The emerging controversy over the star New York Mets baseball pitcher Matt Harvey demonstrates lessons valuable for those of us who negotiate, investigate or resolve disputes for a living.
The player's attitude stands in stark contrast to that of some of his teammates, of whom one cried during a game after learning he was about to be traded.
SO WHAT IS HARVEY'S MISTAKE HERE
It's the second point to take away from this story was alluded to earlier. The inability to plan, and especially after the monitoring and attempts at cooperation, leads to two theories (not conclusions). First, the Mets now know there is no ability to plan with or around Harvey...not this year, not for the future...and secondly, that is so because his honesty, his forthrightness, is now and must now (plus the future) be suspect.
Matt Harvey is not a young man anymore. He is 26, not 18. He could and should have been more forthright about his concerns much earlier, because that would have allowed his team to plan accordingly.
Matt Harvey denied his team, his employer, that opportunity to plan, and by doing so, he has comprised -- if not willingly damaged -- his team's ability to win. Read that again: that is a serious charge, but the behavior and implicit messages from Harvey (or his agent Scott Boras) warrant it.
Why he did it is actually irrelevant. Here's why. The cover story is health. But that is the front put up, the position concocted to knock down criticism -- how can you make me pitch when I'm concerned about injury? Just know it's a rhetorical trick. Many skilled judges and lawyers see through it (almost no jurors do, however).
Matt Harvey has a contract. Yet the suggestion by his agent Boras -- as to whom observers are entitled to assume speaks with the authority and permission of Harvey -- is that Harvey will withhold his services, not directly refusing but rather by using a hard-to-argue-with fear of injury excuse. But his prior history, his own prior statements, raise serious credibility questions that are value-damaging, credibility-damaging, relationship-damaging and constitute breaches of duty.