Is There a Point Where Fans Should Stop Rooting for the Uniform Due to Players?

Matt CullenAnalyst IApril 1, 2009

IRVING, TX - DECEMBER 20:  Dallas Cowboys fan, Cary Watson of Fort Worth and a 17-year season ticket holder ,waits to enter Texas Stadium before the last home game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 20, 2008 in Irving, Texas. The Cowboys are playing their final regular season home game before moving to a new stadium in Arlington, Texas next season.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The thing about sports, as pure as they are, at the professional level it is a business. In an era of free agency, players and management alike do not care nearly as much as the fans when it comes to who wears what uniform (On more of a personal level) and less great players stick with their teams that they became largely prominent on.

John Smoltz is now on the Red Sox, Brian Dawkins is a Bronco, Markus Naslund is on the Rangers, and Elton Brand—when healthy—suits up for the 76ers.

I've always tried to make a point not to get too attached to the athletes themselves and stick with my favorite teams. Whether its my favorite player retiring (Scott Stevens), signing with another team (David Cone), or gets traded in a youth movement (Jason Kidd). There will always be players to capture your heart.

But what if it is the opposite? What if it were players that your team has faced within the division that you rooted against for years or if it is a guy that you just despise? How much could you take?

The first time the question was raised to me was in eighth grade. Midway through the Baseball season the New York Yankees acquired Armando Benitez from the New York Mets, planning to use him to set-up Mariano Rivera.

I was visiting family in New Jersey and the move sparked much debate. Benitez is known by Yankee fans for giving up the controversial home-run caught by Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier in the 1996 ALCS, drilling Tino Martinez to start a huge brawl in June of the 1998 season, and facing the Yankees in the 2000 Subway Series.

For me it was a no-contest, if he could contribute I really didn't care who he hit in 1998. Benitez didn't get much of chance to prove himself as a Yankee though, who got traded to the Seattle Mariners after just nine games.

If someone plays hard though and makes contributions then I have always welcomed him to my team. Stick with the teams through thick and thin and give everyone a chance that puts on the uniform.

There may be an exception if this certain player finds himself on my team. He doesn't play for a division rival, he hasn't had legal trouble, he hasn't been kicked off multiple teams for being a clubhouse cancer, he hasn't ever even played against my favorite team!

Five hours ago, I was on Bleacher Report, where I saw that Senior Write Sayre Bedinger wrote that Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen issued a formal statement that thet would be looking once again to trade.

I found myself surprised that the situation wasn't going to be worked but my attention quickly shifted towards hoping that Jay Cutler would get traded to a bad team. Fellow member Christopher Rock mentioned the possibility of a possible swap of QBs between the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos (Tony Romo for Jay Cutler).

In a related story, I threw up in the nearest trash can in my kitchen.

It's not ridiculous to think of at all. Think of it like this: You're the Denver Broncos. You are looking to shop a very young and talented QB, this QB has three years left on his contract so there is no need to feel forced into accepting a low-ball offer, and you just signed Renaldo Hill and 35 year old Brian Dawkins to improve a weak defense.

Clearly you are not interested in rebuilding with the moves you have made in the offseason, so you are looking to get a really good QB in return. There are three possible scenarios I see:

1. Philadelphia Eagles: McNabb once again upset over not acquiring talent at the WR position and let Brian Dawkins goes while Philly remains way under the cap and the possibility of course that he is still upset that Andy Reid benched him against the Baltimore Ravens.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: Who knows, obviously Josh McDaniels wanted Matt Cassel. Is there a possibility he gets moved once again this time for Cutler.

3. Dallas Cowboys: The Dallas Cowboys desperately trying to win right now and have a starting QB who is also talented but is perceived by some to be a choker and the team has underachieved for the past couple years with him running the show. Cutler has a cannon for an arm and is a little bit younger.

What do you do when it's a player you despise for stuff that has nothing to do with your teams head to matchups. I would have been all for signing Pedro Martinez for fewer years after the 2004 W.S.

I sure don't get mad at Joba Chamberlain for throwing at Kevin Youkilis so Pedro really shouldn't be held to a different standard where he can't be forgiven. But how do I root for a guy that I really do despise.

Not to mention he is the starting QB, arguably the most important position in the game. Fans will throw their entire teams under the bus in efforts to defend their QB. How can I now tolerate a man whom I have wished for failure for during the last couple of weeks?

Hopefully, Cutler goes somewhere else and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

At some point though can disdain for a player become to powerful to root for him no matter what? Unfortunately, I may just find that out sooner rather than later.


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