I realize I’m not breaking any ground here with this blog other than this is my first blog with BellyUp Sports but this was my biggest takeaway from week 4. Oh and hello, my name is Matt Serniak, but most call me Sern.

Earl Being Earl

In what will undoubtedly be Earl Thomas’s last imagine in a Seahawks jersey, the last remaining member of the Legion of Boom was carted off the field after breaking his leg. Typically, when a player is getting carted off the field, the player will throw a thumbs up to show everyone they’re still alive but not old Earl here. Earl had a different approach. Instead of letting the fans know that he’s fine and that he’ll be alright he decided to stick a different digit in the air to show a different emotion he was feeling. Choosing to go with a single bird instead of the Stone Cold double bird, was still an effective way to show everyone how he felt. Except he wasn’t miffed about his leg bone that was just shattered to pieces. Nope, he was directing his sign language to his own team, something I have personally never seen before but grateful that I was able to witness. In what can be portrayed as a very Costanza way to leave a job Earl Thomas let the Seahawks organization exactly know how he feels not about his torn up leg, but about how they have dealt with his contract.

The Holdout

Thomas has been battling with the Seahawks for more money for months. He’s in the final year of his contract and the 9 year veteran wants to be paid like the 6 time pro bowler he is. Seattle balked at that notion and Thomas held out during the preseason in fear of getting hurt(foreshadowing). He even asked the team he played for his entire career and helped bring a title to trade him to Dallas which was met by a resounding no. He ended his holdout, something I’m sure he now regrets, before the season started. Now, in week 4, he snapped his leg.

And guess what? Earl is a million% right in wanting to hold out. It’s simple calculus a certain being who eliminated half the universe once said. Players have a finite amount of time to play so maximizing every dollar they can is in their best interest. All these people who say something along the lines of “you’ve made millions of dollars playing a game how much more do you need?” or “You signed the contract, you should honor it.” or my favorite, “I’d play the game for free if I could.” No, no you wouldn’t unless you were a big idiot. If a player thinks they can get more money, why the hell not try and do everything they can to get it. If it doesn’t work out for them, that’s on them. If holding out gets them more pay, how can anyone be upset with that? Basically, if you have a problem with players holding out you’re some sort of putts who think players are only out there for the love of the game. That in my opinion makes up a small amount of why these guys play. The biggest reason is it pays really really really well to be a professional football player.

Bell, The Bad Guy

Naturally, when this occurred tons of players, writers and analysts were pro Earl, but everybody was waiting for LeVeon Bell, who looks like a shoe-in for the best holdouter of the year award, response on the situation…

Sadly, this has more with Bell believing that his continued holdout with the Steelers is even more justified because of what happened to Thomas and less to do with Bell dressing up and taking over the persona of Razor Ramon. Bell is going to continue his holdout until he can’t any more, which is week 10. But, by then the Steelers can very well be in to big a hole to come back from and they’ve made it crystal clear that they are willing to move forward without Bell. I’m cool with that too. I’m cool with a team deciding to not pay a player more and I’m also fine with a player holding out for more money. That’s the sports business and that’s how it works. It’s a battle of wills that the player typically ends up losing. But with Bell, he’s dug in and with what happened to Thomas and others, it only validates him more. If the players are ever going to get more money or even guaranteed contracts, holding out is all they could do. If they’re okay with losing $900,000+ plus a game then by all means stand your ground. If the Steelers are fine with sending James Conner out there to “act” like one of the best backs in the league, go for it. Basically, if everyone involved understands what they’re giving up, I’m all for a stare down. 

PS- And Le’Veon, remember, there is only one Bad Guy

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