Just Kidding!

Thank goodness Bill â'The Kidder' Donovan lives in an alternate reality


by Tony Basilo

If only the sports world was the real world. If only. Try out this scenario in your world and see how it would fly. Let's say you're working in the food services industry and you're extremely good at what you do. You lead your company to two consecutive record years. I'm talking national record years! You become a hot commodity. So much so that your present employer comes to you midway through the second record year with a sweet raise and a new contract offer. You tell them you're not going anywhere but that you want to finish the year and focus on what you're accomplishing in this second banner year.

In the meantime, you're contacted by another company in the restaurant industry. It's not a competing restaurant-type since you're at an American cuisine chain while this one is in the fast-food business. Still, it will be a competitor for the discretionary dining dollar. You've always wondered what it would be like in the fast food industry. The job will pay more and have a greater title. You're intrigued. You know things can't go anywhere but down in your present job since you won't be able to keep up the pace due to some changes in personnel. Still you press onward and tell your present employer that you're not interested in going anywhere else. So, they take the time to prepare your offer at the end of your second banner year. Now you and your employer are ready to settle down and ink a new deal that will make you the most handsomely compensated restaurant operator in the American cuisine industry.

Your deal appears done. So much so that you're employer lets word leak out that you've reached an agreement. Then you're contacted by the fast-food chain, which offers a deal for 35 percent more money per year. This is your chance. It's what you've always wanted to do. So, after negotiating with your current employer to the point of a tentative agreement, you decide to bolt. It's a public jolt to your employer throughout the industry, as they will now be forced to bring in someone who surely won't be able to produce at your level.

The fast-food chain holds a press conference to announce that you're on board to take them to the next level. Not only are you on board verbally as you were with your previous employer, but you sign a contract. One that took several legal hours to produce. This is big time! The most mammoth decision of your professional life! You're now in rarified air as one of the highest paid executives in your industry. To celebrate, your new employer calls a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City to announce your hire. A slew of business media is on hand to cover the festivities. News of the hire spreads like wildfire through the national press. Now the world knows that you will be bringing your magic touch to a different outlet in your industry.

Less than 24 hours after taking that job, you feel conflicted. You feel like you've made a mistake. You made a hasty decision, but you've signed a contract. Your previous employer has moved on to the point of flying to meet your would-be successor during this time of conflicted emotions. So, tell me. What would happen to you? Would you be able to get out of the deal you signed? Would you be able to get your old job back? Would you be able to get a huge raise once you got your job back? Ah, let's see. No, no and no!

If only you worked in college sports! Billy â“The Kidderâ” Donovan made a mockery of the concept of character by pulling this exact charade on the University of Florida and the Orlando Magic of the NBA. Not only is his word mud, but his signature isn't worth the paper it's printed on. â“The Kidderâ” not only got out of his deal but he got his old job back (after stringing his employer along and breaking his word) with a huge raise! Not in my world. If I'm Jeremy Foley at Florida, I don't take Donovan back. Call that reactionary, but commitment and word must mean something. So does dealing in good faith.

Let's say next November Florida signs the top prep player in the country. Two days after National signing day, the young man decides that he made a mistake. He dropped the ball. He chose the wrong school. Do you think â“The Kidderâ” is going to let him out of his scholarship due to buyer's remorse?

For one thing, he can't since a signature on a National Letter Of Intent means at least the forfeiture of one year. On the other hand, Donovan would never let the kid go and would no doubt cite the importance of keeping one's word in the process. If only the young man lived in the world of Billy â“The Kidder.â” Unfortunately for him, he lives in our world. The real world. Where actions actually have consequences and people have to honor actual written commitments. If only.

Tune in and talk sports with Tony Basilio weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN Radio WVLZ 1180 AM.   Visit www.tonybasilio.com for more information.


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