LeVeon Bell was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft in 2013. It is no secret that his style of play is unique and widely admired by both fans and fellow football players. Having said this, Bell is also known for some off-field drama; which does not leave a very good taste in the mouths of fans. From a DUI to a drug test charade and perennial complaints about contract deals, Bell is indeed a tough nut to crack. This not to mention that he was a no-show for the entire off-season and pre-season.
The gifted Steelers running back is at it again. Bell is seeking for an enhanced contract with Pittsburgh. If his terms are not fulfilled or negotiated again, the back will once again boycott the preseason activities. If he continues to stay away from the team, Steelers players and their united team effort could be compromised. It is becoming very clear that the Steelers running back is playing the victim. In fact, he feels like his contract needs to be similar to that of Antonio Brown.
The question that begs is whether he can act like Brown. In the midst of this push and pull, the Steelers' fan base is watching; and going by the social media feedback, many are not too pleased with Bell. In fact, this talent is being portrayed as villain who is money-hungry and insensitive to the Steelers and fans. Indeed, it is hard to defend the running back against accusations of being greedy. There is no doubt that many fans believe that Bell should be more diplomatic and respectful of the team. After all, this is the team that has held his hand all this while.
Of course, there is nothing wrong for a player to fight for the pay he thinks he deserves. However, every player should also be mindful about the financial standing of the team. Players should be led by passion and a need to succeed as a team. When a bank account is put in front of the team's interest, a player may lose love and administration from avid fans. In fact, this action may be deemed as selfish.
A case in point is where Roethlisberger and Brown asked for new contracts and were awarded sweet figures. However, their approach had decorum and they never threatened to boycott the games until they were paid big bucks. Most recently, Alejandro Villanueva who is a starting left tackle was making peanuts in the NFL standards. After asking for a consideration, he waited and never missed training camp even for a day. Because patience pays, he got a much better deal within no time.
The reality is that Bell is no longer connected with the Steelers fan base. Most people do not understand or condone his threatening approach. Many players have played hard with poor pay. With time, these players earn the respect they deserve and money is never far behind. Therefore, if Bell feels segregated by the fans, it might be because of this negative perception. Bell must look within himself to fully understand why and when the rain started beating him; he is clearly out of touch with fans.