There’s always been a disconnect between fans and players when it comes to distinguishing the relationship between winning, and the greater good. Fans can afford to take a utilitarian stance and think about the big picture because losing football games doesn’t affect their own job security. Players—and anybody involved in football operations—see losing as a threat to their livelihood, no matter the context, no matter the future implications.
There’s no gray area from the players’ perspective, even when the cleats have been hung up. This is something that we have to respect and understand when former players like Andrew Hawkins speak.