Double standard in sports

Draymond Green

Double standard in sports
February 24
14:10 2021

There is an obvious double standard in sports that is rarely spoken about. It seems when a player wants to leave a team for any reason, there is major blowback from the team, analysts, and especially the fans. But when a team wants to release or trade a player, it’s just part of the business.

That double standard has been a part of sports for as long as I’ve been a fan. Free agency and large contracts have contributed to movement of players across all leagues. I am not sure why more players have not spoken out about this, but I was elated to see Golden State Warriors’ forward, Draymond Green, speak about it during a press conference last week.

Green has never been one to hold his tongue on any subject. He called out NBA teams for their treatment of players after the Cleveland Cavaliers chose to bench Andre Drummond as they find a place to trade the All-Star center.

“I would like to talk about something that’s really bothering me, and it’s the treatment of players in this league,” he said in his postgame press conference. “To watch Andre Drummond, before the game sit on the sidelines, then go to the back and to come out in street clothes because a team is going to trade him, it’s (expletive).”

Green continued to speak candidly about his feelings on the topic and expressed his displeasure with the double standard he sees throughout the NBA. It was reported the Detroit Pistons were seeking a trade or buyout for forward Blake Griffin and would not plan to play him until the team figures out what to do. The Cavs plan to do something similar with Drummond as well.

“Because when James Harden asked for a trade and essentially dogged it … no one’s going to fight back that James was dogging it his last days in Houston,” said Green. “But he was castrated for wanting to go to a different team and everybody destroyed that man, and yet a team can come out and say, ‘Oh, we want to trade a guy,’ and then that guy has to go sit and if he doesn’t stay professional, then he’s a cancer and he’s not good in someone’s locker room, and he’s the issue.”

I understand professional sports is a business; however, why is it OK for a team to want to move a player, but when it’s the player who initiates the parting of ways, it becomes headline news in a negative way.

“At some point, as players, we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights that the team can have,” Green continued. “Because as a player, you’re the worst person in the world when you want a different situation. But a team can say they’re trading you. And that man is to stay in shape, he is to stay professional. And if not, his career is on the line. At some point, this league has to protect the players from embarrassment like that.”

I find it hilarious that if a player in the NBA expresses his desire to leave a team publicly, he can be subject to a fine from the league.  On the other hand, a team can shop a player however they please.  Yes, I know, the team has the rights of a player when they are under contract, but that doesn’t give a team the right to act with carte blanche.

“We talk all of this stuff about ‘you can’t do this,’ ‘you can’t say that publicly,’ ‘if you say that publicly you’re fined,’” he said. “Anthony Davis got fined I think $100,000 or something like that for demanding a trade publicly, but you can say ‘Andre Drummond is getting traded’ publicly, and ‘we’re looking to trade him’ publicly and he’s to stay professional and just deal with it? Then when Kyrie Irving says, ‘my mental health is off,’ everyone goes crazy about that too. Do you not think that affects someone mentally? As much as we put into this game, to be great, to come out here and be in shape, to produce for fans every single night and most importantly, to help your team win, do you not think that doesn’t affect someone mentally?”

And it’s not just the NBA where you hear about situations like this. Recently, Houston Texans’ quarterback, Deshaun Watson, expressed his desire to be traded. The team traded away his best weapon and friend and seems to be in a downward spiral. He was ripped apart by the media and fans. This is precisely what Green was referring to as the double standard. After all, the players make the leagues what they are, but they are still treated as bratty children when they speak their minds.

“As players, we’re told, ‘No, you can’t say that, you can’t say this.’  But teams can?” Green went on to say. “It goes along the same lines of when everyone wants to say ‘ah man, that young guy can’t figure it out,’ but no one wants to say the organization can’t figure it out. At some point the players must be respected in these situations, and it’s ridiculous and I’m sick of seeing it.”

I applaud Green for taking such a stance when many others have stayed silent. It’s true that teams can virtually do as they wish when it comes to a player being traded, released, or benched; however, that same player is fined for not playing or for saying he wants to be traded. Many times, those players are looked at as the bad guys and the teams they play for come off as the victims, which always blows my mind.

I know there are fans out there that look at professional athletes as overpaid babies when a player publicly says anything about wanting to leave his team. A team can say and do whatever they want for the most part and the public says something like,‘the team is just making a good business move.’ Why is it understandable for a team to want to move on from a player, but not understandable for a player to want to move on from the team? Fans get mad at the millionaires, but not at the billionaires. I’ve always been confused on why that is.

I was glad to see many NBA players coming to defend Green’s comments. Of course, there are always people who will disagree and in this case Hall of Fame player, Charles Barkley, was one of them.

“I think Draymond has to really be careful,” Barkley said on “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “All that stuff is cute when you’re winning. But when you’re in last place, it’s annoying.

“I think Draymond’s got to start learning you can say what you want to when you’re the champs and you’re in first place. But when you’re in last place, you become the guy who becomes annoying.”

Green could not be more off-base by his comments. It doesn’t matter what place your team is in, to speak out about an issue like this that can affect any and every player in the league. Barkley was basically saying if you’re not on a winning team, you can’t speak about issues in the league. That kind of thinking is almost as bad as those who say players should just ‘shut up and dribble.’  

The players from the other leagues should follow suit in their respective sports. It’s only fair that the playing field becomes a little more even when it comes to trades, so the double standard is not so blatant. I normally don’t agree with Green, but on this topic, he is 100 percent right in my book.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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