When does a player’s actions outweigh their contributions?
Anymore, it’s not that uncommon to have players do something either on or off the field that makes you question if they should even be playing. But for good or bad, because they have a huge impact on the field everything else has a blind eye turned towards it. Or maybe because they play for your team it’s not considered as bad. At what point does that change for you?
This season I’m forced to reevaluate something I never thought I would have to.
The Colorado Mammoth traded for John Grant Jr. (JGJ) from the Rochester Knighthawks.
This is a very significant trade. Although older, JGJ is still considered to be on one of the best players to have ever played the game. I certainly can’t deny he’s talented, but I hate the fact that he’s going to be in a Mammoth uniform this season.
All because he did something out of anger while playing at the Pepsi Center.
December, 2006, 4th quarter is winding down and the Mammoth have the lead. Play moves from the Mammoth side to the Rochester side but 2 players remain behind. Some helmet mashing and pushing ensues before one of them turns and walks away. He gets several steps before the other player charges him from behind hitting him with his lacrosse stick to the neck below the helmet. The first player crumples to the arena floor while the aggressor leaves the scene, meanwhile play continues for several seconds on the other side.
The two players were John Grant Jr. and John Gallant. Apparently Gallant was doing a great job that night on defense and really got to JGJ who finally snapped and took his anger one step too far. Because the incident wasn’t caught on tape JGJ was slapped with a one game suspension while John Gallant was out for six weeks and missed three games.
Needless to say,Mammoth fans were livid at the time, but here we are four years later.
When Gallant was asked on the Mammoth forums what he thought of the trade he said “Iâ€™m excited to have Jr. on our team. He is a close friend and one of the best lacrosse players ever to play. He is a pure goal scorer, something we have not had here in Denver in a long time, if ever. Most importantly his number one goal is to bring a championship to Denver.”
So if the Mammoth Captain who was the recipient of the cheap shot is able to forgive JGJ, shouldn’t fans? Many think so.
In a week long poll asking what fans thought of the trade, most were split between loving the trade, and disliking it but still willing to support the team. A few felt JGJ was just fodder for another trade we haven’t seen yet, but at least a couple didn’t really want to support the team because of the trade.
I consider JGJ to be similar to Todd Bertuzzi and as such, could not imagine ever seeing Bertuzzi in an Avalanche uniform. But here I am being asked to cheer on a player I feel crossed a similar line and only received a slap on the wrist.Â It could be argued that since Gallant is still playing, comparing JGJ to Bertuzzi is excessive but the Mammoth have lost at least two players because of concussions.Â But that is a debate onto itself.
Regardless of where you stand, as a fan, I never thought I would be in this position.
I detest this trade so much that I’ve considered whether or not I wanted to keep my season tickets this year.
Am I overreacting? Maybe. I’ve been a season ticket holder for all but the inaugural season. I have a Mammoth tattoo. I have more Mammoth memorabilia than I would really want to admit to. My husband and I have done several road trips to catch Mammoth games. And I’m seriously considering whether or not I want to cheer on my team because of one player.