Friday, April 22, 2011
The Daily Rant: Caught RED-handed? Admit it.
So in case you all don't know, 23 year old Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested Monday afternoon for theft. In the downtown Cincinnati Macy's in Fountain Square, Leake took the price tags off six "American Rag" shirts that had a total value of $59.88. Leake makes $400,000 this year, and when he signed as a first-round draft pick last year, he received a $2.3 MILLION signing bonus. From this fact pattern, a few questions immediately need to be asked. First, who in god's name is wearing American Rag t-shirts? With these buttons? Is this a barcode? Yes, yes it is. I'm pretty sure only dj's and Jersey Shore characters should be wearing these shirts. Second, why did you have a credit card and $250 in cash but STILL attempt to steal shirts worth less than $10 a pop? You definitely have the money. Third, since when did the Reds play in "Reds Stadium," as you said to the arresting officer, and not "Great American Ballpark." But the point of the article is not to question why people steal, the point is to just wonder why Leake has attempted to rationalize his actions by coming up with a horrible excuse.
Leake came up with the following, which in my mind makes him look even worse. He claims to have purchased the shirts at an earlier date. But he didn't like the shirts, so he returned to Macy's to exchange them. On his own. Without an associate's help. Without going to the checkout counter. Now, we've all returned things to a store before. You go to the counter, say "Hey nice salesperson, I'd like to exchange this for something else." Then you go get your item, return to the desk, and exchange it. There may be some minor variations to this procedure, but it's basically the same. Leake isn't a homeless person, isn't broke, and has the money to pay for the damn shirts and legal fees. He's not even an NCAA athlete that "allegedly" doesn't get paid to play. So rather than attempt to save face by giving a crappy excuse, just say this: I screwed up, it was an error of judgment, I'm sorry. Then everybody moves on.
The public is forgiving to celebrities. We all know this. But when people give crappy excuses, it makes them look foolish. Mike Vrabel, NFLPA representative and a named Plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL, was arrested last month for walking into a deli at Belterra Casino in Indiana and taking eight bottles of beer. Dude, I've been to Belterra. Bottles of beer are $3.50 a pop. By my count, that's $30, including tip. According to the police report, the Indiana Gaming Commission just asked Vrabel to pay for the beer and return to his room. But instead, Vrabel was arrested for a Class D felony and then released a report saying the entire thing was just a "misunderstanding." So why didn't you just tell the Gaming Commission "My Bad," fork over the $30, and walk away? Because he thinks that being a celebrity or an athlete puts you above the law.
Apparently stupidity doesn't just stick with players, as even coaches can't avoid this sort of thing. Former Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez was charged with shoplifting a $1,400 manpurse... excuse me, satchel... from a Polo store in New Jersey. Gonzalez and his wife left a bag in a restaurant. When they didn't return for the bag in twenty minutes, restaurant staff looked into the bag, finding it empty with a ripped sensor inside. Gonzalez, who made $435,000 the year before an undisclosed contract extension was signed, claimed that the charges stemmed from "a series of miscommunications and misunderstandings." What were those Bobby? Seriously, I'd love to hear what miscommunications happened while security cameras showed you grabbing a bag, removing the sensor, and walking out of the store with it. Just say you screwed up. You're not going to go to jail, so admit that you had an error of judgment. He probably can't figure out for the life of him why he doesn't have a job right now.
So, a lesson should be learned for future millionaires that think about committing a petty offense such as this. The public doesn't have sympathy for millionaires who get caught red-handed stealing things that a majority of average citizens can pay for, like beer and T-shirts. And when celebrities try and steal even more expensive things when they can afford it, like Bobby Gonzalez and Lindsay Lohan, it makes it even worse. So if you do decide to make an error in judgment, just admit your mistake and move on rather than give the public shady excuses and heartless apologies. You're going to look a lot less foolish in the end, and you'll be able to move on with your life without a serious hit to your reputation.