Money-hungry mercenaries? Or just typical Gen-Y workers?

mds1970 Roar Guru

By mds1970, mds1970 is a Roar Guru

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    Sonny Bill Williams could be unstoppable at the Rio Olympics. (AP Photo/SNPA, John Cowpland)

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    Once upon a time, there were employees who had a job for life. Starting at 15, working for the one company for 50 years before retiring with a gold watch.

    And on the weekend, their sporting heroes would play one game for one club through their sporting careers.

    Loyalty was given. Loyalty was expected back.

    But those days are long gone.

    Increasingly, today’s sports stars are travelling players for hire.

    When Sonny Bill Williams walked out on the Bulldogs, he embarked on a nomadic odyssey through French rugby, various Super Rugby franchises and the boxing ring. He’s now back in rugby league with the Roosters on a handshake deal he already regrets before he’ll leave again.

    Israel Folau played two years at the Storm, two at the Broncos, then had two years playing AFL at GWS Giants. After his contract negotiations to play NRL for Parramatta took too long and became mired in difficulties, he’s on a short-term contract to play rugby for the Waratahs.

    In cricket, there’s big coin on offer to play the world T20 franchise circuit; with players going to the highest bidder.

    Quade Cooper blasted the toxic culture in rugby and did a runner.

    Kurt Tippett put a release clause in a separate AFL contract at Adelaide, and put a high price on his head to ensure he would be drafted by the Swans. And the list goes on.

    “Disloyal mercenaries” comes the call from the fans. “Money grabbers. What about loyalty?”

    But what about loyalty? There’s precious little of it from clubs. Loyal one-club players get de-listed by their clubs, or offered as trade bait. Forced to take pay cuts so a big name player can be squeezed into the salary cap. Can be shown the door on a whim.

    But what of the fans themselves in their own working lives?

    The days of a job for life are long gone. Workers receive no loyalty from their employers any more.

    Employees can be made redundant on a whim, forced out in a merger or constructively dismissed. Forced into casual contracts.

    Workers are expendable, their jobs could disappear at any time. A loyal employee, through no fault of their own, can get thrown onto the unemployment scrap-heap at any time without warning.

    And the workers know it. Increasingly, especially among the younger workers, the Generation-Ys; the workers will show as much loyalty as they expect to receive. None.

    The length of employment periods is getting shorter. Workers float from job to job, industry to industry. Chasing the dollars, chasing the opportunities, broadening the experience horizons.

    Modern-day workers, especially the Gen-Y workers, know the system. They play it to their advantage. Loyalty is for losers in the modern-day workforce. It’s all about what you can get out of an employer before moving on to the next one.

    That’s modern life. In business and sport.

    The likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Folau may be written off by some as money-hungry mercenaries. But really, are they nothing more than typical Generation-Y employees?

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • December 5th 2012 @ 11:39am
      Matt F said | December 5th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      It’s professionalism. It’s easy to talk about how players back in the old days rarely switched clubs but how many of them were offered such exorbinant amounts of money to do so? If the kind of money that’s available today was on offer to the players of the 50’s, 60’s 70’s 80’s and earlier I doubt that the level of loyalty would be much higher than it is today

      • Roar Guru

        December 5th 2012 @ 12:11pm
        mds1970 said | December 5th 2012 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        In those days rugby union was an amateur sport. There were plenty of players over the years who defected from union to league chasing coin. One thing that has changed in the last 15 years is the ability to go the other way. The likes of Mat Rogers, Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri did that; although all three ended up going back to rugby league.
        In AFL, there was the sensational defection of Ron Barassi from Melbourne to Carlton in 1965. At the time, there was outrage that a player could be so disloyal to a club. But Melbourne showed precious litle loyalty just a few months later when they sacked Norm Smith.

        • December 5th 2012 @ 12:24pm
          Matt F said | December 5th 2012 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          Very true. If Folau decides to come back to the NRL next year many of the fans currently baying for his blood will be welcoming him back with open arms (just like they were a month ago when he left the AFL.) Not all of them will but many will

    • December 5th 2012 @ 11:53am
      oikee said | December 5th 2012 @ 11:53am | ! Report

      What has to be acheived is getting rid of these mercenaries and most of the problem arises with rugby league. It may take a few years for the game to settle into a nice rhythm now the code has a good cash balance.
      The point now is to set the standard. They only become mercenaries if you allow them to be. This is why the shut the gate program will be vital.
      The amount of juniors coming into the game of rugby league is becoming enormous. And we need to keep focusing on this area.
      I was only reading today that 1 in 10 roughly, yes 1 in 10 juniors at the under 20 level will make the NRL.
      That is very small amount. Higher wages for these kids will stop this exodus which has been happening.
      Education, and players careers ending earlier are 2 more areas that need to be looked at, so making your cash early in your career will be the factor to stop this rot happening.

      It will happen, it happens now in the NFL. When rugby league starts introducing big money for young players, the long term goals will become less and less, so worrying about another code wont even be a thought, never lone a option.

      Look, things are changing and fast. I agree, Gen y wants and needs are for fast money. Rugby league and the structure and athlete ability and the ease for players to learn and thrive will drive league to the pinnicle of world sport. Like the NFL has in a larger country like America.

      All along i have said the only thing holding league back is money.
      The NRL is now the most even run comp in Australia, this will soon attract some pretty big foriegn investers who are lurking at the gates as we speak.

    • December 5th 2012 @ 12:20pm
      Australian Rules said | December 5th 2012 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      This article goes to the heart of the issue better than most.

      Especially this truism:
      “But what about loyalty? There’s precious little of it from clubs. Loyal one-club players get de-listed by their clubs, or offered as trade bait.”

      Take the silly emotion out of it – people should be able to maximise their earnings when they can. Most of us would do the same.

    • Roar Guru

      December 5th 2012 @ 1:10pm
      Dogs Of War said | December 5th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      I think its just the realisation that sporting careers are short, and with most of these sports now providing an opportunity financially to be setup for life, unlike say 20 years ago where really it may have just set you up for a career after your time in the game was done (which is why you didn’t leave a sport to persue another).

      The only problem in this situation was that Folau’s manager didn’t communicate via the press very well what options were on the table. I have no problems with the NRL’s approach in ensuring that Parra only got Falou if they abided by the rule that every other club had to. Parra on the other hand showed that they really have some major problems in there front office, heralding Falou coming to the club when it wasn’t over the line yet, and there reaction after they missed the opportunity to sign him discrediting Falou, rather than taking the blame themselves so that no bridges were burnt, especially given that they would be in a much better position to sign him next year financially, and that Falou only signed a 1 year deal (they could have waited for all the facts to come out).

    • December 5th 2012 @ 1:16pm
      Ballymore said | December 5th 2012 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      What is forgotten is that while sportsmen make more money than most of of the general population, their careers are infinitely shorter, maybe 1/5 of the general population. Most have no skills, and are one (1) bad tackle away from being forgotten. I have no problem with sportsmen chasing the highest dollar, but I do have a problem when they lie and claim it isn’t the case.

      • December 5th 2012 @ 1:49pm
        steve b said | December 5th 2012 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        Amen to that !

    • December 5th 2012 @ 2:05pm
      Doghouse said | December 5th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

      Its professional sport with a short span of earning. I’m an accountant and will go where the conditions and prospects are better (incl money).

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