What's It All About? Athletes tell us incessantly that it's not about the money. Yeah, right

August 20, 2000

Last week NBA free agent Brian Grant rejected a $90 million
offer from the Portland Trail Blazers. "It's incredibly
unbelievable," said agent Mark Bartelstein, deploying a rare
double-negative-superlative on his client's behalf, "in this day
and age, for an athlete to say so strongly, 'It's not about the
money.'"

"It's not about the money," says free-agent running back Leroy
Hoard. "There are very few people in this league who can honestly
say that."

"It's not about the money," says Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy
Aikman; "It's not about the money," says Washington Redskins
defensive end Ndukwe Kalu; "It's not about money," says Detroit
Lions running back Sedrick Irvin.

"It's not about the money thing," says Utah Jazz rookie guard
DeShawn Stevenson.

"It's not about the money, not about the fame," says New Jersey
Nets coach Byron Scott.

"With him, it's not about money, it's not about fame," swing
coach Butch Harmon says of Tiger Woods.

"It's not about the money, the houses or the cars," says Los
Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal.

"It's not about the money," says Chicago Cubs rightfielder Sammy
Sosa. "It's about respect."

"Juan has always told me, 'Luis, it's not about money,'"
rightfielder Juan Gonzalez's adviser Luis Mayoral says of his
client. "'It's about respect.'"

"As his agent, David Falk, said to me, 'It's not about money,'"
Chicago Bulls part owner James Stern recalls of Michael Jordan.
"'It's about respect.'"

"It's not about money," Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Aaron
Beasley says of teammate Tony Brackens. "With Tony, it's just
about his fair due."

"It's not about money or anything like that," says pitcher Jaime
Navarro, who is now with the Cleveland Indians' Triple-A
affiliate in Buffalo. "It's about pride."

"It's not about the money," says Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim
Wakefield. "It's about loyalty."

"It's never been about the money," says Yankees second baseman
Chuck Knoblauch.

"It's not about the money with him," New York Yankees first
baseman Tino Martinez says of teammate David Cone.

"It's never really been about the money with him," Yankees
shortstop Derek Jeter says of Seattle Mariners shortstop Alex
Rodriguez.

"I've already got wheelbarrows full of money," says Rodriguez.
"It's not about money."

"Obviously," Philadelphia Flyers forward Keith Jones says of
teammate Eric Lindros, "it's not about the money."

"It's not about the money," says Auburn football coach Tommy
Tuberville. "It's about opportunity."

"It's not about money," says Memphis basketball coach John
Calipari. "It's about what's right for our family."

"It's not about the money," Monday Night Football mannequin Eric
Dickerson says of former Detroit Lions running back Barry
Sanders. "It's about winning games."

"I just love to play," says senior golfer Walt Zembriski. "It's
not about the money anymore."

"At this stage of my career," says Orlando Magic guard Dee Brown,
"it's not about the money."

"People say it's about money," says Kansas City Royals outfielder
Johnny Damon. "It's not about money."

"I think the one thing that bothers me most," says Cincinnati
Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., "is when people say, 'When an
athlete says it's not about the money, it's about the money.'
I've always said from Day One that it's not about the money."

"It's all about money," New England Patriots offensive tackle
Bruce Armstrong says of athletes and owners. "It's all about
money from their part and my part.

"But," adds Armstrong, "it's also not about money to me."

Some scientists believe that one cause of global warming is
bovine methane emissions. They're wrong. We will soon suffocate
not from cow farts, but from bulls---.

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO

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