What would you do if you were in Gil Meche’s shoes?
Now 32 years old, he’s pitched serviceably for the Kansas City Royals for the last four years. But over the last few seasons, he’s run into all sorts of arm problems. Nevertheless, for this coming 2011 season, he was slated to earn $12 million . That money is guranteed, so long as Gil heads off to spring training in Arizona in a couple of weeks. Even if his arm isn’t heathy — so long as he makes an attempt to pitch — he gets the dough. Even if he just ends up going to rehab for his arm, the money is his to keep.
Gil Meche decided he didn’t want to be accused of just picking up a paycheck if he couldn’t earn it. So he called the Royals GM and told him that he was going to retire. Meche knew full well that if he retired, then the money wouldn not be forthcoming.
Meche shrugged and said, in effect, that he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he got paid under false pretenses. So he walked away, and left the $12 mil on the table. $12 mil that was his!
Mind you, Meche has earned $40 million over the last four years for his efforts for KC, so it’s not like he’s destitute. But still, in a world of pro sports where the mantra is still “Show me the money!” a story like Meche’s is, well, just amazing. And inspiring.
Do yourself a favor and take a couple of minutes and tell your young athletes this story. Twelve million dollars is a LOT of money, but sometimes, you have to ask yourself what’s the right thing to do.