I love the movie, Jerry Maguire. He’s a sports agent, and he begins to realize that the industry that he is working in is deservedly having the reputation for dishonesty. He writes a “mission statement”, and circulates it to his co-workers in order to urge them to join him in getting back to the heart of the business (and by default, restore faith to it). He was fired, but went on to start his own agency that would operate with the principles in his mission statement. Hard-going at first, I suspect, because people were used to the way things were established by that point. Change is hard for us humans to decide to do, and even harder to actually do. In the end, due to his perseverance and insistence that “we’ll stay afloat” (things were financially tight with only one client), Jerry is able to help instill change in his client, in the perceptions of the fans (for a game), in the team owner renegotiating his client’s contract, and even in surrounding athletes who realize they are missing something with their representation. Love it, because I too believe as Margaret Mead did, that “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
To my friends, and the new ones I’ve met through this site, I so appreciate all of your contributions to the site. Moreover, I appreciate your ideas to create and formulate this site, your time spent in actually creating it, and your dedication in helping to spread awareness of activities that need to change and end.
As many of you have heard me say, the circumstances that I have found myself in for the past two years are not ones that I would have chosen for myself. They chose me. Just as my business partner chose the actions that she did, I too had a choice as to how to respond. Through her attorneys, Darlyn R. McLaughlin and David B. Shapiro in Baltimore, MD, offers were made to me to “settle” the case. In each instance, I needed no time to think about it and simply waited for them to finish offering so that I could clearly tell them “there will be NO settlement”. What people don’t understand is that settling doesn’t actually make the issue go away. It only makes it not go forward in court. Our society has gotten used to taking the perceived easy way out, the path of least resistance, and the road where you get as much as you can while doing the least amount of work. While some of my friends were of the same mindset as me (“no way, you won’t settle. you’ve done nothing wrong.”), others were growing tired of hearing of the antics and, wishing for me to get on with my life, urged me to “give her what she wants”. My views are more in line with Henry David Thoreau: “The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.” Had I settled, the things shown on this site (and the other issues that have yet to appear) would have likely forever been hidden. Not settling was not easy, but it WAS the best thing ultimately.
I have a son. Parents have the job of trying their best to raise their kids so that they will be best-equipped to handle “life” as each of us experience it. More important than the words that come out of my mouth, are the ACTIONS that he sees me do. He is watching me, whether I realize it or not, and he has been learning from me how he could (if he chooses to) maneuver in his life in the future. I have always taken that responsibility seriously. It means that I don’t just make my decisions for my own benefit, but for his future benefit as well. Life is not going to be easy for him. And the things that he will truly value, will be those things that he will find he had to work hard for (with the exception of my love, hopefully). My son will do great things in the world, because I encourage him not to take that path of least resistance. And he doesn’t see me taking it either. Not only does HE deserve that from me, but it’s also my contribution to the change I want to see in the world.
Do we live in a perfect world, with perfect people? Far from it. I’m certainly not perfect either, and have my flaws. I have been fortunate to have the family background that I had, that led me to have the strong convictions that I do about living with integrity and being a person of character who DOES SOMETHING about “wrong” when I encounter it. The personal integrity of the people featured on this website is their own to go to sleep with each night. While some talk of “Karma”, I prefer to think simply that “what goes around comes around”, and that “what has been done in the dark will be brought to the light”. To the extent that issues come that directly affect me, as the actions of my business partner, her various legal counsels and many other people yet to be featured on this site have, I have felt compelled to share the information with my friends (old and new) so that together, we can help make the change that Margaret Meade wrote about. From the comments on this site, it would appear that people are understanding that this “story” is not just mine, but belongs to you also since it ultimately is affecting you. Craftsmanship, and doing one’s job with integrity (caring enough to do so), extends far beyond the one-on-one encounter between the two initial parties of any transaction. Short cuts create inferior products. Doing just enough to get by, breeds an entitlement mentality, which leads to greed. We all end up paying more than was necessary when that happen. This site showcases that. It happens with bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion, mortgage fraud, military BAH fraud, disability fraud, false statements under penalty of perjury, witness tampering, voter registration fraud, and even marriage fraud in the “Sin City” of Vegas. There is more, thanks to all of YOUR efforts, but this list is long enough!
A girl can dream. That craftsmanship, integrity, ethics, good character, honesty and plain-old “doing the right thing even when no one else is looking”, will be the rule instead of the exception. I hope that in my son’s lifetime, he will live in a world where you don’t have to “trust but verify” in order to protect yourself. As one person commented: with patience and persistence, anything can be done. Thanks for the reminder.
In the meantime, Thoreau had it right.
A link to Jerry Maguire’s “mission statement” is HERE.
Apparently, it was inspired by a letter written by the (then-head of Disney) Jeffrey Katzenberg to his fellow execs. He left Disney 3 years later, and started Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Read HERE. It is long.