Michael Wilbon [Sports, Oct. 15] says that Peter Warrick, in stealing $400 worth of merchandise, is just "trading on his celebrity" and likens it to four VIPs getting a free round of golf. He asks us, "Tell me the difference." The difference is that the owner of an establishment is free to do whatever he wants with his business. This isn't the case with Warrick (if it was, it would just be an NCAA violation and not a criminal action). He conspired with a store employee to steal the merchandise.
Wilbon also seems to think the crime should be divisible by the number of perpetrators. So, instead of Warrick and his former teammate stealing $400, they really took only $200 apiece, and the crimes should be treated as misdemeanors. Applying that logic to other crimes, would beating up a third of a person be a felony or a misdemeanor?
Michael Wilbon is guilty of the very thing he condemns in our society: excusing the bad behavior of a sports celebrity. It is Peter Warrick's "sense of entitlement," not the felony theft charge against him, that is "stupid beyond words." A fifth-year senior at Florida State University should be able to do the math: a generous "discount at the register" would be paying $320 on $400 worth of clothing; $21 is theft.
For the most part, I agree with Michael Wilbon's views on Peter Warrick. But I must take exception to his comment that "everybody is making money off college sports except the people producing the action on the fields and courts." Warrick is going to Florida State thanks to a substantial athletic scholarship. Compared with pro sports, that may seem like chicken feed. But to this middle-class father of two high school kids who is struggling to figure out how to scrape up the money to pay for college, it is insulting to hear about how college athletes are not getting anything for their efforts.