Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meche did the right thing by retiring

So, you think all professional athletes are greedy prima donnas?
The actions of Gil Meche beg to differ.
Meche retired on Tuesday, walking away from $12 he would have earned had he stayed with the Kansas City Royals this year.
At the age of 32, Meche stepped away from the game rather than face shoulder surgery.
And he didn’t have to, that’s the best part.
Meche could have gone through rehabilitation, sat on his kiester all year and just pocketed the $12 million he was due as the final installment of the 5-year, $55 million contract he signed back in 2006.
He could have had surgery on the Royals’ dime and sat in a LazyBoy recliner for the next 12 months and earned a million per to do little more than flip through the stations on the widescreen television he BETTER own as a well-payed baseball player.
Instead, he said, “no thanks.”
What a refreshing deviation from the norm.
This is part of what Meche said in stepping away:
“As a competitor my entire life this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, but it’s not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore. I came into this game as a starting pitcher and unfortunately my health, more accurately, my shoulder, has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option and at this stage of my life I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract.”
Kudos to him for re-establishing at least a small shred of decency that so many professional athletes seem to lack.
Gil Meche probably won’t get the credit he deserves for his actions because he’s not a marquee name.
Maybe those with marquee names should pay attention to Meche’s actions, because it’s clear he respects the game to the point where he can walk away from $12 million he didn’t feel he could earn.
It’s $12 million he could still have pocketed, but he chose not to.
For that, he deserves a tip of the cap and more credit than he likely is willing to accept.
Pro sports needs more Gil Meches.

-John Kampf


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