Tuesday, May 01, 2007

He'd rather be fishing

So apparently a bit of controversy surrounded the NFL Draft this past weekend in NYC. No, no one got shot outside of a club. And surprisingly no Bengals players got arrested. Instead the controversy stemmed over one of the top draft picks, Joe Thomas, who wasn’t present at Radio City Music Hall on NFL Draft Day.

Let me explain a little. Thomas, who was regarded as one of the top offensive lineman in the nation coming out of college, was projected in many mock drafts to get selected by one of the top 5 teams. Which means (for those who are not familiar with the process) he was in for a big pay day. As in a multi-million dollar pay day.

Imagine for a second that your new boss was about to hire you and make that announcement to the world. Imagine that the media was omnipresent at that event and the whole world was watching as your new boss announced that you were a new member of their organization. And imagine that you stood to make upwards of at least $20 million dollars with your new company. You’d be pretty psyched right? And you’d probably show up for your first day or “orientation” at work to have the media take your picture and bask in the glory of the announcement.

Well what if you had a previous commitment that day? Say a family obligation or a tradition you took part in every year. Would you renege on that obligation because of a big announcement to the world in which you were set to make millions of dollars with your new job?

I guess that my friends is the million dollar question! (no pun intended)

Anyway, this is exactly with Joe Thomas had to face this weekend. Instead of coming to NYC to the NFL Draft to bask in the spotlight of the announcement that the Cleveland Browns had selected him as the 3rd overall pick in the draft, Mr. Thomas stuck to his previous plans.

Which was a fishing trip.

With his dad.

Thomas not only caught a keeper, he just became about $20 million richer

Awesome stuff. I commend Joe for sticking to his original plans for that day. When the Browns came calling to tell Joe that they were considering taking him with their selection and to come to New York to Draft, Thomas said thanks, but no thanks. Which is very rare in this day and age of greed and instant gratification. Athletes more often than not will take the money over everything, including family. Most, you can argue, need the money to help support their families. Others would disown their own families now that they were rich and famous.

Granted it was very weird as an observer to see someone get selected at the top of a draft and not be present on stage to shake hands with his new bosses and hold up a jersey with the number one on it. But knowing the background story and seeing him on his boat fishing (they had a camera crew follow him that day) made me smile. Not just because it’s a great plug we can make for Field & Stream and Outdoor Life on the popularity of fishing. But because here was a guy who got it.

Tradition won over notoriety.

You can argue both sides of the equation. You could say that he was disrespectful to his new organization by not showing up for the “first day” on the job. You can say that as a professional athlete he has an obligation to represent his new team on its biggest stage. And partly, you would be correct. However it’s hard to argue with someone selecting time with their family in an annual tradition, which happens far too rarely in this world of crackberries and PDAs. Plus don’t you think some of the players there rather had been somewhere else on Saturday? Don’t believe me? Just ask Brady Quinn.

You think Brady Quinn would have rather been fishing than being subjected to hours of sitting there watching team after team pass him by?

1 comment:

neil from the uk said...

screw that...my ass would be in new york for $20 million...the fish can wait!