Hardly a professional sporting event goes by without some mention of a foundation started by this athlete or that one. There is a certain logic to all those charitable pursuits. After all, more than a few sports figures are paid tens of millions and want to do some good with all that money.
When athletes start charities, they might not realize just how much work and expertise is needed to do it correctly. Some experts advise athletes to work with established charities, thus saving startup costs and overhead.
But the allure of a tax break, a public relations boost and helping out is just too much for some to resist. As with any charity, potential donors need to conduct due diligence before parting with their money.
Here is AdvisiorOne’s look at 6 Bad Athlete Charities, from A-Rod to Randy Moss.
Alex Rodriguez, MLB
The New York Yankees slugger is a headline machine on and off the field. Home runs and stellar defensive play have been overshadowed by use of performance-enhancing drugs, popcorn eating with his girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, and injuries. Then, in February, the Boston Globe reported that A-Rod’s charitable foundation wasn’t all it seemed to be. The foundation he started in 2006 raised $403,862 from a poker event he staged with Jay-Z.
Of that tidy sum, just $5,000 was distributed to a Jay-Z scholarship fund and $90 to a Little League baseball team in Miami. The IRS stripped the foundation of its nonprofit status. A-Rod had been quoted as saying he needed to rehabilitate his image after steroid allegations ran rampant.
Baron Davis, NBA
Baron Davis was a top-notch NBA guard, blossoming with the Golden State Warriors and helping lead the Los Angeles Clippers, among other teams. He’s credited with the longest made basket in league history, an 89-footer, and he has made forays into music and movies. Then there’s his charity, Team Play, which seeks to help kids learn life skills through basketball.
According to the “Outside the Lines” report, Davis took over a Magic Johnson charity event in 2006 with a charity run by Paul Pierce of the Celtics. Unfortunately, while documents show $623,000 went to LA Stars, a private company formed to run charity events, there is no evidence any money was given to either of the players’ charities. According to ESPN, Team Play lost its tax-exempt status in March.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, NFL