People like to think that athletes own them something. Whether it’s a good performance, giving back to the community, participating in meaningless games, or playing the game the “right way” whatever that means.
I’ve always felt that athletes don’t owe the fans that much. The player is there for himself and not for the fans. It is the player’s career and not the fans career. When the player doesn’t do what the fans want, then the player gets labeled “selfish” or “jerk”.
Christian McCaffrey is or will find this out in the next few days because he has decided to take himself off the football team. The Stanford Cardinal are preparing to play in the Sun Bowl against the North Carolina Tar Heels and they will be preparing without McCaffrey.
Christian McCaffrey is undoubtedly one of the best college football players that we have had the pleasure of watching. Taking himself out of the last college football game of the year for Stanford is something that will lead to discussion about whether McCaffrey should be able to do it.
By choosing to opt out of his final game with Stanford, Christian McCaffrey is choosing to do nothing different than what many college coaches do to their universities. Tom Herman leaves for Texas before the Houston bowl game. Willie Taggart leaves before South Florida’s bowl game for greener pastures. To me, there is no difference between what coaches do all the time and what Christian McCaffrey has decided to do.
The amount of gain for McCaffrey is what?
The amount of things that could be lost?
Christian McCaffrey is a player who has dealt with injuries. The next tackle of his knee, ankle, or even a concussion could cost him his career or possibly lower his draft status. There is absolutely no reason to take the risk.
McCaffrey is doing what is in his best interest. He’s the one with the NFL career on the horizon. The fans don’t have that career staring them in the face, so to label him as selfish is flat out wrong. Everybody that has a career is always looking out for the next best job, the higher paying job. Why should college football players be held to a different standard?
The players shouldn’t be held to any different standard when it comes to looking out for their own well being.
The players should have the same right to look out for themselves that everybody else has with their chosen career. McCaffrey is well aware that a running backs life is limited and the more wear and tear on his legs the shorter amount of time he may have at the professional level. He needs to be able to make the most out of his professional opportunity and to maximize the amount of money he can earn.
Maximizing professional opportunities and earning potential? What? Who does that?
The other player doing the same thing as Christian McCaffrey is Leonard Fournette of LSU. He also announced that he is forfeiting his last game in the Citrus Bowl to he can keep rehabbing his ankle injury. There is nothing a Citrus Bowl or Sun Bowl can do for either one of these players.
For all the fans or media that will start the war chant of how this will diminish the bowls because all these players will start sitting out. Child please. We are talking about a fraction, a small fraction, of players doing this. The bowl system will survive just fine. The bowl system will not collapse upon itself because a few players choose to do something that anybody else in their position would possibly do as well.
McCaffrey’s teammates understand his plight probably better than anything because if Christian’s teammates were in the same position they would do the exact same thing.
“The whole team supports him in everything and anything. He’s been a leader to this team through the easy times and tough times.” Fellow teammate Trenton Irwin said on Monday.
In the end, Christian McCaffrey made a decision based on a simple cost-benefit analysis and what could lead him to a significantly secure financial future. The decision probably was a tough one to make, but for him it was the correct decision.