I was absolutely disgusted to wake up this morning to a column by Steve Simmons in the Toronto Sun that calls for John Tavares to "pull a John Elway, an Eli Manning or an Eric Lindros. And find a way to get out of playing for the Islanders."
Click here to read the article yourself before I rant.....
Now, whether you are an Islanders fan or just a sports fan, this is absolute garbage. For a writer to suggest that a top prospect look for a way to get out of being drafted by the team that rightfully deserves him is ridiculous on so many different levels. The fact that players are able to wiggle out of playing for a certain team is a major problem in sports and it is certainly not a move that should be encouraged by a columnist (despite where his rooting interests may lie).
But let me placate Mr. Simmons and answer a question posed in his article...
If you think about it, why would anyone with dreams and aspirations of greatness want to play for the Isles?
If John Tavares has dreams and aspirations of greatness, he would be chomping at the bit to take on the challenge of revitalizing a franchise like the Islanders. If he has aspirations of greatness, he would want to be the focal point of a franchise and have it built around him. If he has dreams and aspirations of greatness, he would seize the opportunity to bring pride back to Long Island and make one of the greatest dynasties of all time a contender once more. I can assure you that anyone with dreams and aspirations of greatness would dream of the chance to carry his team from the depths of despair to the pinnacle of greatness. No team gives Tavares that opportunity like the Islanders do and if he has dreams and aspirations of greatness, he would be perfect for the Islanders and the Islanders would be perfect for him.
But dreams and aspirations aside, should a player simply be able to weasel his way out of playing for the team that wins the lottery? Reality has shown us, of course, that this is in fact possible. But no one with any sense of integrity could possibly consider refusing to play for the team that drafts them. It is an honor to be drafted into the National Hockey League and nobody is above that honor to the point where they can say that they'd rather play for somebody else.
New Yorkers, of course, have been on the other side of this debate with the Eli Manning situation. Giants fans were obviously thrilled to be able to steal Eli from the Chargers, whom he and his daddy both refused to be associated with. Of course, for the Giants it worked out great. But I knew at that moment, that I would never have the same respect for Eli Manning. Both Eli and his daddy thought that they were too good for San Diego. But to me that really says that they weren't good enough to take on the challenge of turning that franchise around. The Chargers wound up with a kid named Philip Rivers who has been one heck of a quarterback and has elevated the team to a level that they had failed to reach for years. While a Superbowl may still be a few years off for Rivers, I know that I will personally be applauding when the Chargers, led by Philip Rivers, are able to hoist that trophy.
Now, hopefully that will not be the case with John Tavares and the New York Islanders. I personally don't expect Tavares to pull a Manning, but rather that Simmons' article is just a stunt to draw a few more readers up in Leaf Town. Either way, it is despicable for any player to refuse to join the team that draft's them and it is even more disgusting to see this type of action proposed by a columnist.
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