By Ekene Ezeh
Anthony Davis during his introductory press conference for the Lakers after demanding a trade from the Pelicans
Photo credit: Forbes
Player trades are a big part of sports. From the Hershal Walker trade in 1989, to Kobe being traded to the Lakers in 1996. Every year, fans look forward to seeing who their team has traded for. They are anxious to see how much better or worse their team has gotten, and whether or not the trade will bring them closer to a championship. But what happens to a fanbase when a star player decides to demand a trade? Athletes like Jalen Ramesy, Paul George, Anthony Davis, Antonio Brown, and others have all demanded trades and gotten their wish, which has sprung up plenty of controversy amongst the fans and the media. Is it a problem that athletes are forcing their way off teams despite being under contract? Or is it a good thing that players are taking control of their careers and making decisions that are better for their future? There are always two sides to this argument, but I believe that athletes should be allowed to demand trades.
In the NFL and the NBA, teams will trade a player at anytime. These players could be going through their daily routine or be hanging out with friends and family, just to out-of-the-blue recieve a phone call saying that they have been traded. Just like that, the players have to uproot their families, move to an entirely different city, and put their kids in a different school. This is the reality of many athletes who get traded unexpectedly. Not only are they surprised by the trade, but some of these athletes have two or three years left in their contracts. “From an athletic standpoint, I do believe that athletes should be able to request trades and things like that when it comes to being in control of their future,” says Hammond teacher Mr. Saunders. “Often times I think there is too much control in the hands of owners. Owners can violate contracts and get rid of players and move players around without forewarning for athletes.” The team will be willing to make a move to make themselves better, even at the expense of the players. So, players should also have that ability to change teams as well. If a team can trade a player who is under contract, a player should be able to demand a trade while they are under contract.
Jalen Ramsey (25) heading onto the field right before his Rams debut after demanding a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars
Photo credit: Orange County Register
Athletes tend to demand trades to set up a better situations for themselves, as they understand that they are in a business. Sometimes the situation is bad when the team struggles to win games, or because the players don’t get the contracts that they desire. A great example of both of these cases is Jalen Ramsey. Jalen Ramsey is the former cornerback of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the current cornerback of the Los Angeles Rams. After a disappointing 5-11 season in 2018, Jalen Ramesey was already unhappy with the Jaguar’s performance. Ramsey was then told in the spring by the Jaguars that he would not get a contract before the 2019 season. After that, the Jaguars started the season 0-2 and a meeting with the team’s president, Tom Coughlin, Ramsey demanded a trade from Jacksonville. Ramsey felt that being in Jacksonville was not good for his career. Ramsey was drafted by the Jaguars fifth overall and because of that, he had to play for the Jaguars and sign a four year contract with a fifth year option that the team could pick up if they choose to. So the best thing Ramsey could do was demand a trade to land a better situation. Hammond senior Janco Mangerssa agreed with this idea and said, “If you don’t like your team and you don’t feel comfortable with the team your on you should be able to go to a different team where you feel comfortable” Hammond senior Felix Lawrence echoed the same opinion stating, “If they [star athletes] are not happy in the environment that they are in then they should do what is best for their career.” But there is an argument against demanding trades.
Antonio Brown (center) at his introductory press conference after forcing a trade from the Steeers. Brown would later on be cut by Oakland for violating team rules.
Photo credit: NBC Sports
Some will argue that an athlete demanding a trade can set a bad example for the younger generation. “I feel like part of being a professional athlete is being a role model,” said Ms. Filipiak a Hammond teacher. She added, “For instance like in the Antonio Brown instance I felt like he was a horrible role model for younger people. Your a professional, you can do that stuff in the offseason and actually work as a professional in your field. But acting in a way to get yourself thrown off a team is not how life works.” Antonio Brown is a player who was unprofessional while demanding a trade. The former star receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers forced a trade off the team. He did so by skipping practice before the final game of the season and then speaking badly about people within the Pittsburgh organization. The Steelers would end up trading Brown to the Oakland Raiders where he would skip practice and attempt to fight the General Manager. The Raiders would release Brown before the start of the season. After signing with the patriots and playing one game, Brown would be released for legal issues. Brown is currently unemployed. People like Brown are why some people believe athletes should not demand trades. The way some athletes will go about handling their trades rubs people the wrong way. “ I don’t think they should be allowed to demand a trade,” Hammond teacher Mr. Chirella said, “Demanding a trade seems kind of harsh.” History teacher Ms. Lovaas added, “While I respect the individualism of players, I don’t think they should be able to demand a trade from their organizations.” She continued, “However, ultimately, if a player is choosing not to play, an organization cannot force them. So in the end I think it is in the best interest organization to trade. But I don’t like the idea of the player forcing their hand to do it.” Some people may feel that the team is in an impossible situation when a player demands a trade. Some people felt that the Thunder willingly traded forward Paul George after he demanded trade the team because they thought he would cause some problems inside the organization. But despite these points there is a counterpoint to all of this.
Blake Griffin was traded from the Clippers to the Pistons six months after he signed a 5 year 171 million dollar contract with the team. Griffin did not demand a trade.
Photo credit: Forbes
The teams don’t have to trade a player. A team can tell a player that they have a few years left on their contract and force them to play for the team. The teams in the end still have more power over the player. Another point is, if fans and media are going to criticize players for demanding trades before their contract is up, why don’t teams get the same criticism. Why don’t fans and media look at teams and ask why they violate contracts that they have agreed to with the players. NBA forward Blake Griffin signed a five year, 175 million dollar contract with the Clippers on July 19th, 2017. Griffin would then be traded to the Pistons six months later on January 29th, 2018. The Clippers decided that they would trade Griffin because they believed that making the trade would be best for their team. Since teams can trade players at anytime no matter how many years that are left on the players contract, players should have the right to demand a trade.