Is Kam Chancellor selfish for holding out? Hell no he’s not. The question to ask is what he’s done that should give us cause to call him selfish, and the answer is that he’s not done a damn thing. In fact, it’s because he hasn’t done anything that people are upset with him. But, though we might like him to, he has no actual obligation to play. Nor is it selfish for him to decide not to play. For it to be selfish would imply that he’s withholding something which he owes other people. It would imply that he has an obligation which he isn’t meeting, but that’s not the case. Like anyone else, it’s his prerogative to control his own labor and the conditions under which he labors. Bearing this in mind, the contract which he’s sitting out on does nothing more than describe the conditions under which he would play, if he chooses to. Since he’s decided he doesn’t like the conditions, he’s decided not to play, and that’s fine. He won’t get paid, and that’s fine too. If the Seahawks think his labor is important enough to the team they’ll meet his demands. If they don’t, he won’t play football for them anymore, and that is also fine.
As a fan I’m obviously not happy about this. We’re going into week one without the big guy back there at strong safety, and that’s scary. He’s exciting and damn good at the game of football. But, I also recognize that it’s a business for these guys, and for that reason I have to shake my head at photos like this, where someone wearing a Kam Chancellor jersey has papered over his name so as to spell ‘childish.’ What’s childish is the implied demand that he behave according to our wishes, so that we have better prospects for our entertainment.
Yes, he only recently signed a new contract, and yes he is already paid millions of dollars, but in a league where there are scant few guarantees, what do those facts actually matter? It’s easy enough for us fans on the sidelines to talk about how he should honor his contract, or how he should have negotiated a better deal in the first place, but if we do so, we shouldn’t delude ourselves to thinking that loyalty is a meaningful thing in this league. Just look at what happened to Fred Jackson, who gave nine years of his life to the Bills, only to be cut without ceremony. The whole reason he ended up with the Seahawks is because he’s a canny observer of the lack of loyalty in this league, saying that he looked past the Patriots because of “how much New England turns over its roster.” Or look at the sad saga of Robert Griffin III, once one of the most promising quarterbacks out there, who has been misused and abused until he’s only a footnote. The team cares not a whit for the long term benefit of the players, no more than the players care a whit about the long term benefit of the team. It’s a league of getting what you can when you can, and if Kam thinks he can get more, not one of us is in a position to tell him he’s wrong for trying.
Anyway, go Hawks.