It’s been a week since my last post… crazy-busy… I’ll explain later. However, this irritated me so much I had to write a quick something:
An article posted on Yahoo this morning reports that golfer J. P. Hayes basically disqualified himself from a tournament because he realized he broke a rule and he reported it to the golfing powers that be. He got a new ball out of his golf bag that was not the same brand he started the game with (2 stroke penalty for that) and then the following day realized that the ball in question was actually a prototype he tested for Titleist (grounds for disqualification.)
The author of this article is making the argument that the golfer has integrity because he jeopardized his career and income by being honest. Apparently it was a mistake that no one would have realized, had he not brought it to the attention of the officials.
The comments section for this article is peppered with posts implying that Hayes did it as a PR stunt, so that he would “look good” and then be better positioned to pick up endorsements; or they are leaving posts saying, “big deal… ya wanna talk hero? Pat Tillman left the NFL to go fight a war…”
All of this bugs me. Why automatically assume there is an ulterior motive for doing the right thing? Why brush off an honorable gesture by saying it isn’t honorable enough, or it’s small potatoes compared to someone else’s honorable gesture?
Not to get all preachy, but long before WWJD? became a recognized acronym, I thought in terms of what I called the Ethics Test. I had the boys check to see if something passed the Ethics Test by asking themselves this simple question:
Would I be embarrassed if Grandma (or my friend, or my dad, etc) knew that I did this?
If the answer is no, they wouldn’t be embarrassed – then go for it. If the answer to that question is yes, they know it’s probably a bad idea.
It is simple.
If people placed more ethical value on the little decisions we make everyday, this world would be a better place. What J.P. Hayes did was the right thing to do. The fact that it is being met with such surprise and analysis is a sad indicator of society’s failure to even ask WWJD?.