For my profession (commentator for Ziggo at NBA basketball games) I have to keep up with that world, as good and as evil as it can get. Until (maybe) to be played again.
The NBA is in fact in July to release an almost crazy looking plan on the sports world where all 30 teams from Disney World in Orlando, Fl. to play. Each team has its own hotel, its own transport and without an audience. Probably three or four games per team per week. Television all over the world. So I read a lot of news about ‘facts’ from that world for half an hour a day. Are there players who are ‘positive’, who are already training again (11 of the 30 teams), where are actions going on?
Helping poor families
Today’s catch: The Miami Heat plus four more donate $ 50,000 to help poor Miami families feed their pets. Washington coach Scott Brooks shaved his head. By his daughter, of course, and he paid her $ 50,000 for that haircut and shave. For her charity projects. Utah Jazz’s Mike Conley donated $ 200,000 for the food banks in the poor suburbs of Salt Lake City. Ex-star Magic Johnson has a large company in which a financial branch is doing a good job these days. His company borrows at almost no interest for (mind you) $ 100 million in businesses run by minorities or women who have run into problems from COVID-19.
Pat Connaughton (who you certainly don’t know) from the Milwaukee Bucks hosted a ‘Doing Good Radiothon’ at ESPN Wisconsin and raised $ 205,859 in 11 hours of talk and record (turn); money going to food banks in Wisconsin. Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets was the « star cook » in a big campaign to thank Los Angeles hospital staff for their commitment and provide them and their families with healthy and good meals. Westbrook previously gave more than 6 million to other organizations. Yes, this is the one-day catch and that’s how it continues: Not only professional basketball players, but baseball players, football players, ice hockey players and soccer players are all somehow getting money sent to the poorest people in the USA.
They’ll do it
Nowhere in the world does that happen in such a way as in that crazy country; it is done diligently, always in the spotlight, of course from a good heart and of course from a well-stocked own fair. It’s easier for Westbrook to give away 6 million than for De Graafschap’s right back, to put it simply. The fact is that all those sports people DO it there in America.
I always immediately think (and not only in these corona days) why should it be in the newspaper or via tweets, why are there cameras, why can’t it be tacit? If you, reader, transfer 50 Euro to a foundation that gives vagrants a good meal in Utrecht or Goes, it will still be done anonymously, without mention in the newspaper, without a funny interview at Radio1 or a nice video at Beau. Well-known people, celebrities, people at the top tend to have their generous gifts always accompanied by the ‘publicity’ watermark. Perhaps not always on their own, but also helped (?), Or directed by managers and / or agents. Nor is it said that all celebrities or celebrities do this, I add. Or?
However, in North American society and also in the world of top sport it has become ‘normal’ to support your generosity by publicity. You can think of the why and sometimes you can also see in our parts that it is already becoming commonplace: famous Dutch people who have done something nice for pathetic oldies in these days, see that gladly back in a sympathetic film (‘what was further noticed at Op1.
Or is it big world news when a singer, artist or footballer offers flowers to an old woman who has been forgotten by the cabinet and who is languishing somewhere on the third floor of a home? Sometimes watching such a video is reason to become very depressed and not to like the people who are ‘known’ there as hard-core.
I leaf through the newspaper (Trouw) and fall into the mud of Benjamin Smith, Canadian and quite discredited, because… money. Bonus. Suppose it is morally defensible that the bonus of 2019 can be paid out because the man worked exceptionally well for Air France in the previous financial year and has demonstrably made a lot of money for that club … Then the squabbling of the job ? Of course not. Everywhere in the bonus culture, at any company and in any country, an abrasion remains.
Look, a skilled man or woman is hired by company X. She or he negotiates a top salary for himself and that is allowed. Then, after fresh coffee is brought, the bonus chapter comes to the table. With the help of a handy tax specialist, something is thought up that a popping bonus should be paid if the woman or man in question performs something great, if she or he, through just her or his efforts and actions, keeps the business going, helps out or gets out of the red … Why? Because we’ve been doing it like this for years? Because it is tied to these kinds of jobs? Because this is a poisonous weapon in the world of the great business leaders? Because ‘they’ do it that way with Delta, Singapore Air and Emirates? Because the oh-so-fragile way of leadership remains attractive in this way for a small group of not always capable captains of industry?
My father (a decent liberal with correct ideas) used to say, « If they would give a bonus to a doctor who saves 27 people a year performing incredibly difficult surgeries … then I understand that, but only the white collar- to enrich Mafia, we simply forget the concept of ‘moral correctness.’ «
I always liked those words. And that’s where all this pinches now. Of course, Smith complains that he has neatly arranged everything and that it has been statutory approved, that it has been made public and that the majority of shareholders have nodded: « C’est bon. » Of course he calls that the bonus applies to 2019, so pre-corona. He writhes like an eel in a jar of snot to be right, an equal that nowhere has ‘moral correctness’ as a support beam. If a person does top work, something in which she or he is extremely good at and in which she or he is a big exception in this world, a bonus is explainable and accepted No, still not.
Now that we are heading for a « new-normal », it seems advisable to take a closer look at the bonus and perhaps cross it with a neat cross. That no longer fits: that is morally incorrect. Smith will then have to do it with a scant nine-year salary. If he’s a guy, after all the uproar around his person, he gives that whole bonus to a club of French virologists or to the Red Cross. Without a camera then. With a dry press release from Air France.
Incidentally, and I also write that in my shoes, NBA players laugh completely disgust when they hear the amount of Benjamin Smith’s salary… nine tons only. LeBron James deserves that per game. Yes, it does say that: per game. I repeat: per game. And no, that can hardly be approved, morally speaking. James says about that: « Apparently they will do that for me. » Curious how the ‘new normal’ will be adapted for all those boundlessly overpaid top athletes… if that will ever happen.
To be clear, the above-mentioned basketball player Connaughton played 18 minutes per game this season, threw in 5.3 points per game and the audience started cheering when he entered the field: he was an infrequently used white bench player who sometimes threw in a ball. A cult player with a great social feeling. Annual salary $ 1,723,050. Ben Smith: Eat your heart out! He once announced that 5 years ago, when he signed for the Bucks, he received a drawing bonus of one ton. He bought a Jeep Wrangler for that, which he still drives because the car still works. Ben Smith laughs at that; a bonus of a ton! Amateur.