If you have mixed emotions about the leniency extended to former NBA star and Auburn University assistant basketball coach Chuck Person this week, you’re not alone. While others embroiled in the widespread bribery scandal received varying amounts of time in prison, Person was sentenced to probation and community service.
The federal judge who sentenced Person cited his history of generosity for her leniency. "The worst thing you have to say is that you were charitable to a fault," she said. “Keep it up.”
On one hand, one has to wonder what sort of message that sends to others who may fall sway to easy money on the other side of the law.
However, the judge makes a salient point: no purpose would be served by incarcerating Chuck Person, she said.
We like to think that Person’s travails can be instructive to others, not only through a generosity that eroded the former NBA players $23 million in lifetime earnings, but through his contrition and 200 hours of community service mandated during his two-year probation.
Person has an opportunity to set an example. Let’s hope he makes the best of it.