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“No good deed goes unpunished” is a popular quote, and is an appropriate subtitle for this article. While we give something sometime, its essential we ask ourselves: do we do enough?
Way back in the day, at church, we would pass the offering plate while the pastor was making an appeal to the congregation. He’d say something heart-warming, appealing, emotional, then provide details of what the money was for and how much we needed. On more than one occasion, after the money had been collected and quickly counted, the pastor would come back up and make another impassioned plea for more funds. Frequently, a third trip to the altar was needed to ensure the funds collected and the funds needed were fairly close. The point of his messages on each subsequent trip to the pulpit was this: “Thanks for your sacrifice, and while I/we appreciate you willingly giving towards our cause, it simply isn’t sufficient and I know you can do better! I beg you to do better! I implore you to give more, give until it hurts!” In a day and age where many African-Americans enjoy some measure of financial success and economic stability, it’s fair to ask the question: Do rich Afro-Americans give enough?
Recently, 3 stories caught my attention. To quickly summarize, the stories had a shared narrative of wealthy black athletes and their recent philanthropic initiatives. While they gave, the question begs to be asked: Did they give enough? Lets take a look at these stories and you decide:
Michael Jordan – Estimated net worth 1.9 Billion. Owned the Charlotte Hornets since 2010. Has been scrutinized in the past over his lack of financial involvement in helping and furthering Black causes.
Jordan donated $7.2 million in order to help open up the two new Novant Health Clinics in Charlotte. He acknowledged that while he will always have his connections to “Illinois and other places”, he knows “where it all begins”, referring to North Carolina, as MJ grew up Wilmington.
To whom much is given, much is expected. For a billionaire, is this a sufficient donation for a community lacking many essential necessities? Is MJ pledging continual support or is this a tax write-off and publicity stunt? Questions deserve answers.
Shaquille O’Neal – Estimated net worth of 400 million, earns approximately 60 million per year from endorsement deals and a wide variety of investments, including Papa Johns franchises.
Headline: Shaquille O’Neal provides home to woman whose son was shot at football game
Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has donated a home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was shot at a football game and paralyzed from the chest down.
12-yo Isaiah Payton was shot at a football game and paralyzed from the chest down.
According to Shaq, “She was living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two boys, so we found her a house in a nice area.”
Two members of the board of pizza chain Papa John’s are also contributing funds, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has shown support for the effort.
The point: Buried in the details of the story are the facts that matter. Shaq is pooling together money to pay the rent for a year and also furnish the home. Will the boy be unparalyzed in a year? Will the mother be back at work in a year? How many rich people does it take to pay rent for a year?
This act seems to be more about publicity and attention that supporting a good cause.This is the equavalent of me and a few friends raising $200 then calling a press conference to talk about it.
Harrison Barnes and his wife (plays for the Sacremento Kings, previously played for Dallas Maverics), Malik Jackson (plays for the Philadelphia Eagles)
Headline: Harrison Barnes, Malik Jackson paying for funeral of woman killed in home by police officer
Barnes and his wife, Brittany, are covering more than half of the cost of the service, and Jackson is paying for the remainder, Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Jefferson’s family, told the Dallas Morning News.
Again, how many millionare’s are needed to cover funeral expenses? Why was this info (who is paying for the funeral) leaked to the media? In my opinion, this is the worst type of exploitation. I believe if Atatiana Jefferson could weigh in on the situation, she would not be in favor of wealthy athletes using this unfortunate event to gain publicity and name recognition. The bigger question, however, is why two millionares are going “dutch” on covering funeral expenses.
Is it wrong to expect better from those who can afford to do more?