In the seminal romantic sports movie Love & Basketball, star-crossed lovers Quincy McCall and Monica Wright share a passion for the titular subjects, love and basketball. As next door neighbors throughout their childhood, Quincy and Monica succumb to attraction in their final year of high school and carry their affair to college, where Quincy finds himself on the USC men’s basketball team and Monica on the USC women’s squad.
As both freshmen deal with the pressures of college athletics, the angst of Quincy’s tumultuous family life creeps in and threatens to destroy the seemingly idyllic romance the pair have crafted. When Monica cannot provide the emotional support Quincy desires in a time of need, a heated argument ensues and Quincy, understandably hurt and frustrated, abruptly breaks off his relationship with Monica. As the story progresses years into the future, we learn that our two protagonists have not reconciled and their love, forever buried in the heat of a teenager’s ire, may never again resurface.
That moment everything comes to a screeching halt, when an 18-year-old Quincy is burdened by an unfortunate reality and decides his feelings matter more than a readily apparent love for another human being, is so scathing, so petty, so short-sighted, that an onlooker paying witness to what unfolds can’t help but take a baseball bat and pound it repeatedly against the ground whilst shouting, “You idiot! What the hell are you doing?! You obviously love her! She obviously loves you! Save yourselves the next four years and everyone watching this shit the next hour and BE TOGETHER, YOU WHINY LITTLE BITCH! BE TOGETHER! WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYY????!!!!”
They never listen, of course.
Similar emotions arise when the subject of Kam Chancellor’s holdout is raised. Kam Chancellor’s stupid, pouty, Quincy-esque holdout.
This is so dumb. It’s dumb to the point of having run the full gamut of the news cycle multiple times already. All the way from “Holy crap, this is really happening!” to “I no longer care this is happening” and back again. One day it matters, the next day it doesn’t, then some intrepid reporter marches forth with additional insight into what it is, exactly, Chancellor wants and we all lose our minds once more.
This is where it all comes back to Love & Basketball. Because like Quincy McCall before him, we can understand why the Seahawks’ starting strong safety might be a little chafed by his situation. Once upon a time, he signed a contract that he feels he’s outplayed. And most people may very well agree that, based on his performance, Chancellor has proven to be a contractual bargain. So we get it. We get why he’s hurt, why he’s frustrated. The man feels he’s owed more than he’s earning, so he’s asking for a raise. That’s fair.
But it’s the way in which Chancellor has sought his raise that has created a bevy of problems. Asking for a raise and demanding one are two different things. Through his months-long holdout, Chancellor has not so much asked for a pay increase as he has demanded it. The Seahawks, for their part, have opted not to give in to their employee’s demands. And really, why should they? Chancellor remains under contract through 2017, and while it may make sense to renegotiate with a worker who enters the final year of a deal, the 27-year-old safety is still multiple seasons away from that juncture.
Knowing all of this, Chancellor could have made a powerful statement by holding out for a limited amount of time before returning to work and playing under the contract he inked just two years ago. The message would have been sent: Either reward me soon, or expect more work stoppages in the offseasons that follow. Instead, he has gone all-in with this particular dispute, doubling-down on his discontent by carrying his one-man strike into the first week of the NFL’s regular season.
Again, we get it. We get why the man is hurting. But this has gone way too far. This is Quincy McCall abandoning his one true love, Monica, for years on end. This is teenage angst personified and punctuated. This is trying to hammer home a point when the point has already been well received.
Once upon a time, it would have been easy to take Chancellor’s side in this argument. His grievances were relatable, understandable. The prolonged reaction, however, has changed our minds. Now, we simply wait for the madness to end.
It’s over, Kam. Let’s play ball, kiss, and make up.