Is there any loyalty left in professional sports today? Loyalty in today's four major sports isn't found very easily. Today the modern athlete doesn't care about too much other than himself.
Sports today is all about money. Players don't care about staying with the same organization unless they are paid big bucks and their team is winning. If either doesn't happen, the player will probably request to be traded, and if he isn't, you know when the contract is up, he's gone. Take Roger Clemens for example; while in Boston the management took care of him. His last contract made him the highest paid player in baseball, when it was signed. This year he left the team to go to Toronto after being with the Sox his whole carear. Where is his loyalty?
Another example of this is Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq led his team to the finals two years ago and the year after lost to one of the greatest teams ever. It looked as if this team would be one of the best in the league for years to come with O'Neal and Hardaway as their two main guns. Then his contract ran out and like everybody else in pro sports, he took a little bit more money to go to Los Angeles. Not much loyalty there.
Another thing today's pro athlete does is put himself before the team. An example of that would be John Valentin. Valentin has been the Red Sox starting shortstop the past few years and is more than adequate. He is a good hitter but only a decent fielder. At the end of the year last season, Nomar Garciaparra was brought up. Garciparra is a tremendous fielder and a pretty good hitter. He, like Valentin, plays shortstop. The management knows Nomar is the shortstop of the future. Knowing this, the organization asked Valentin to play either second or third base. Valentin was angered with the team and, because of his inability to cooperate and do what's best for the team, he will probably end up traded or see his role as a player dimminish.
Although almost everyone in sports is in it solely for money or personal glory, there are a few who still have loyalty. Ray Bourque, Ryne Sandburg, and Joe Dumars are players with loyalty to their franchise. All three players have had Hall of Fame careers and have stayed on the same team their whole carear. These aren't the only loyal players left even though they're fewer players who care about their teams.
Players today are getting greedier and greedier. As for an answer to the opening question, there isn't much loyalty left in pro sports, but for the sports purists there are still a few, but they are certainly a dying breed. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.