For sports, free agency is great. It allows teams to have less control over the players, so while your team may not be in position to draft your favorite player, it may be able to acquire his services someday.
However, this team hopping has led to players being far more friendly off the field than in previous eras. The guy you're playing against this week may be your teammate next year -- or might have been your teammate last year.
For the fans, the hatred stays regardless of players.
But fortunately, there are some players who have learned to embrace the hatred -- which really is what makes sports fun for the fans. If you're apathetic about your opponent, why play the game? Now this sounds less than PC, and we're certainly not condoning violence -- just that a competitive spirit makes a rivalry interesting.
That's why you should celebrate Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, especially since he's only been in New York for one season.
Sure, his recent comments about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady are probably less than family friendly -- if it were a movie, those under 17 would need to be accompanied by an adult -- but at least there's some passion there.
Cromartie describes Brady as "an ass----."
This is big news as Brady is a media darling, and being that outspoken about the Patriots' beloved QB certainly will be bulletin-board material this week.
Of course, all of this came out of a comment by outspoken Jets coach Rex Ryan, who describe Brady's pointing at the Jets' sideline after a touchdown earlier this season as "Brady being Brady."
Apparently that wasn't specific enough for Cromartie.
"That's what I think about him. I don't really give a damn about him," Cromartie said of Brady. "I don't have to play against him. I play against the receivers."
That's good -- at least he doesn't have to actually play against Brady, so maybe he can let all that anger about the quarterback go.
"Yeah, but if I beat the s--- out of his receivers, he can't throw [them] the ball."
Has Cromartie made this personal? He sure has, but this is the playoffs.
Regardless of the outcome, the stakes for this game just got raised.
Isn't that what sports is all about?