March 7, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jim Irsay, owner of the colts, releases star athlete quarterback Peyton Manning. News reported that Irsay released Manning on the 7th to save paying him a $28 million bonus on the 8th. Manning is now looking for work, like the other 46 million unemployed people.
I do not know Peyton Manning, only his image. By all appearances, he is thoughtful, kind, considerate, gracious, intelligent, generous, and self-effacing. I am not a football fan. Any sport that terrorizes a person’s bones, muscles and brain tissue, is not what I classify as “entertainment” or “sport.” But one does not have to be a fan or know much about football to know what a profoundly gifted, highly talented athlete Payton Manning personifies. He made the Colts. He classed them up and made them winners.
In fact, he pretty much made Indianapolis better, too. He certainly inspired the nation to look upon this city as “cool” for having Manning ours. Maybe…or maybe not…he truly did influence the building of the new stadium. Maybe…or maybe not…he influenced the hosting of the Super Bowl. I say maybe…and maybe. In other words, Manning is a treasure.
Irsay, on the other hand is the worst of bosses. He thinks “money for me” not those lesser-known employment assets called talent, integrity, loyalty, respect, and honor. If Irsay’s bank account was in the red, I’d sympathize and understand what a tough decision it had to be, to release Manning. But as it is, I am pretty sure it is not. And I am pretty sure Irsay should change careers and become the CEO of a healthcare insurance company. He has all the indications he would ask himself this question daily: “How can I take away from those now vulnerable to make me some more of that money I so love above all else?”
A $28 million bonus. BONUS.
That offends me. Until this country starts demanding sanity in its currently skewered distribution of wealth, the 46 million people out of work will remain out of work. The millions without healthcare will remain uncared for. The millions (including children) malnourished and starving IN OUR COUNTRY will stay hungry. Schools will stay underfunded and the dumbing down of America will speed up. $28 million BONUS. INFURIATING.
So. Irsay could not go to Manning and say, “I want to keep you. You didn’t play all season. I don’t want to pay you the bonus.” Irsay and Manning could not have worked something out? Maybe Irsay asked, I don’t know. But if he had, I suspect Manning would have accepted a compromise that suited both. Manning seems, any way, to get the “fairness” element in life.
Sure, sure, I get the “rebuilding” of the Colts, fresh young talent, yada yada. But moreso, I get doing the right thing only because it’s the right thing to do. And releasing Manning like he is a dead fish is not my idea of the right thing.
Indianapolis had a star athlete who gave back so much to his team and the community. Manning’s not an idiot; he knows that youth is key to such a physical career as football. He knows his time is limited. He deserved to see the ending of one career graciously easing into the next.
I say that not because Manning is a star athlete and it’s football. I am saying it because he reminds me of so many others who are struggling with companies who only care about the bottom line…who outsource not only jobs, but loyalty, dedication and commitment. Each human being who has worked for a company to the best of her/his ability deserves respect and honor for the time and effort spent towards the company’s mission and goals. Each human being deserves to be given honorable options and not just dumped.
I know Indianapolis will miss Manning. I know Manning will do just fine, thank you. I just wish it had not gone down the way it did. Manning gave us reason to hold our head high. Irsay gave us reason to bend it in shame.
Copyright March 8, 2012 St.John