I have seen some critical comments about Baldwin using words such as entitled and talking about changing attitudes among today’s athletes.
But, from my perspective, I don’t think a fundamental attitude has changed at all—and that is, the vast majority of athletes with a competitive bone in their body simply want to be able to play in games, period; and most athletes don’t enjoy making the huge sacrifice of time and effort that goes with being part of a varsity sport if they simply wind up on the bench.
I played another sport in college—soccer—45+ years ago and the guys who ended up getting absolutely no playing time or virtually none almost invariably did not stay with the team through senior year, or even through junior year.
I was not a star. I had no chance of playing any kind of professional soccer. But I had a passion for the sport and, while I was applying to some of the best academic schools in the country, quite frankly I also narrowed my choices by where I thought I would have an opportunity to get out on the field playing varsity soccer.
College soccer back then had no limits on subbing with respect to going back into the game if you came out previously—and I played forward and midfield—so, like most positions in football, even when I wasn’t starting, I was still getting playing time in meaningful parts of significant games.
But re the QB position: as we all know, if you are not starting, you are only going to get on the field if it’s mopup duty in a blowout or if the starter goes down with an injury. For any competitor, I just think that has to be very tough when you are the backup.
And if Baldwin believed Fields has the clear edge to start this fall, I can understand why that might be the reason for his wanting to transfer (although perhaps, as per one report, the driving force is that he simply wants to be closer to home).