Positive Players: Celebrating Philanthropy among Athletes

On Wednesday night, a young man by the name of Joshua Jones passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

He was first introduced to the media after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ center fielder Matt Kemp gave him a signed ball, the jersey Kemp was wearing and a pair of shoes right off of Kemp’s feet. From that point on, the two became friends and when Jones died, Kemp took it hard.

At this moment, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is in Tanzania, hanging bed nets in huts as part of the anti-malaria program Nothing But Nets. He was away from his wife for their second anniversary and one-year-old daughter to go to Africa and help out people living in unimaginable conditions.

No one forced either of these men to do what they did, but they did it anyway.

Many times athletes are highlighted in the media for getting into legal trouble, leaving a party with a car full of women or trashing hotel rooms. Too often the positive actions are ignored or brushed over.

For the athletes, it is okay because they’re not doing it for public attention. However, as a sports fan, it is nice to see good behavior highlighted instead of the bad always being plastered across various media outlets,

This summer, when they could be practicing their game and preparing for their own season, players like Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Nick Young, Rajon Rondo and even younger players like Ray McCallum, Trey Burke and Andre Drummond will be hosting summer basketball  camps for kids. These camps help kids to learn the fundamentals of basketball while having fun with the NBA players they idolize.

The only time people ever hear about these players doing this is when children are solicited to register for the camps. No one really pays attention to players who maintain clean records and invest more in philanthropy than partying. Why is that?

This is definitely something that needs to be changed. When younger viewers watch television and all they see are the athletes who get in trouble, what message does that send to them?

Recently, Johnny Manziel and Aaron Rodriguez have been in the news for doing things that are not considered positive. However, very few know about programs like Nothing But Nets or even NBA Cares. Players who have founded and/or participate in programs dedicated to helping others should be highlighted.

By doing this, it will show kids who look up to these men that you can be an athlete and still be positive. Spending more time helping others who may not have as much as you is more rewarding than buying the latest basketball sneakers or having Dr. Dre’s newest pair of headphones.

Though it may not mean much, I applaud each of the above mentioned men and any other athletes out there using their celebrity status to help improve the lives of others by donating their money and/or time. Hopefully, one day, these will be the actions that we, as a society, focus on and celebrate more.

Categories: baseball, basketball, football, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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