First of all, this is a business. It's also personal, but sometimes it's "just business". There is a weird mix of loyalty, brotherhood, and integrity, with cutthroat negotiating, using people as commodities, and lots and lots of lying. There were certain things Suh did & said during this process that, while not overtly slimey or reprehensible, were still less than what you would expect from a decent person.
- Negotiations with Suh were tabled for months because he fired his agent and then dragged his feet in naming a new one - it was Mayhew said he believed Suh would sign with Roc Nation Sports in February, but actually signed with Creative Artists Agency in March and then officially signed with Roc Nation in September in conjunction with CAA.
- He opted to not show up for the offseason workouts, working out at home in Portland instead. These are "optional" and his lack of participation was pooh-poohed by the coaches, but he was the only vet who didn't show up. Also, Suh had often expressed a desire to expand his leadership role, which he wasn't going to do by staying home.
- During this period he tabled contract discussions multiple times.
- Asked during the season what his plans were for free agency, Suh dodged the questions. One time he said, "My agent will decide where I play."
In contrast, I give you Kris Bryant. Bryant killed it in the minors last year for the Cubs and is clearly ready to play with the big league club, but Chicago is planning on keeping him down there for the first 2 months of the season. This will give them an extra year of arbitration with him. I'm not really a fan of this move, but teams have been doing it for years and years. Anytime a top prospect is expected to make the jump to the bigs, I expect him to start the year in the minors and then get brought up.
Kris Bryant's agent is Scott Boras, probably the biggest name in the business. Boras has started a war of words vs. the Cubs organization, saying they don't care about winning if they don't bring Bryant up right now. When asked about this, Bryant could've copped out and taken the Ndamukong Suh route ("talk to my agent about contract stuff"), or he could do what he did (from the Buster Olney article):
But when reporters approached Bryant on Thursday, he did not play dumb, and he did not hide behind Boras. From Jesse Rogers' piece:"Scott works for me," Bryant said Wednesday morning. "He does a great job. It's nice to have a bulldog working for you rather than a poodle. He definitely sticks up for his players and wants the best for them."
Wow. Imagine if Suh had taken that angle instead of doing what he did. But then he would not be Suh. I never really LIKED Ndamukong Suh. I liked what he could do on the field. I marveled at it. But nothing ever attracted me to Suh the Person. I'm not going to lie and say I'm glad he's gone, but I'm not as disappointed as I'd be if he had half the integrity and leadership of Kris Bryant.And later in the piece:Bryant says he's trying to limit the distractions and there's nothing he wants to do more than "bring a World Series to Chicago" but the issue of him making the team keeps coming up. With Boras' involvement, it's become a national story. Bryant doesn't seem to mind.
"He's the best that's ever been in this game," Bryant stated. "He's kind of polarizing. Some guys don't like him but as a player you have to love him. He's there fighting for you every day. He wants the best for you. It's not just for him. He's a great family man. I can call him at any time of the night and ask a question. He's there to answer it. That's the type of guy you want on your side."