A clerical error posed an ethical issue for San Francisco Giants pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt. The lefty reliever was handed an extra half-million dollars that shouldn’t have been included in his contract and — despite it being deemed fully legal to keep — Affeldt opted to sleep at night and gave the money back.
A simple typo glossed over in final contract review by both his side and the team led to Affeldt getting an un-negotiated “bonus” in the form of $500k when a $4 million figure was inadvertently written as $4.5 million.
Affeldt discovered the error, sought advice from the union, his agent, and the team’s front office, and was told by all it was his to keep. That’s where the wrestling began, but the tussle didn’t last long.
His mind made up, as Affeldt wrote in his book To Stir a Movement and Henry Schulman reported on SFChronicle.com, Affeldt approached the team again the next day and had the contract rewritten to exclude the mistaken money.
With so much news surrounding the off-field dealings of professional athletes being of the “what, he got arrested again?” nature, a story like this is refreshing and is one to help balance the scales when the athletes-as-role-models subject arises.
And, even more important than considering his occupation or the amount returned, this was a human display of integrity and plain old ‘doing what’s right’. That’s the message I hope my kids take from it when I share the story with them and what I’d hope to do myself should I ever end up in a similar situation.
Gifted an accidental (but entirely legal) sum, what would you do?
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