As Kam Chancellor continues to hold out for a new contract, he’s losing something more important than money — the support of Seahawk fans. He has to figure out a way to come back.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kam Chancellor ended his holdout and returned to the Seahawks on Wednesday. This column was posted Tuesday night at about 8:30 p.m.
Meet Allison Brown. She just bought her first house.
Closed the deal Monday after saving for 15 years.
Brown would have liked to be a homeowner sooner, but salaries for Starbucks managers have their limitations. Don’t worry, she isn’t complaining.
Brown is known to her friends as their personal Seattle sports encyclopedia. Gary Payton’s steals total? Randy Johnson’s ERA? Don James’ record in the Pac-10? Allison is all over that.
But her favorite team is the Seahawks. She loves those guys.
Well, the guys not named Kam Chancellor, at least.
“You’re making millions of dollars,” Brown said from Rookies Sports Bar & Grill in South Seattle. “Get your ass back on the field.”
Brown isn’t alone in her thinking. Mechanic Ryan Lynch, who tries to scrounge up enough cash to go to one Hawks game per year, said Chancellor was one of his favorite players before his fandom did an about-face.
He looks at a guy making more in a quarter than he does in a year and shakes his head. His friend and fellow mechanic Jesse Apodaca can’t help but join him.
“All that stuff he used to say about the 12th Man just seems fake now,” Apodaca said.
He’s right. It does. Except that Kam is hardly the only Seahawk whose mind is clearly on the money.
Like a missionary spreading the gospel, Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett seems determined to inform as many people as possible that he is underpaid. It doesn’t matter that he voluntarily signed his four-year contract in 2014 or that he will make $16 million in guaranteed money, either.
Perhaps it’s fitting that the man has been flagged for a league-leading five offsides penalties in the Hawks’ first two games. Regularly moaning about life as a 1 percenter? That’s the definition of crossing the line.
Bennett probably won’t get too many eye rolls from Bruce Irvin, though. The Seattle linebacker took to Twitter when the Seahawks neglected to pick up his $7.8 million option last May, venting his frustration with Scorsese-script language. Almost three months later, he tweeted his support for Chancellor, declaring that the Hawks’ $7 million-a-year man should get more.
Floyd Mayweather? Please. The Money Team resides right here in the 206.
It’s hard to remember a time when so many personalities from one team were so vocal about their paychecks. It’s difficult to harken back to a season when dollars so blatantly trumped sense.
This isn’t a pro-owner column arguing that NFL players deserve less. It’s a pro-fan column arguing that 12s deserve more.
There is nothing wrong with an employee, regardless of his or her profession, trying to get a bump in pay — even if the pay is already ridiculous. LeBron James earning $20 million per year is a rip-off considering that, by most estimates, he is worth about $50 million.
There is also nothing wrong with one being internally frustrated with his compensation — especially in the NFL, where bones and brains have been proven to decay at an alarming rate.
But when you are part of a union that has settled on a collective bargaining agreement, and you have put your signature on a piece of paper knowing full well what you’re getting into, complaining publicly warrants a sympathy rating of zero.
Over the years, CenturyLink Field has earned a reputation as the loudest stadium in the NFL. But guess what? The majority of fans pumping up the volume aren’t hedge-fund managers and investment bankers.
Like the aforementioned mechanics, many of the 12s are saving every penny just to attend one game, only to have a player like Chancellor sit out the first two.
So with that in mind, here are a couple of suggestions.
First, to the Hawks actually suiting up: Shhh. Money isn’t a topic open for discussion anymore. Grumbling about it would be off-putting if you were a five-time Super Bowl winner, but it’s flat-out disgusting when you’ve started the season 0-2.
Yes, the CBA may be unfair, and yes, you may be worth more than what you’re getting. But you’re also earning exponentially more than brain surgeons and world leaders to play a game. You can hold it in for the fans’ sake.
Second, to Chancellor: You have to figure out a way to return. This goes well beyond team success, too. You have alienated a fan base, embarrassed yourself and are a hashmark away from becoming an all-time Seattle outcast. Now is the time to perform a safety’s classic duty — prevent a bad situation from becoming a disaster.
Crazy what the pursuit of money can to do people, isn’t it? A year ago, Chancellor had Seattle’s adoration, his teammates’ admiration and was the heart of a team poised for years of domination.
Now, he’s on the brink of throwing that all way for a little extra dough.
Maybe Chancellor returns this season. But maybe he returns to disgruntled fans who dismiss him and a defeated team that discards him.
And that’s where the irony comes in. Because at that point, he will have earned everything he gets.