“My stomach hurts so I’m looking for a purse to snatch.” – Tupac Shakur, “Changes”
I had a story pointed out to me today about four UGA football players getting caught stealing tuition checks and my immediate reaction was, literally, “womp womp.” Such is the nature of my intense hatred for all things University(sic) of Georgia.
But then I actually delved into the article from Athens Banner-Herald and one little sentence hit me with an overwhelming sense of sadness:
The checks were each in the amount of $71.50 and the total loss is valued at $786.50.
The obvious, easy stance is obvious and easy: stealing is wrong. These guys are idiots. I can’t believe they’d jeopardize their futures for a few measly dollars. MORONS!
But that’s not how I received that bit of news. So forgive me for what may be an unpopular stance, but it goes something like this: how desperate were these kids that they’d steal $70 checks?? They have to know what would happen to them if they ever got caught, and it’s not like it’s a life-changing amount of money that would make it worth the repercussions. Maybe – MAYBE – if they got even a small stipend, they wouldn’t have found themselves in a situation where stealing $70 checks seemed like a worthwhile endeavor.
Time and time again we hear stories of college athletes – FAMOUS college athletes – who don’t even have enough money in their pockets to take their girlfriends to the movies. Athletes who get caught taking a hundred bucks from somebody because they can’t afford to buy groceries for the week. They’re quite literally living out the famous lyrics from Tupac: stomachs hurting, looking for purses to snatch.
I’m not trying to say stealing is the solution. What I’m saying is what are we doing when we’re sitting idly by, watching old rich dudes get older and richer off the bodes of young, poor kids? Mark Richt is going to make almost $3 million this year. Half the UGA fan base DOESN’T EVEN LIKE HIM. Meanwhile, Tray Matthews, Jonathan Taylor, James DeLoach, and Uriah LeMay are about to have their lives changed because they tried to steal $786.50.
Pay them already.