I was listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN radio Thursday morning. They were talking about Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones is in the news because he lost an earring. Apparently not just any earring either. It was a diamond earring worth $100-150,000. Jones at first said $150K then later reports said $100K. It doesn't matter, it's an expensive earring. Just one earring by the way; not a set.
For me, there are two aspects to this story; first that Julio Jones, one of the best receivers in the NFL is going to be the poster child in upcoming rookie camps when they begin talking about managing your money. I'm not going to look up the stats but we've talked about it before; something like 70% of NFL players are broke within 5 years of leaving the league. Certainly while we focus on the high profile players that make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, there are a lot more who make several hundred thousand a year. Either way their take home pay isn't as much as you think, after paying their agent and advisors, then federal and state taxes, they are hit for as much as 50% of their check or more.
But I don't care how much you make, if you are spending $100-150,000 on a SINGLE EARRING, something tells me you are not making smart financial decisions that will ensure you have an income in future years. And how much do you want to bet that he didn't have a rider on his insurance policy specifically covering his high dollar jewelry? So now he's out at least $100K not to mention the cost of hiring a dive team to try and find it. He lost the bling while riding a jet ski. Not sure how he expected a dive team to find a tiny earring on a lake/river bottom, but hey, it's his money.
The second point and the one that's more disturbing to me is what Mike Golic & Mike Greenberg said about the incident. They wondered if someone on the dive team actually found the earring and decided to keep it. They also discussed what they would do with the earring if they had found it, knowing full well to whom the jewelry belonged. Both of them opined that they would not only be very tempted to keep the earring and sell it, which most of us probably would ponder that thought. But they both said they would likely keep the earring. Additionally they both said they wouldn't begrudge anyone keeping the earring especially if it would help them pay their bills or if it would improve their lives. Really?!
Mike & Mike acknowledged that keeping the earring would be tantamount to theft, which is correct. But to them, like most liberals, you have to look deeper than just the act and have to look at the motivation. So just like those who support illegal immigration, or James Comey saying Hillary's intent wasn't to break the law, if your heart or motives are pure, then do what you'd like. Unless of course you are a conservative and then if you even jaywalk, you should be hung.
I believe, maybe naively, but I believe the vast majority of citizens would return the earring and condemn anyone who kept it. Even if that's not true, one this is true: our society has fallen so far when we think it's OK to steal from someone just because that person is successful. Never mind all the hard work; never mind the market determined that person's skills were worth the money; never mind that the wealth accumulated by that person creates jobs for others; it's OK to steal from them or charge them more. It's OK to hate them as well.
A society cannot sustain positive growth without collective moral standards that strive to treat all equally; that hold members accountable for their actions, no matter their status in the hierarchy we've created. History has shown us the consequences when we lose our collective morality, when we become lazy, when we erase consequences for anyone. Because you see, God or nature or whatever force you believe runs the universe doesn't lose its moral compass and will hold us accountable for our actions, whether we do or not.