palpable.

When players talk about the desire to win and nothing else it makes the sport more enjoyable to watch. It really is that simple. You get paid millions, your fans want to know that you are trying to win at all costs and that you feel a sense of loyalty to the colors you play for. Because if the fans stopped paying to watch the games, stopped buying the merchandise and stopped going to the games then the super-salaries would disappear.

Until then it would be comforting to see more players stay with a team because they realize how fortunate they are and they actually care about the people that care about them.

On a side note: I can’t wait to see how PSG does this season with all the money they’ve spent.

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