The saying “Never say never” has long been thrown around in our society implying that anything can be achieved if given the appropriate circumstances. This is especially the case within the sports world.
Throughout the history of sports, athletes, coaches and even owners have decided to ignore the saying and continue to loosely use the word “never.” The great Michael Jordan came out of retirement after he hung up the sneakers; every NFL off season we now have to wonder if quarterback Brett Favre is going to return to the football field because he came out of retirement once; and now, we have an NFL trade that occurred after Mike Brown, the Cincinnati Bengals owner and general manager, said he would never trade Carson Palmer.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was traded to the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday after plenty of controversy and bickering between him and Brown.
To understand the situation some more, it helps to know the history between Palmer and the Bengals organization. After an illustrious college career at the University of Southern California that included winning the Heisman Trophy, the Bengals selected Palmer first overall in the 2003 NFL draft. Palmer was expected to be the savior of the franchise that finished 2-14 the previous season.
During his nine-year tenure on the Bengals, Palmer led them to two playoff appearances but zero wins in the postseason. After the 2010 season, Palmer met with ownership and requested he be traded to another team and if they didn’t trade him, he would retire and not play for the Bengals.
Palmer became upset and unhappy with his stay in Cincinnati towards the end of last year and requested a trade to another team. In response, Brown decided that he would not give in the Palmer’s request and that if he was going to play in the NFL, it would have to be for the Bengals where he still had four years left on his contract. If he didn’t want to do that, he would have to retire at the age of 31.
This standoff lasted for the entire off season and six weeks into this year’s NFL season before it ended on Tuesday. Palmer remained retired working out on the side without the Bengals, while the Bengals drafted a new QB along with starting the season 4-2. But all the while Brown maintained that he was more willing to let Palmer suffer and the Bengals get nothing for him than to let him get his way and get a trade.
That is until the Raiders made Brown an offer that he could not turn down. The Raiders offered Brown two 1st round draft picks, plenty to force Brown to reconsider his options. Brown took the offer and finally gave Palmer what he wanted by trading him to the Raiders. With this action, Brown contributed to the strengthening of the phrase, “Never say never.”
Brown’s actions furthered the idea that there are always certain factors that will cause you to go back on saying you’d “never” do something; like a price for the action.
This is also the case with the NFL. General managers can always say they won’t trade someone, but in the end, the NFL is a business and there is a price that if reached will change the general manager’s decision.
In the end, sports will always be an industry that is ruled by money and power. It has long been the case in the NFL with numerous players holding out because they want a bigger contract, or to be traded. But in the end, there is always a price or a contract that can be offered that will get them back on the playing field. But don’t just think it is the players, the same can be said for the owners. The owners’ decisions can easily be swayed for the right price, just as Mr. Brown has shown with his handling of Carson Palmer.