Take this job and pay me!
What if we all did it?
What if on Monday morning, we trotted into the boss’ office and followed the lead of some of the sports world’s biggest stars?
Employee: You know what Skip? I’m just not feeling it.
Smith: Feeling what?
Employee: I’m just not feeling the love here. I mean, I’ve had a great year. I’ve produced some serious numbers for you, but I’m being neglected here. I mean, what’s in it for me?
Smith: Are you serious? Didn’t I just give you a raise last month?
Employee: Of course you did, but now I hear Johnson over there is making more coin than me. More than ME! Ð Your No. 1 employee. Look, I’ll make it simple for you: I ain’t playing unless you start paying. I’m holding out for more clout Ð and make mine green.
Any doubt that you and I would be filing for unemployment within the hour?
So why do our sports stars get away with it?
On Friday, it was reported that Jason Kidd is demanding a trade out of New Jersey. Of course this is after he was signed to a six-year, $103-million deal last summer AND after the Nets fired coach Byron Scott, who had just led them to the franchise’s first Ð and second Ð NBA Finals, in favor of their star point guard, who just didn’t seem to feel Byron.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Kidd said after Scott got the hook. “Coaching changes happen all the time. I’m a player here. I’m an employee. I have no control over who’s the coach or what trades are made.”
So, why such a demand now?
Of course we saw such strong-arming on a much larger scale earlier this month, when the L.A. Lakers weren’t willing to call Kobe Bryant’s bluff of signing with another team. Instead, owner Dr. Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak cleaned out the Hollywood mansion, the home of three-straight NBA championships from 2000-02.
Laker fans will no doubt wake up one morning next January realizing just what the L.A. brass has done Ð shipped out the most dominant player in NBA history by trading Shaquille O’Neal to Miami, and forcing the coach with second-most championships in NBA history out the door by giving Phil Jackson his walking papers.
SoCal is about to find out just how huge Kobe’s upside really is Ð that is, of course, if he’s not serving a sentence for his pending sexual assault charges.
Even closer to home, Charles Woodson let it be known that he’s not in any hurry to head into Raider camp, this despite the fact then Pro Bowl cornerback is under contract to be paid $8.8 million this season. Contracts, though, don’t seem to be worth the paper they’re printed on when it comes to star athletes.
Just think if I were to bail on an obligation I had agreed to years ago Ð something, perhaps, like paying off a student loan. Do you think the bank would be willing to renegotiate simply because all of the sudden I believe I deserve a sweeter deal?
That’s what Julian Peterson wants from the 49ers.
The third-year linebacker obviously is a coveted commodity in San Francisco, as the franchise has offered him a six-year, $37.8 million deal (the largest in 49er history), along with a $15.5 million signing bonus.
Can you believe Peterson calls that chump change?
He’s reportedly looking for what’s now known as “Payton Manning” money.
The Colts’ quarterback, who shared the 2003 NFL MVP award with Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair, is the highest paid player in the league.
Someone, somewhere at sometime has convinced Peterson that he deserves a pay day like Peyton Ð 7 years, $98 million with a record $34.5 million signing bonus. For the time being, though, he’s a no show at Niners camp and he has no contract.
What do you think the over-under is on how long it will take the 49ers to give in and give him what he wants? If they won’t, remember, someone else will.
Let’s just say we shouldn’t expect to run into him down at the unemployment office anytime soon.
Brian Hamilton is sports editor at The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4292.
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