Biting the Hand That Feeds You

Belk is a department store chain with 300 stores located in 16 states, mostly in the south. Because this is the kind of thing businesses do these days, Belk sponsors a post-season college football bowl game – the Belk Bowl.

Really has a poetic ring to it, doesn’t it?

This year the University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech University were invited to play in the game, and as a reward to the players, Belk gave them all a $450 gift card to spend in its stores and 90 minutes in which to spend it.

Apparently, college football players are only semi-amateurs.

Still, $450 to spend in a department store is nothing to sneeze at. It’s pretty generous, but one University of Arkansas player apparently decided it wasn’t generous enough and that he wanted more.

So he took more.

From the same Belk store that gave him the $450 gift.

Without permission.

"I play college football. I had no idea anyone would think that the rules that apply to other people apply to me, too."

“I play college football. I had no idea anyone would think that the rules that apply to other people apply to me, too.”

University of Arkansas player Jeremy Sprinkle was caught red-handed shoplifting: trying to sneak an additional $260 worth of merchandise out of the store. For reasons The Curmudgeon does not understand, Sprinkle wasn’t arrested and the store didn’t press charges.

Okay, The Curmudgeon wasn’t being honest there: he does understand why Sprinkle wasn’t arrested and the store didn’t press charges: because Sprinkle is a college football player and that means a lot of people believe he’s automatically entitled to special treatment.

And while the university suspended Sprinkle, thereby preventing him from playing in the glamorous Belk Bowl, its public statement about the suspension included this:

Throughout his career and this season as a graduate student-athlete, Jeremy has displayed numerous times the qualities we want to represent our program. We have standards within our family that must be upheld on a daily basis and unfortunately he failed to do that in the last week. Jeremy’s suspension isn’t drug, alcohol or violence related but one that will cause him to miss his final game as a Razorback.

Well, if it’s not for drugs, alcohol, or violence, that apparently means it’s not so bad to the people who run the University of Arkansas.

They should be ashamed of their student and ashamed of their response to his actions.

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