So, a pretty crazy week in the sports world, eh?
My thoughts? Well, this does suck for Nashville that a player they drafted is walking for nothing—and since Peter Laviolette and I share the same alma mater, I do root a little bit for the Preds—but people shouldn’t be throwing dirt on Vesey for him opting to choose Free Agency. NCAA players holding out for Free Agency is becoming a more popular decision. Justin Schultz did it. Zach Hyman was going to do it until the Panthers traded him. It happens; Vesey isn’t the first, nor the last. But, it is a dumb system.
It’s a well-intentioned rule, but it needs to be fixed. That fix is simple. Teams in [this] position should be able to retain a drafted player’s rights simply by making an offer commiserate with the player’s position in the draft. Either that, or the team should be able to match any offer the player gets on the open market.
Allowing players with no NHL experience to become unrestricted free agents by their choice is simply not the best way to handle the entry-level system.
It does seem like an easy fix, doesn’t it. Unrestricted NHL Free Agency (when a player can sign with whomever he wants) rules state that “Any player whose contract has expired can declare himself an unrestricted free agent if he is at least 27 years old or has at least seven years of service as an NHL player,” and “teams losing unrestricted free agents do not receive any compensation.” So, these college free agents are not older than 27, and they haven’t played 7 years in the NHL (they haven’t even played a single game), so why are the declared Unrestricted Free Agents? Why not just Restricted? Let the team that drafted them receive compensation or allow them to match. Easy peasy.
And the NHL should make this change pretty quick. If NHL GMs start to fear they’re going to lose more and more NCAA draftees for nothing, they’re going to stop drafting players going to the NCAA. And that’s not good for anybody.
This just sucks. For everybody. For Stamkos, for the Lightning, for anyone who planned on watching the Eastern Conference Playoffs. For everyone.
Washington has been running roughshod over the East and now Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh is rolling (I got Pitt making it out of the East, with or without Stamkos on TB), so now with the Lightning taking two massive hits—losing both Stamkos and Anton Stralman to injury—the East is now even weaker than it was before.
All I hope for is that this injury doesn’t make Stamkos have sour grapes about leaving Tampa in Free Agency. You know he wants to leave Tampa on a somewhat positive note, so does this injury make him want to go back at all? I sure hope not, because the Leafs really need him.
Its ok, Steven. You can still go. TB will be fine (see: maybe fine?) without you.
I know this is basketball, and I don’t write about basketball, but I have to touch on this because I have a serious issue with how this was covered in the media.
Look, I get that locker rooms are sacred. And trust me, no one believes in the brotherhood of teammates more than I do. I know how important trust is amongst a team. But this Nick Young—the same Nick Young who was just recently accused of sexual harassment—was/is cheating on his fiancée, and it’s Russell’s immaturity that the media wants to jump on? For real?
What’s more immature? Videotaping a buddy saying some dumb $#!+ or using your misogyny as an excuse to do whatever you want when it comes to females? The guy who loses a video somehow or the guy who doesn’t respect the sanctity of his own relationship?
Yeah it’s crappy that Russel videotaped a teammate without the teammate knowing it, and yeah it’s even more crappy that the video was leaked somehow, but you know what is even more crappy? Cheating on your fiancée.
Are these players not role models to kids? Do we not jump down LeBron James thought for every poor decision he makes because he is supposed to serve as a role model to our kids? But when a guy is caught on tape, admitting to cheating on his fiancée, we want to harp on the guy who was holding the camera? Seriously?
Did D’Angelo Russell make Nick Young cheat? Did Russell make Nick Young and Jordan Clarckson make “disgustingly vulgar gestures” towards two women at an intersection? Hell, did D’Angelo Russell make Nick Young—a 30 year old—call himself Swaggy P?
Swaggy P? You’re 30 and you call yourself the prophet of swag? Really? Grow up, man. In every area of your life, grow up.
The reason everyone is trashing Russell’s behavior is because, when it comes to sports—especially male sports—his behavior is much less tolerated than being a douchebag and cheating on your significant other. How is that possible? Why do we—all of us in sports—prioritize keeping secrets in the locker room over being an actual decent person?
This happens at every single level of sports too. It’s ridiculous. I knew guys when I played Junior Hockey who thought they should be able to treat women like objects. Why? Because you can score goals? HOW DOES BEING GOOD AT A SPORT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO BE A DOUCHEBAG?
Sorry for the all-caps and sorry for this section being very rant-ish, but the mindset of athletes has to change. We shouldn’t be tolerating bad behavior at any level. We should be holding ourselves to a higher standard.
Lots of people wish to be in our shoes. There are SO many people who would give their right arm to be a professional athlete. There are even a lot of people who wish they could’ve played their sport in college. I know where I grew up, everyone wanted to play Junior. But only a select few of us get that chance. Fewer get the opportunity in college, less in the Pros. If we get to any of these levels we should feel privileged and thankful for the opportunity, yet there are a ton of guys who get there and feel entitled. Entitled to do whatever they want, on the court and off it. And that’s never going to change if we continue to punish the guy holding the cellphone instead of the one committing the act.
You know what I think is worse than D’Angelo Russell betraying the trust of a teammate? The fact that he thought what Nick Young was doing was cool.
It ain’t cool, man. It ain’t cool. We need to start expecting more from ourselves. You’re good at sports? Cool. Try being a decent person.