Accounting Ethics (and fraud)

Postings by Art Berkowitz on ethics and fraud. Most of them are serious, but sometimes we also need to have a little fun.

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Location: Orange County, California, United States

Art Berkowitz, C.P.A. is an author, speaker, and consultant from Orange County, California. He writes ethics, fraud, and accounting courses (CPE) for accountants and other financial professionals. Art has also written a weekly online column for The Wall Street Journal and a book on the Enron debacle. To order any of his self-study courses go to

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Story of Moral Courage

In a sad, but uplifting story, I am writing this entry to tell you about the passing away of one of my hometown football legends who was much more than a great athlete. His name was Joe Brodsky. Joe passed away this past Thursday, May 25, after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 71. Joe played for the FIRST local Miami football team ever to beat Miami High School. Miami High was a national power that in the earlier days of the 20th century often played junior college teams or out-of-state powerhouses, because there was no one locally who could compete with them.

Joe was an All American high school player at Miami Jackson High school and then became an All American college player at the University of Florida. If you go on the University of Florida website, you will find that some of his records still stand today! For over 40 years, his record for interception return yardage stood as an NCAA record.

But his greatest accomplishments were as a coach and family man.

As coach, he led two different high schools to state championships - Miami Jackson and Hialeah Miami Lakes - and then was a coach of an NCAA (University of Miami) and a Super Bowl championship team (Dallas Cowboys). He is the only coach to have ever done that! (That's a good trivia question).

Joe helped develop numerous running backs who went on to successful pro careers. While at the Dallas Cowboys, he coached Herschel Walker and helped develop Emmitt Smith and Daryl Johnston, both of whom won Pro Bowl accolades. He also had a tremendous sense of humor and provided an honest and forthright assessment of what took place during a game or at the team’s practice. Reporters often sought him out for quotes for the next morning's news.

Joe also had two children who became star athletes after playing for him in high school. He had the added pleasure of coaching the Hialeah Miami Lakes football team to a state championship with his son Joe, Jr. playing quarterback and his other son, Larry, playing receiver. In an interesting twist of fate, Larry played with Herschel Walker when they both were with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL and played on the first USFL game ever televised.

For a coach to be monetarily successful, he has to be willing to constantly move from job to job and city to city. What impressed me most about Joe was that he turned down numerous offers so that he would not have his family traipsing around the country, even though he saw some of his closest friends become nationally recognized sports figures. One of them, Lee Corso, played high school football with Joe. Lee is one of the most prominent broadcasters in college football today and previously had successful stints at several colleges across the country. Lee could often be found over Joe’s house. I remember seeing them both at Thanksgiving dinner on more than one occasion. But Joe was satisfied being a great teacher and a wonderful husband and father.

How do I know all of this? You see Joe Brodsky was also my cousin and someone I am proud to say I knew. Joe was truly a man of moral courage.

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