When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009 to join the Miami Heat (and win two NBA titles), his move caused a ripple effect in sporting fandom that can only be described as hateful, petulant and disrespectful.

The burning of the jersey of a player leaving a club has become so common place, it's a story when the fabric doesn't go up in flames.

Just this week, All Whites striker Chris Wood completed a transfer from Leeds United to Burnley. He's now lining up in the Premier League, one of the foremost competitions in sport.

Wood posted a thank you message to his club and fans on his Twitter account before heading to greener pastures and instead of recognising his service to the second-tier club, he was lambasted.


Snake. No loyalty. All about the money. Just some of the nicer things said about Wood in reply to the social media post.

Why on earth would you be loyal to that fan base? They don't care about you unless you're wearing their kit. Where's their loyalty to the player?

There's a supposed debt players must pay to their organisation. If fans had their way, the players would stay at one team forever and forgo any other option irregardless of the financial benefits.

Why? They're living the dream! Playing sport for a living is an honour in itself. They should shut up and be happy with that, right?

Wrong. While the idea of loyalty is a noble one, it's not sustainable in sport.

Wood's move will fetch him $70,000 more a week than what he was on languishing in a lesser competition. That's life-changing.

Professional athletes have a shelf life. They get eight years if they're lucky. If they play their cards right in that time, they'll set themselves and their family up for life.

But according to Joe Bloggs, athletes should remain loyal to an organisation that could send them packing at the drop of a hat.

If a player is traded or released, usually there's no noise from the fans demanding supposed allegiance to the team. They don't decry the owner.

However, when the athlete decides "hey, I can make more money and play at a higher level somewhere else" they're the bad guy.

Part of a professional athlete's DNA is the desire to be the best, beat the best and perform at the highest level. And that's their job. Why shouldn't they put themselves in a better position to reach that goal.

And as for the money - if you were getting paid 25 per cent of what you could earn elsewhere and had the opportunity to leave, you'd do it.

Money can't buy everything but it can secure your future to the point where you can focus on the things that you love.

Good on you, Chris Wood. Go chase that cash while you can, don't worry about the anonymous faces of Twitter. They'd do the same thing in your shoes - they just won't admit it.