Athlete commits felony – felony is committed by athlete – athlete gains nickname ‘felony.’
All are viable headlines in today’s media.
Pacman Jones and Chris Henry have done athletes no favors lately with their much-publicized run-ins with the law.
But I refuse to focus on the few bad apples that inevitably permeate the sports world. I believe there are more white hats than black hats in sports.
For example, recently-retired Kansas City Chief Will Shields is more than a mountain of a guard – he’s a mountain of a person.
He has his own private charity, The Will to Succeed Foundation, and has also helped out with Operation Breakthrough, in addition to countless other fundraisers and community service projects.
Dikembe Mutombo of the NBA’s Houston Rockets has carved out a fine career on-court, rejecting shots with his patented finger wag. Off court, he has established the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation and has donated over $15 million of his own money towards the establishment of a desperately-needed hospital in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Derek Jeter, baseball superstar, has his own foundation called Turn 2 which has awarded over $7 million to different charitable and community service programs.
And it’s not only individual athletes who get involved, entire leagues do. The NFL is partnered with groups such as The United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Scholastic Inc. The MLB is also partnered with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The NBA has a multitude of programs including Read to Achieve and Basketball without Borders, and whenever the NBA fines a player, the money collected is donated to charities.
It would be nice if every once in awhile the media would replace an athlete’s fourth DUI story with a piece featuring an athlete who has touched hundreds of lives with their generosity.
Let’s make wearing a white hat bigger news than peeing on a building.