It is an opening scene that ranks as one of the finest in all of cinema. The entire foundation of The Godfather Trilogy and all that it entails, is laid-out near the end of the scene in just a 25 second moment of brilliant dialogue:
Timeless. Now if only everyone picked up on the lesson of that pivotal moment, especially the athletes, coaches, and staff at the University of Miami over the last 8, or maybe even 28 years.
The story of Nevin Shapiro and his role as a “booster” for the University of Miami athletic department, and especially his lavishing “impermissible benefits” to over 70 players (allegedly) has exploded over the last two weeks. Though there are countless angles, issues and of course shades of fact and fiction, one of the real lessons is timeless – there is a cost to everything. Much as the Godfather made clear to Bonasera – someday he might, or might not, come to him for a favor, Nevin Shapiro’s “gifts” did not come without strings. Maybe it was not stated, but even the most naive know there is no such thing as a free lunch.
You shake hands with the devil, there will be a day of reckoning. Shapiro’s Ponzi scheme collapsed, he was sent to prison. He clearly needed to call in some favors. Current NFL players, former and current Hurricane players and students, university officials, coaches, and others we will probably never know, took what he was offering when times were good. The time came for him to call in the favors. And now here they all are – exposed for the world to see. It is not wise to refuse the Godfather when he comes calling.