National Columnist

This wasn't crablegs: Welker walked off with $15K that wasn't his

Here's why Wes Welker should give back the $15,000 that Churchill Downs mistakenly overpaid him at the Kentucky Derby:

Because it's the right thing to do.

Nothing more, nothing less. A business gave Welker more money than he earned. He should give it back. Open, shut.

It matters not that the business is a gambling operation. It matters not that any of us can come up with all manner of hypothetical nonsense to defend the definite $15,000 that Welker unfairly kept.

What matters is this: Wes Welker won some money at the Derby. He went to a machine to get his money. The machine gave him his money … and $15,000 extra.

Give it back.

This is a wiring issue for all of us. Either you get the hives if a cashier gives you a nickel too much in return, or you do not. Welker is apparently wired to accept $15,000 that isn't his, leave the track handing out $100's that aren't his -- accepting the adulation of strangers for being such a great guy -- and then mock the very idea, days later, that he should return what was never his.

I don't begrudge professional athletes, or anyone else, their salary. You earn what you earn, and more power to anyone who can earn millions. But I absolutely begrudge a professional athlete who earns millions of dollars every year but can't be bothered to return $15,000 he didn't earn. You know the difference between Jameis Winston and Publix, and Wes Welker and Churchill Downs?

Welker made off with a lot more than Winston did. And Welker collected a $3 million roster bonus in March.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.
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