For all of their fame and fortune, many professional athletes lack control of their own futures.
Just ask NBA star Isaiah Thomas, who valiantly led the Boston Celtics on a deep playoff run in 2017 only to be shipped out of town that summer. Or poor veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson, who has been traded six times and played for 12 different major league teams in 16 seasons.
Owners and front offices call the shots, and players just have to deal with the consequences.
Or do they?
Adam Jones would beg to differ. The Baltimore Orioles had plans to trade the veteran center fielder to the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but the deal was called off — because Jones nixed it.
Here’s Jones’ explanation for vetoing the deal, via The Baltimore Sun:
“When players walked out years ago and walked the picket lines and stuff, they did that for reasons like this. I earned this and it’s my decision. I don’t have to explain it to nobody. It’s my decision. Thank you.”
Jones shut down the trade because he didn’t want to be traded. Plain and simple.
What gives him that right is the “10-and-5 service time” stipulation in Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, which was enacted following a players’ strike in 1972. It allows players with at least 10 years of big league service time and five consecutive years of service time with one team to veto any potential trade.
Jones, who’s spent 11 of his 13 MLB seasons in Baltimore, decided to exercise that right to its fullest.
“I made the decision, you all didn’t,” he added. “This is my decision, this is my life. I’m not going around dictating other people’s lives. So why do they do that with us? No one is going to tell me what to do. I earned every single bit of it. People before me fought vigorously, tirelessly to get rights like this. And I can invoke them.”
Only a handful of MLB players qualify for 10-and-5 service time, so the reality is that most don’t have the same power as Jones. But those that do should appreciate the 33-year-old’s refreshing honesty, which hopefully serves as a reminder to all players to utilize all the rights afforded to them in negotiations with teams.
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