You see, Chris Johnson? Do you see? This is why you don’t hold out for a better contract, you greedy asshole. For those of you who are unaware, Tennessee Titans star running back Chris Johnson, or CJ2K as he’d like to be called, missed all of training camp and the 2011 preseason because he felt he was entitled to a larger contract. He got it, but he has suffered for it, as have his fantasy owners.

Johnson didn’t record double-digit fantasy points until the fourth week of the season and found the end zone for the first time in week five. With only one score and one game with over 100 yards rushing, he’s on pace for his worst season as a pro. His holdout meant that he was not physically ready for the start of the season, and it has showed. And to think, I wasted my first pick on him. Maybe I should have known better, but I would never have guessed that he would still be struggling after five weeks.

Johnson and his enormous ego and sense of entitlement exemplify what’s wrong with professional sports. Athletes get paid exorbitant sums of money to play games, something that kids do for free simply because it’s fun.  And yet some of them, including Johnson, seem to believe that their lives are in some way difficult, that their jobs are such a burden that they deserve inflated contracts as compensation.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some athletes who have earned their contracts, and the key word there is earned. Buffalo’s Fred Jackson, for example, believes that he deserves a larger contract. But instead of holding out for it, he chose instead to prove it on the field. Five weeks later, he is one of the top rushers in the NFL, and I got him in the eighth round of my draft.
Jackson and players like him let their performance on the field speak for itself. They don’t give themselves stupid nicknames. They work hard, day in and day out, to help their team win. They earn their contracts by excelling at what they do, especially in the face of adversity. Jackson, though unhappy about his contract and the role that teammate C.J. Spiller took in the preseason, did not whine or complain. Instead he went out on the field and proved why he was the Bills’ starting running back.

Johnson has had a fantastic career thus far and probably did deserve a larger contract, but holding out was not the way to get it. Athletes that hold out seem greedy. They alienate themselves from their teammates and the fans and often hurt themselves by missing training camp and the preseason.

Players like Johnson ruin sports. They make it about money, instead of about sacrifice, fun and competition. I have no problem with athletes being paid a lot. They are entertainers, like musicians or actors, and as long as musicians and actors make a lot of money, so should athletes. But like musicians and actors, they should be paid for putting out a quality product consistently. An athlete’s performance on the field is their product, and so far, Johnson’s performance has not lived up to expectations.

That’s my rant. I commend those of you who made it all the way through, but I’m also a little concerned that you have nothing better to do. Just kidding. Mostly I’m just angry that Johnson has so thoroughly failed my fantasy team, but I also meant every word I said.


Pick up of the Week: Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants. He has three touchdowns and three games of at least 98 yards in the last three weeks. I’ve never had any faith in Eli Manning, but he likes to throw to Cruz, and Cruz seems to be able to make Manning’s terrible passes catchable.