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How Michael Thomas’ contract situation brings out the selfishness in all of us

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Don’t blame Michael Thomas for going after what know he deserves.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

We’re all selfish about the things we watch grow along beside us. Our families, animals, and careers are all perfect examples. But there are two specific categories that I’m not sure is paid the deserved amount of attention to: Our favorite athletes and entertainers.

There’s just a certain type of selfish energy that we can sometimes exude as passionate people, specifically with our athletes and entertainers that differentiates itself from the rest of our allegiances.

The Theory

Our loyalty can be tested in so many ways within entertainment as a whole. With almost an unlimited supply of options on hand daily and the difficultly of staying consistent in today’s world of shifty attention spans, staying loyal to one entity isn’t as popular as it used to be. But for those of us that hold it down, there’s a beautiful hell that we’ve all experienced that simply comes down to possession.

There’s a level of entitlement that comes with being a die-hard fan of anything I must admit. For every hour and dollar spent, accompanies the feeling of an investment, and those we watch from the bottom entrap us the most. Think of that one comedian you remember being on low-end TV specials. Ten minutes at a time. We would give anything to see them get their first hour-long exclusive special or their first movie. What about that musical artist you remember once unsigned and considered underground. You’d give up your soul to watch them perform at Madison Square Garden, or to have a major label knocking at their door.

We root so hard, don’t we? Laboring with friends, family, and randoms almost forcing them to listen to how great this subject is. Marketing their work sometimes more than their promoter does, hoping that one day, they get the respect they deserve, and “hit it big”.

For our athletes it’s the same thing, we watch them sometimes through high-school and college, or at the latest, making their respective professional league entrances. As they grind through growing pains and look to make their mark in the league, we’re right there carrying that flag of first day loyalty. We can’t wait until they get the respect they deserve as talents, we call them underrated and slept on — the next big thing.

Then, after many late nights, failures, lessons, and sacrifices we can only imagine as observers, our comedian, our artist, our athlete, finally gets what they’ve worked so hard for. We were there for day one when nobody knew who they were, and now that label is calling and HBO is emailing your comedian. As for your athlete? They’re up for the biggest payday of their lives, and if they’re good enough, that payday will top numbers of no player at their position before them in history.

Time to break out the champagne right? They made it! The work paid off, and we never have to worry about them being unknown again. Except, here is where the selfishness kicks in.

For New Orleans Saints fans, that selfishness revolves around star receiver Michael Thomas being on the cusp of a massive new contract. A contract that could make the Thomas the highest paid receiver in NFL history, and if he reportedly gets his wish, the first wide receiver to ever average $20 million per year. If Thomas and the Saints cannot agree to terms however, he reportedly will not be joining his teammates for training camp Friday and possibly beyond.

So, as fans we’re rallying behind our guy aren’t we? Hell, in the old days you’d miss everyday from work he or she did. Today however, is different. While everyone isn’t panicking, there have been several examples of fans calling Thomas selfish, using various of reasons that have zero to do with him as an individual as to why his holding out is the traditional diva move. Referencing his ego amount other elements.

Instead of being happy that Thomas is using the little leverage he has available to reap the salary and celebration he’s worked for, and WE said he deserved —we instead blame and turn on him. Drew Brees’ final years for an additional Super Bowl are being brought up in discussion, as if the future Hall of Famer didn’t have his own threat of a holdout once before.

The word “distraction” is being misplaced as if Thomas has been public and disrespectful to the media, or simply is coming to camp noticeably disgruntled.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Why is that the kind of rhetoric used here, you ask? Because it’s the same thing we do with other staples in our life we care about. That comedian we loved so much, we get tired of and say they’re “not as funny as they used to be”. As for that artist, we say the money has changed them, coupled with phrases like “I miss their old music.” It’s the damndest thing, but we’re all guilty of it.

The things we invest our time into the most are those of which we hold the highest of standing. So basically, I get it. But if you plant a seed and have true genuine thoughts and intention of it’s reaching max potential, you can’t be mad when it outgrows the garden.

The point is, once something grows into the force we envisioned or dreamed of, we’re not always prepared. We can’t have it both ways and wish to have/watch stardom, and then get upset when the star blossoms and demands their value or ever slightly above.

Michael Thomas through his first three years has put together one of the most productive starts to a career the NFL has seen at his position. While he hasn’t been a choir boy at all times, he’s gotten to an elite level with grind and grit, surrounded by inferior pass catchers for most of that process. Can you blame a guy that knows he’s currently irreplaceable and one of the best at his craft for wanting to have his paychecks reflect that?

When it’s all said and done, being underpaid sucks. And yes athletes get paid a lot of money to play a “game” but if millions watched most of us at our offices five days a week we’d all have a different perspective. To those of you that don’t blame Michael Thomas and still love your favorite entertainers the same way you did day one, keep living the dream.

Because Michael Thomas isn’t the selfish one in this equation either way.

We are.