I think it was in the 1990s that Chicago public schools announced they were suspending all extracurricular activities due to, what else, financial reasons. Note: When it actually occurred I can’t say because as I get older, what I think happened a few years ago, in reality was 10 years ago. What I do remember is that Isiah Thomas and Mark Aguirre were playing in the NBA.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard the Chicago story was, “How can all the NBA guys from Chicago allow this awful decision to happen?” Add on the NFL, MLB or other professional athletes from the Windy City for that matter? Why aren’t Chicago-schooled musicians, actors, lawyers and anyone else who is making big money today - or even just living a comfortable life - not up in arms about the extracurricular opportunities that they took advantage of being eliminated from those who followed them? Didn’t it ever cross the minds of those making “big bank” that, had the activities been cut while they were in school, they might be in some other, less opulent, line of work.
Today, so many athletes are making such wonderful charitable acts, e.g. all the “foundations” that are set up. Sure, the donors receive tax breaks but why should that upset anybody? As long as the charity is legit, e.g. it’s not being used as a means of putting family members or “homies” on a payroll, and the people who need it are being helped, the givers ought to receive a tax break. In many instances the charity might exist only because a financial adviser told his client to set one up but, once again, who cares the reason as long as people less fortunate are getting assistance. Whether anonymous or because the donor wants the attention shouldn’t matter either. Just let those with more help those with less.
Many fans think it should be mandatory that players should use their celebrity and money to help those who are less fortunate. While it may not be fair, it would be great if they did. In fact if more of this were done, there would be no need to mandate the “rich” take care of others, a much more controversial solution.
A Washington Post reader wrote a letter to the paper about an act of kindness he saw while having lunch one day this past fall. A homeless guy was outside a sandwich shop, asking passersby if they could “spare a sandwich.” About 25 minutes later, the Washington Wizards’ first round pick, Georgetown’s Otto Porter, Jr. drove up, entered the store and came out with his lunch - and one for the homeless man. But the story gets better (assuming you think it’s good up to now). Porter sat down, ate alongside the guy and chatted it up.
In the Post story it said “there is probably much more of this happening that we know of with other athletes, and it is cool to see that Porter did this. He likely wasn’t thinking ’someone is watching me,’ which is the best kind of charity.”
When I was an assistant at USC one part of the pregame meal always consisted of lasagna. A huge tray would be brought out and guys would take a section. Whenever the tray was nearly empty, a new one, of identical size, would be brought out. Inevitably, one or two servings would be taken and we’d leave the room. After I saw this a couple times, I asked the person cleaning up what was done with the remainder of the food that was left over. She told me it was thrown away. I imagine the help might have eaten some but, with all the catering that went on, that would still be a great deal of wasted food. A shame, especially in a place like LA, with the homeless problem that exists there. Heck, we ate half our pregame meals at home.
I asked the woman why they didn’t give the leftover food to the homeless and was informed it was against the law, the reason being that since we paid for it, they were not allowed to give it to someone else. The only way to “beat the system” would be for us to sign a waiver, stating that it was okay for the hotel to give it to a homeless shelter. The hotels were often being solicited by such places for food. “Where do I sign?”