Everyone here on this NY Giants blog has the requisite experience in the business world to comment with some expertise and experience on a matter that we watch with the Giants- when are their player negotiations business and when are they personal? Attempts by the Giants organization to belittle fan comments and criticisms fall way short when professional business actions are being discussed. There are MANY on this site who know more than a thing or two about how to handle these issues. It is worth pointing out again, certainly for some of our newer audience, that we have an UltimateNYG book club which contains BOOKS on this cross-section. If you have not already done so, we highly recommend that you read
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
These books talk SPECIFICALLY about how to handle the issues of personnel. Collins’ book is a non-football investigation into best practices. One of them is about getting the right people on the bus, worrying a little less about what seat (position) they will have but just focusing on making sure that certain people are ON THE BUS. Bill Walsh talks about these same concepts with less ‘business school’ and more ‘football team,’ but make no mistake that he also had tremendous respect and care for the people who he selected and retained. In fact, it was Walsh who explained that every single person in the entire organization, from the secretary typing up notes to the GM making the critical decisions, was required to perform well or else the team could not win.
So where did ‘business’ end and ‘personal’ begin? For Walsh, it was clear that being a professional meant having exemplary ‘personal’ conduct. There was a common thread of respect that Walsh demanded be given to every employee. He stopped the hazing of rookies, because to Walsh they were employees just like the veterans and the secretaries. And this is where the conversation flows into the handling of Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw. Pete spent many hours discussing with me on the phone how a good organization should not have squeezed Bradshaw so far, that it would come back to haunt them. Players watch as other players are negotiating. They talk to one another. They observe. Did Steve Smith and/or his agent observe how Bradshaw was handled and take notes? You would have to be very naive to think that they did NOT.
Money is money. Business is business. We understand the necessities of getting a player to play at the right price. But it must be done in a way that always respects the player/employee to the end. When you start playing head games, lowballing important players like Steve Smith, you are now gambling and no longer negotiating. Maybe we are not privy to Steve Smith’s off the field character, but what we do know is that we have NEVER heard him utter a bad word about the organization… even after his contract with the Eagles was signed. Simply stated, he has delivered at every possible turn for the Giants, and was deserving of some TLC for that. Instead, what we did hear was that the Giants were “MUCH” lower than the Eagles, implying the Giants were offering “MUCH” lower than cheap. And that is not right. Good organizations don’t have these problems of not being able to counteroffer. It got personal for Steve Smith to the point where he no longer wanted to do business with the Giants.