July 2006 Ethics Dunces
Allen Ray Heckard
This one is too obvious, but it is also too egregious to ignore. Mr. Heckard has been aggravated repeatedly (he says) by strangers who think the 6 foot tall airport shuttle driver and auto detailer with a prison record for drug possession is the half-foot taller basketball icon Michael Jordan. (When a reporter visited Heckard's Portland, Oregon community and asked a man who lived across the street from Heckard if his neighbor really looked like Michael Jordan, the man answered, "Which neighbor?" But just for argument's sake, we'll take Heckard at his word.) Finally, Heckard had enough. So he decided the right thing to do was to sue…not the idiots who think he's Mike, but Jordan himself, and Nike founder and Jordan marketer Phil Knight. Why? Well, they have a lot of money, for one thing (he's suing each for $416 million dollars), and the greedy producers of cable news and sports shows are more likely to give publicity to a guy who sues Michael Jordan than the guy who sues the boobs who don't know Michael Jordan from, say, an airport shuttle driver.
Is there any logic under the stars that would justify blaming Jordan and Knight for Heckard's alleged plight? Absolutely none; we know this because no lawyer would take his case, and some lawyer will take virtually any case if there is a one in a thousand chance that a jury will feel gullible and generous. So Heckard is representing himself as he attempts to use the court system to extort money out of two men who have absolutely no responsibility for Heckard's troubles. Heckard apparently is blissfully unaware of the principle of mitigation of damages; he could easily stop the mistaken identity problem if he stopped shaving his head a la Jordan, or wore a moustache, or maybe stopped wearing a T-shirt that said "I am Michael Jordan!" (this last is sheer speculation on my part, but it would explain a lot.) He apparently believes that it is up to Jordan to alter his appearance, or something…finding even an irrational justification for this lawsuit is a challenge.
But the verdict on this case is not: Allen Ray Heckard is guilty of being an Ethics Dunce.
And he doesn't even look like Michael Jordan!