Is Trading Fair

In professional sports, trading is part of the game. Players are traded for other players, draft picks, and sometimes just for money. Many times the players ask to be traded due to a poor relationship with teammates or coaching staff; however, occasionally the organization will simply make the decision and ship off the player without very much notice at all.

Mankin blocks for quarterback Tom Brady

Mankin blocks for quarterback Tom Brady

When organizations decide to trade players without asking the opinion of the team, they are acting in their own self-interest. A great example of this is when Logan Mankins was traded from the Patriots this past year. The Washington Post wrote and article about Tom Brady’s reactions and said “Brady had a very emotional reaction when he heard about the trade, and said he was not happy with this move”. This shows that the Patriots organization made the decision to trade Mankin without the support of the team. Although they are doing well this season, I think the team should have some say in the fate of their friends and teammates. Michael Smith discusses the trade in this short video.

Former teammate, MIlan Lucic, levels Boychuk

Former teammate, MIlan Lucic, levels Boychuk

The same situation occurred this past year with the Boston Bruins. The Boston Globe said, “Johnny Boychuk, a 6-year superstar defenseman for the Bruins, was traded to the New York Islanders for two second round picks”. I have grown up as a Boston Bruins fan and was devastated when I heard he was leaving. When I did some further reading, I found that Johnny did not want to leave Boston, and his teammates did not want him to go. Chiarelli said, “This is a tough trade, we all like Johnny. This was really hard to do, but there’s an element of business to it, an element of hockey”. I don’t think trading a player who wanted to stay on his team is hockey. I don’t think business has anything to do with hockey. Hockey is playing the game because you love the game; it has nothing to do with money and salaries.

I think these two trades show that the organizations in charge of professional teams make the decisions based on their own interest without considering the pain the player and his family/friends will go through. In Leviathan Thomas Hobbes says, “if there be no power erected, or not great enough for our security; every man will, and may lawfully rely on his own strength”. What he means by this is that men act in their own self-interest just as the organizations in professional sports do. Man will do what they need to do for themselves regardless of pain they may cause others. Hobbes goes on to say that the only way to work together is to “to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men, that may reduce all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one will”. This means that the group of people will elect a Sovereign to make the choices for the good of the entire group. This is exactly what happens in professional sports. The organization and owners of the teams are the Sovereign and will make decisions for the good of the program. They don’t care what everyone on the team thinks; they only care about what will make the team better.

Do you think it is fair for the organizations to have all that power?

One thought on “Is Trading Fair

  1. From a business standpoint, it is not up to the players whether or not they get traded unless they request it, or they have a no-trade clause in their contract. In Johnny Boychuk’s case, the Bruins have a stacked team with a lot of high paid players. The Bruins were having trouble staying under the salary cap and had to move Boychuk in order to free up cap space, and later sign Reilly Smith and Torey Krug. Although trades often hurt players and their families, they can be necessary considering how much money affects teams’ decisions. When the players are getting paid upwards of several million dollars per year, the teams forking over all that money should have the right to move their players. The existence of no-trade clauses is a way to avoid this, but only certain players can actually get this done. When millions of dollars in fines are on the line, or when a team needs a certain player right now, trades are necessary and the teams have the right to decide who gets traded. Last year the Red Wings were in the race for a playoff spot and were plagued with injuries. They needed veteran center so they traded a young winger (Patrick Eaves) and a draft pick for the veteran center David Legwand. Eaves did not want to be traded, but the Wings needed a center to help them get to the playoffs, which results in millions of dollars in profits for the organization. When so much money is on the line, the players who get paid a lot of money all ready should not have a say in who gets traded where.


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