By KYLE MCDANIEL
To certain people, money isn’t everything.
As you peer into the world of sports, though, you see that money has become king. Players seem to care less about the fans and the city they play in and more about what team pays the most money.
This isn’t just problem with sports in the United States — it’s happening across the globe, and it’s discouraging to know that the Francesco Tottis and Tom Bradys of the world are a dying breed.
What makes those players in their respective sports, as well as countless others before them, unique is the fact they stayed with their team and city no matter what.
“Before an athlete stayed with a team regardless of record or pay,” said Matt Mortenson, owner of Tucson’s Mountain View Sports Memorabilia. “Nowadays, the tradition, loyalty and respect for the game and organizations have been lost.”
A perfect example of doing everything you can to keep the player is A.S. Roma, a football club in Italy. The club has a legend who just retired, Francesco Totti.
Born in Rome, Totti joined Roma’s academy in Trigoria at age 13. Totti would play three seasons in the youth team, before his senior debut at 16 in a match against Brescia.
Now 40, Totti just retired in May. In his 25-year career, he played 786 times and scored 307 goals. He would also make 58 appearances for Italy’s national team, where he would win the 2006 World Cup. Only once did he think about leaving, until he remembered his mom had taught him home is everything, according to online publication Players’ Tribune.
Two months later, he accepted Roma’s offer to become the club’s sporting director. A few weeks ago, he began taking classes to get his coaching badges to one day coach.
When people asked why he turned down Real Madrid and stayed in Rome his whole career, he had one answer.
“Rome is my family, my friends, the people that I love … Rome, to me, is the world. This club, this city, has been my life.”
According to news outlets in Italy, a statue is already in the works for the Roman, who believed in loyalty over money and trophies.
It takes a special person to turn down more money or turn down a better team in order to stay home. Age also begins to play a factor.
Brady is a perfect example.
Brady and head coach for the Patriots, Bill Belichick, have built something special in New England, which is another reason he has stayed. Year after year, Brady takes less money in order to stay in New England and make the team better. He ranks 15th in quarterback salaries, though he is far better than the 15th-best quarterback.
Yes, players should have the right to leave a team if they want. That is their choice. To some, loyalty is nothing, and to others, it is everything. Being like Brady and Totti and saying no to better options and more money takes pride and guts.
Remember one thing: If you stay with one team, you could become a legend in the organization, and have your own statue.