Cheap And Mean

I have remarked in previous posts about a pet peeve of mine, to wit, the tendency of wealthy athletes to keep a tight grip on their money and rarely give any of it away to worthy causes.  I  noted exceptions to the rule. But I also made mention of Phil Mickelson’s outrage when confronted by the fact that the state in which he lives — California — had the audacity to pass a law requiring the wealthy to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. He even threatened to move. Heaven forbid that the money should go to things like education, health care, and police and fire protection! That would be a dangerous precedent indeed.

There are exceptions, as I have noted, though they do tend to target causes that are close to the athlete’s heart — such as Ernie Els’ devotion to the cause of autistic children because he has one of his own. There are also those who seem to be able to see beyond their own noses, such as young Rickie Fowler, the golfer who looks like a cartoon character with flat-brimmed golf caps color-coordinated with his entire outfit, which is almost always in a garish colors, such as bright orange. The young man does seem to want to call attention to himself. But he also wants to do good with his money as he did recently at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Ft. Worth, Texas when he pledged $100,000 of his own money for tornado relief in Oklahoma. At the time the announcement was made we were also told that a group of five golfers (who will remain nameless out of a sense of decency) pledged $100.00 for every birdie and $200.00 for every eagle they collectively scored at the tournament.

Two things bother me about this latter “pledge.” To begin with, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Birdies are extremely rare and eagles are as well. This pledge is not unlike a person promising $1,000.00 to a charity predicated on his winning the lottery. These five golfers are playing the odds. The chances are very good this “pledge” will cost them nothing. But even if it did, the dollars they have pledged amount to petty cash. For men in their income bracket this is small change, something they could easily reach into their pockets and peel off without blinking an eye. Why would anyone make such a hollow pledge in the face of genuine human suffering? When there are people in real need so many of those who could help seem to turn the other way and check their bank accounts to make sure it hasn’t been diminished in any way by some foolish gesture they might have made after a couple of martinis. It does give one pause, since one might argue that those who are in a position to help others in need have a responsibility to do so. Indeed, I would argue this, which is why this sort of thing is a pet peeve of mine — as you may have guessed.

Alongside the generous, caring athletes like Fowler there are those who seem to have no conscience whatever and who even seem to be mocking those who genuinely care — in a world where and at a time when we need those who care for others more than ever.

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4 thoughts on “Cheap And Mean

  1. Good post and well said. The people in lower economic strata tend to give a higher percentage of their income to others than those in higher ones. Recognizing the golf tour does a lot for the communities where tournaments are run, I do wish golfers and others would be more open and significant with their efforts like Bono, Angelina Jolie or George Clooney do. The latter walk the talk. BTG

  2. This goes to the heart of the “I built it all myself” mentality. A classic “I got mine, screw you mentality.” My fellow Californians would be happy, no would encourage Milkeson to please move. How about to Texas, with a low tax rate, and some of the lowest education and medical scores in the country? I used to be a huge fan, no more.

    Some of the big “talent” in sports or entertainment have had so much smoke blown up their a– they truly believe they are special gifts to mankind. They are where they are because of the rest of us, and they need to learn to give back.

    Good post

  3. Yes, their token pledges do seem quite insensitive and haughty; why, i wonder, couldn’t those who have so much be hands-on helping those in need? setting an example by saying,,”come on folks, wake up.. let’s roll up our sleeves and go help!” …isn’t it odd that people help those that they know, but they ignore those nameless people who are enduring hardships?

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