San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt had every legal right to keep the money when a clerical error resulted in him getting paid $500,000 more than expected in 2010.
But under the advice of his agent (and his conscience), he ended up returning the money to the team, Affeldt says in his new book.
“Affeldt was set to earn $4 million in 2010 under an existing contract with the Giants when they negotiated a two-year, $10 million extension. When the 2010 amount was rewritten into the new contract, someone made a clerical error and typed $4.5 million instead. The Giants and Affeldt signed it without recognising the mistake.”
Affeldt says his agent, the players’ association, and the general manager of the team said he could legally keep it.
“I won’t sleep well at night knowing I took that money because every time I open my paycheck I’ll know it’s not right,” Affeldt said. He reworked the contract so the $500,000 was removed.
With so much money at stake, these sorts of errors are rare in sports, but not entirely unprecedented.
NFL player Elvis Dumervil lost millions and had to sign with a different team last winter after he faxed in his signed contract extension a few minutes after the deadline.
In 2003, Miami Heat guard Cartier Martin lost $4.1 million on a similar fax machine fiasco.
We’re not sure we’ve ever seen an error like this benefit a player, and we certainly haven’t seen one give the money back.
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