“It’s just business.”

I’ve heard this simple phrase time and time again. The first time I can remember hearing it is when the Atlanta Braves traded my beloved hero Dale Murphy to the Phillies. “It’s just business,” I was told. But as a broken-hearted kindergartener, I didn’t give a flying frog about “business.” My favorite team got rid of my favorite player. My entire world had been derailed.

Fast forward 27 years. I’m no longer a Braves fan, but I’ve grown accustomed to a world where business decisions trump matters of the heart. Living in North Carolina has only emblazoned this harsh reality, thanks to former Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman. If they ever produce an action figure of the man, it’ll have a little button on it that initiates that dreaded phrase.

It’s just business.

Steve Smith is a toxic personality inside the locker room and needs to be purged.

It’s just business.

DeAngelo Williams can’t stay healthy and is eating up cap space.

It’s just business.

Mike Tolbert’s not pulling his own weight, and needs to be cut.

It’s just business.

Gettleman was rumored to be sharpening the executioner’s ax for Greg Olsen and Thomas Davis before owner Jerry Richardson intervened, banishing Gettleman from the Panthers front office.


So okay. We all get it. You can’t run a successful business making emotionally irresponsible decisions. Duly noted. At the end of the day, we should all just gather ‘round, partake in a few brewskis, and laugh at our own misfortunes, right?

Cue the double standard. Whereas Smith and Williams expressed in earnest their frustrations, Tolbert politely smiled, thanked Ron Rivera for the opportunity, and walked out with his head held high. Tolbert knew that the decision to release him would come full circle.

And so when his new team, the Buffalo Bills, are due to show up to face Carolina, Mike Tolbert catches grief over being a snitch and telling everything he knows about the Panther offense and how it operates.

I’m sorry. Did you say a snitch? Oh, nay nay.

You see, this is just business. Snitching is something you do in seventh grade when your buddy is smoking stolen Marlboro Lights in the boys room at school. Snitching infers a personal connection with the individuals in question. And business isn’t personal.

It’s just business.

When you make a decision to release a player, for whatever reason, risk versus reward comes into play. The reward is that you can release a player and make room for a new one. The risk is that you no longer have that old player, which entails his talents, skill, and knowledge. Ask any businessman. Risk versus reward is a very elementary concept.

 I find it confounding that Mike Tolbert is a snitch. If anything, it’s involuntary competitor research. Tolbert wasn’t looking to leave Carolina. They booted him. After his third career Pro Bowl selection, no less. So here’s the moral of the story, kids. If you don’t want your players to dish your dirt, then don’t release them.

The way I see it? Mike Tolbert isn’t a snitch. He’s just a businessman trying to capitalize on the Panthers’ mistake.