BY Art Thiel 02:45PM 03/20/2014

Tate a Seahawks ingrate? No. Tate the fool? Yes

Former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate had a chance to leave the Super Bowl champs gracefully. Instead, he fell back on a bad habit: The taunt.

Golden Tate did some remarkable things for the Seahawks. His exit wasn’t one of them./ Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

I wish Golden Tate had taken the money and run. Just run. Say nothing. G’bye.

But he didn’t. Just as he couldn’t resist taunting Rams defenders when he caught a game-winning, 80-yard touchdown pass in October, he couldn’t resist taunting the Seahawks after his departure to Detroit for a five-year, $31 million deal as free agent.

As with all free agents in sports, Tate was entitled to receive whatever the market provided. He needed to answer to no one; he played the system perfectly and was rewarded. The fact that the Seahawks couldn’t come close to the Lions’ offer is too bad for Seattle.

Yet he had to mock the Seahawks’ offer, calling it laughable.

“I’m going to earn in one year at Detroit what Seattle was going to pay me for two years,” he told the “Bob and Groz” show on ESPN 710 radio this week. “Seattle offered numbers that were laughable. I thought, ‘I’ve given you everything and this is what you give me?’”

Reminded that he said after the season he said he was open to offering Seattle a hometown discount, Tate said, “I didn’t say I was going to take 40-50 percent off.”

While we don’t know Seattle’s offer, we do know that the Lions, desperate for a receiver to take the pressure off star Calvin (Megatron) Johnson, gave Tate (Minitron?) $13.25 million guaranteed, including an $8 million signing bonus. Atop his $1.5 million base pay, that’s $9.5 million in 2014, a figure the Seahawks would have no willingness to pay the No. 2 or 3 receiver behind Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin.

The Seahawks’ salary-cap limits were knowable by Tate and his agent. Instead, Tate played the victim card.

“I really had no choice. I tried. I tried,” he said. “I did my very best to stay in Seattle, and I hope you guys believe what I’m saying. I came out to the public and said I will take a discount . . . and it still wasn’t enough.

“I did everything right, and the offer . . . it was like, ‘Is this serious?’ ” he said. “But the organization is offering guys from other places (Harvin) almost three times what they even offered me. And I was kind of like, ‘Are you serious? I’ve given literally everything and this is what you give me.’ ”

If that primadonna petulance wasn’t enough, Tate was moved to challenge some fans.

“I’m just appalled at the attitude I’ve received on Twitter from people I thought were Golden Tate fans,” he said. “People are starting to show their true colors. I think the world of the 12s (Seahawks fans), but there is a large group who very quickly turned on me. It kind of bothered me because I felt like I gave everything I possibly could to the city of Seattle.”

For a bright guy, Tate doesn’t sound like it. How he determined what a “large group” was, he didn’t say. But 10,000 wouldn’t qualify as large in the sports social media universe. Twitter is another bubble world, as minimally representative of all Seahawks fans as Dobermans are representative of all dogs.

That’s not putting down Twitter or dogs. But only 18 percent of online users in 2013 say they tweet, according to a Pew Research poll. Many of them don’t follow sports. And some Seahawks fans aren’t online. So to draw anything but a laugh from the responses by some segment of his Twitter followers, many of whom are anonymous, is the height of folly.

In any event, fans are as entitled to their anger and disappointment as Tate is to his money. If fans weren’t emotional, they wouldn’t be 12s.

Tate did say in the interview that he received congratulations from many teammates as well as coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider. But Tate even ham-fisted that part, saying, ” . . .no matter how much (fans) bad-mouthed me or how much the (the Seahawks offered) me. I love Seattle.”

How patronizingly noble.

He’s 25, but Tate remains as immature as he was in the Rams game, which drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that could have been large in a game the Seahawks won 14-9.

“That was immature of me,” he said after the game. “Hurt my team. I’ve gotta stay composed . . .  act like I’ve been there before. I gotta apologize to our special teams. I put them in an awkward situation, but more than happy to get up and learn from it and move forward.”

Said Carroll after the game: “It kind of washes away a fantastic football play.”

It kind of does.

And his response after the Lions contract kind of washes away any clues about his own behavior Tate claims he picked up after the taunting penalty.

I don’t expect Tate will suffer much Seattle-centric consequence for his narcissism. But it would be cool if, for his own sake, he someday learned the value of grace in his public dealings. As in:

“I took a great offer. The Seahawks did what they could, and I appreciate it, just as I appreciate all the fans, even those who were hurt by my decision.”

That seems far easier than pulling away an interception from a Packers defender in the end zone to score the game-winner on Monday night football. That’s a controversy worth remembering.


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Players should never criticize fans. Ultimately they’re the ones responsible for his career. Even if a player is All-World if he doesn’t have a good relationship with the fans they can fnid themselves traded away. In any sport. Tate’s lucky that didn’t happen after the maple bars incident.

    Appalled at the responses on Twitter. Like that’s the bastion of truth. Especially from someone who claimed to want to stay a Seahawk. All he’s done is show that he’s 25 years old with little life experiences. It’ll be interesting to see how the 12th Man receives him if he ever gets to return to the CLink.

    • Jared S.

      I’d hope he gets an appreciative welcome, since he helped bring Seattle a championship. Not exactly something that happens every year (and not something to take for granted even if it were something that had happened more often).

      • jafabian

        Agree to a point. Golden certainly upped his game when Rice and Harvin went down. But he in essence pulled an ARod and then criticized some of the 12th Man who were simply being loyal to their team. Some people will look past that and applaud him, some won’t. But in today’s world professional athletes are no longer on the pedestal they once were.

    • Edgar Martinez

      Anyone who pays that much attention to Twitter comments has some growing up to do.

  • TrippinTheCripple

    Well said, Art. As much as I appreciate Tate’s athleticism and contributions that helped earn the Seahawks a Super Bowl win, I’m equally annoyed by his childish hissy fit once he landed in a new city.
    Were it not for Carroll’s patience (two years to earn a starting spot), his teammates’ support despite adolescent actions, and the hundreds of thousands of 12s who showered him with adoration, he might never have had the windfall he received.
    Two words were all we needed to hear: Thank you.

    • art thiel

      In fairness, Tate did say thank you to all. But if he could have inserted a period then, instead of a but . . .

      • TrippinTheCripple

        HA! Touche’!
        BTW, glad I found out where you’ve been lurking. I’ve missed your musings.

  • 1coolguy

    I checked the schedule and unfortunately we do NOT play Detroit this year: Wouldn’t that be a game to not miss? Earl, Cam or Richard blasting Tate would really be something to see. Oh well.
    He got the big bucks so leaving makes a lot of sense. The fans who have gotten down on him for leaving are apparently wealthy and don’t think millions matter much.
    As Art says in the article though, Tate should learn to keep his mouth closed a bit, as it will serve him much better.
    I thought it a real sign of where they are at that Pete and John congratulated him – really shows where they are coming from, esp after having essentially trained him his first 2 years on how to become the player he is now. It’s a first class organization.

    • Andrew12manly

      We may not play the a lions in the regular season but there is the chance we play them in the playoffs. If that happens maybe Kam will knock some sense into him and he’ll realize that the vast majority of Seahawks don’t “tweet”, we just yell as loud as we can and then a little louder esp after Kam destroys someone like Tate coming across the middle.

      It’s too bad Tate hasn’t learned to stop the taunt because he does seem like a really good guy and I don’t think anyone would blame him for wanting to follow the money, as long as he doesn’t try to act like it’s not about the money and he thinks he’s going to a championship team like Alex Rodriguez going to the Rangers back in the day.

      • art thiel

        Tate hasn’t yet gone down A-Rod’s road. He’s not a phony.

        • Dongcopter Pilot

          The Lions aren’t going to the playoffs, though…they’re the Lions. Tate’s a nice, shiny signing, but they continue to dump money on the wrong side of the ball. We will shut them down when we do get to play them though, whether next year or whatever, we’re SO much better than the last time we played them.

          • 1coolguy

            Stafford will never be a championship QB. Very erratic and hasn’t learned how to out think the defense.
            Terrible game manager.
            Just as the Ravens blew bucks on Flacco so did the Lions on Stafford. They are muddling QB’s and should be in the $10 – $12 range, but what the heck? Perception is reality.

    • art thiel

      If the teams played, I don’t think Tate would be subject to any more mayhem than anyone else. I think they all like him, and would have taken the money if they were so positioned. From a fan’s perspective, Detroit playing in Seattle might be amusing.

      • 1coolguy

        You’re right, they all like him but once between the lines, one good pop is expected, just as a “love tap” for realities’ sake.

  • Billy bob

    I couldnt agree more

  • Scott Crosser

    Art: At 25 I would have had the same reaction as Golden. Snyder knew he was not close to Detroits offer, the noble thing for Snyder to do would have been to simply release Tate and admit he was not prepared to pay market value; honest and transparent, and the “Christian” thing to do…which Snyder has reminded us of on occasion if you have listened to his speak.
    That said I agree with the letting Tate go based on the draft pool and the investment in Percy.

    • TrippinTheCripple

      Who is Snyder?

    • art thiel

      Schneider would have undercut his job by not making a fair effort to re-sign Tate. Schneider can’t know what the market brought, nor can he truly estimate the discount Tate talked about. The Seahawks established what they felt he was worth based on what they could afford under the cap, and probably would have had some wiggle room.

      And the fact that you would have the same reaction at 25 doesn’t justify it for you either.

  • SeaRaays

    Tate
    is just keeping a chip on his shoulder. He will still receive a lot of praise from the 12th man… as long as he does not pull a punk move like he did against the Rams …to us! Maturity is not his forte.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    It was his 3rd year before Tate blossomed and started paying dividends(1st two years were very forgettable) and yet the fans stuck with him despite his brashness. Slamming fans and giving Hawk management the verbal middle finger on the way out truly is a barometer of how much he learned after that Ram game. Zilch.Great points Art.
    As a Hawk …He played on a really good team now he is dreaming of posting video game numbers in the Lions offense but dont count on it. Most of the throws will still go Megatrons way.
    They are behind alot so that means they will throw throw throw. He could put up better numbers than when he was a Seahawk. Time will tell.

    Golden , you were one of our SB receivers. Thank you. Enjoy playing in the snow in Michigan during your off time. We will continue to enjoy our views of Mount Rainier and watching our Championship football team rack up the Ws.

    • art thiel

      Tate figures to flourish in DET, in a way that would not be likely in a run heavy offense. His life will be made easier if he thinks before he speaks. And I very much enjoyed talking to him. He’s a bright, engaging guy. For his own sake, no one else’s, he needs to ask himself how he wants to be perceived.

    • T8 the playa don’t T8 the game

      Well, the Lions play in a dome, so I doubt snow’s a factor, other than visiting GB and Chicago every year. Mount Rainier’s sure nice to look at for about 20-30 days a year, though. A counterpoint on one of his comments: No, GT, you didn’t give the Seahawks everything, just everything you had. And that was worth what they were offering you to stay, which in turn was about what you’d be worth in Seattle’s system anyway. I disagree with the premise of the article (hence the name above), though. Taunt is a big part of his brand, and he’s smart enough to know every legal thing he tweets, says, or does that keeps him on Sportscenter is money in the bank. Other than that, he’s nothing if not real, and a very tough, hard-nosed, hard-working player whose stats increased every year.

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        No he wont have to play football in the snow in the dome of course…he was on ESPN gushing about how excited he was to be in Detroit and he mentioned he played in the midwest(college ball @NotreDame) and he loves the midwest and the elements ,snowmobiles in the dead of winter and what not.
        So play in the snow he will…you cannot avoid it when old man winter comes calling out there.

  • DixDachshund

    I’m not so sure Tate was exhibiting arrogance as he was disappointment in that he wasn’t wanted in terms of being paid what he was worth. It was apparent he loved playing for the Seahawks and the 12th Man, and knew his situation was unique and special. Sure, his response was immature but in true Richard Sherman fashion, he let his mouth flap when perhaps it’d would’ve better for him to, as you say, exit gracefully. He acted much like a spurned lover — lashing out for not being judged as worthy as, say, the woman from Detroit. But, the NFL offers elite players a very short window to take amazing dollars. Now that players are better understanding the physical and neurological damage that comes with the fame and fortune, they understand when it’s time to take the money and run.

    • art thiel

      I didn’t use the work arrogant, and I understand his pique with being slammed. But as Pete Carroll would be the first to tell him, “Golden, you’re better than that.”

      • DixDachshund

        Arrogant wasn’t a word you used, but its inference throughout your piece was as visible as a neon-faced Reno strip club (you can use that analogy in another column, gratis). Seriously, I’m as jaded and cynical as the next guy about the cradle-to-grave pampering of professional athletes. They hardly need another excuse to exhibit bad behavior in public. Yes, he’s better than how he’s behaved over the past few weeks online and on-air. Golden is sometimes immature and, like so many of his generation, will text on social media before thinking through the ramifications of his “can-never-erase” comments to the world. But I think his tantrum came from a place of disappointment at not being wanted by a team in a place and situation he loved. I disagree he was taunting or grandstanding, but simply lashing out as most kids do when they feel they’re not loved or appreciated. And as a parent, you simply walk away.and try as best to remember the great things they have brought to your life. I’m sure Tate’s reaction was great fodder and an irresistible “gotcha” for the day’s column, but to pillory him as a fool (in your headline) and question his intelligence seemed to me worthy of a personal foul, unnecessary roughness call.

    • Pixdawg13

      “I’m not so sure Tate was exhibiting arrogance as he was disappointment
      in that he wasn’t wanted in terms of being paid what he was worth.”

      What HE THINKS he’s worth. However, he’s clearly worth more to a pass-first offense like Detroit, Denver, or Green Bay, than to a run-first offense like Seattle or San Francisco. That’s just the nature of the game.

      And what’d he expect from Twitter? Fawning? Of course a number of fans were going to be upset. Get a clue, Golden.

      Most receivers are effective by at least their 2nd year, usually in their first (see Baldwin, Doug) but Tate took two years to figure out how to play within the offensive scheme. Wonder how long it’ll take him in Detroit, and how much he’ll like being the clear #2 option?

  • Golden Hate

    So in other words Golden Tate should not form his own thoughts and opinions? He lost nothing from speaking his mind whether you liked it or not.

    • Andrew12manly

      I think you’re wrong, he did lose the respect of many Seahawks fans that respected his decision to follow the money but no longer respect him for the way he chose to exit, with the Taunt. Golden should followed the golden rule, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. Sure he didn’t lose any money but unless you’re a robot you can feel when people don’t respect you

    • art thiel

      I very much enjoy athletes who speak independently. We need more, and that’s one reason why I would have liked him to stay. But when it comes to denigrating his old team for its best effort, and reacting to a minority of small-minded fans, he did himself more harm than good in the eyes of many here. It was useless rhetoric that advanced nothing.

  • Guy K. Browne

    I have no gripe with Tate, he has his ring, now he has his payday….. good on him. Could he have been more diplomatic about leaving? Sure, I fully agree with Art on that point…. but how diplomatic were any of us when we were 25? So, say what you will about this guy but there weren’t many tougher dudes on the field. The hits he took and still held on to the ball, and got back up…. countless, he’s a big reason Seattle got to celebrate in February. Now,he probably has 3-6 serviceable years left, he needs to grab his money before his time is up. Golden, wish you were still a Seahawk.

    • art thiel

      Guy, Tate had a great season and was a large contributor to the Seahawks’ success. You speak for a majority of fans who understand the football business and Tate should reap the highest reward.

      As far as being undiplomatic at 25, I get that. But the only way we get better at life is by learning from mistakes. Tate made a mistake, and he needed to be called on it from other than anonymous tweets.

  • Edgar Martinez

    I think Tate really loved it here and wanted to stay here, but he couldn’t. A team was willing to go far beyond what Seattle was going to offer. So then he threw a fit about it on the radio. Yeah, immature.

  • RadioGuy

    But the REAL question here is whether Hot Pot is going to open a franchise in Detroit. Golden has to eat sometime (even if it means paying for it himself) and I get the feeling it’s a real food desert there.

  • Will

    Detroit isn’t as forgiving a city as is Seattle, he’s going to be in a place with a tough rep … if he tries to swipe donuts while he’s there the reaction won’t be Seattle chuckles.

    • art thiel

      The Top Pot Hot Shot can afford his own pastry shop.

  • Bruce McDermott

    I think this was a combination of hurt pride because the Hawks wouldn’t offer more, and angry reaction to tweets attempting to call him on his “hometown discount” pledge.

    Personally, had the Hawks gotten closer, I would have piled on too. But the delta was too much. His grace left something to be desired, but that’s Tate, so far in his career, and I liked the effort and fearlessness, if not the lack of discipline, he showed on the field.

    • art thiel

      Make no mistake — there’s a lot to like about Tate.

  • Bayview Herb

    We were,t hurt, Guy. We’ll do it again without you.We already have 3 excellent receivers.

  • Joe Fan

    I feel no animosity towards Tate. He made great plays for us and contributed mightily to our Super Bowl victory. He also was a frustrating player at times either by his immature actions on the field, or by disappearing to some extent during games. Good for you in receiving a big contact and good luck with Detroit. The Seahawks will move on and be better for it, I have no doubt.

    • art thiel

      Well said, Joe.

  • Bryan

    The guy helped win us a championship, so I won’t dwell on his commentary now. The thing they were able to do was pull together some of the finest talent at most positions on the team, and in addition to that had 53 players who were quite literally fearless. And Golden Tate was one of those guys, you never saw him come up short due to fear or hesitation. He will always be one of our guys because of that, even if his exit didn’t go well. you can’t keep ‘em all, and there are always going to be guys who are bitter when they can’t be one of the ones that take priority.

    • art thiel

      Good point about his fearlessness. He will be missed, and yes, his exit should not be a defining memory of his time here.

  • Itzy Bidness

    Jeez, Artie. Slow news day? This reads like some celeb trash piece on TMZ. He’s 25, for crap sake, and prematurely rich. Go pound on someone your own size.