Friday, March 19, 2010

Calling out Matzav AGAIN, 2nd time this week

I called out Matzav earlier this week for the whining about the price of Pesach pound cake. I didn't bother calling out Matzav mid-week in this ridiculous piece, "Shidduchim -- A Catastrophic Problem of Epic Proportions." And now the newest gem which is beyond inappropriate. Thankfully the author had the good sense to not name the player by name and I will follow suit by only providing links lest my blog show up when fans search for this player, who has been wrongly libeled.

I too marvel at the generosity of Jews of all stripes, but it is very inappropriate to knock others down to lift yourself up, and by others, I'm not referring to the references to the President and Vice President, for which their tax returns are public, and perhaps an embarrassing record.

I'm referring to the knock on a "famous football player" who donated $1,000 scholarships to 9 students. The author writes: "I recently came across a news tidbit involving a famous football player generously sponsoring scholarships for 9 graduating high school students. How much for each aspiring collegian? One thousand dollars. Nice gesture, for sure, but it struck me how a donation of $9,000 from a multi-millionaire athlete is seen by the news establishment as noteworthy. Though I have given this phenomenon thought in the past, seeing the $9,000 donation make headlines made me again swell with pride."

It didn't take me long to locate the news story. [name omitted because I don't want traffic coming in due to Google Searches], of the [NFL team located in Tennesse], in honor of his murdered teammate [name omitted] who wore the Number 9 jersey. Mr. B personally picked the scholarship recipients and surprised them with an unexpected gift. The Matzav author would like the reader to believe that this non-Jewish millionaire NFL player is tightfisted, having only donated $9,000 of the millions he has made. The only fact he managed to get correct is that Mr. B has made millions, a figure that can be deduced from the fact that he has played 10 years in the NFL where the minimum salary was, at one point, $250,000. So he has made millions. Just because a feel good story was published regarding surprising students with $9000 of scholarships doesn't mean that has only given $9,000 in charity!

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. B has his own charitable foundation [name omitted] which specializes in helping benefit, educate, and promote foster children in New York and Tennessee. As a former foster child, this is obviously something near and dear to his heart and the work that he is doing appears to be most exemplary. Mr. B is obviously no lightweight. There are many generous men in the NFL and he has received recognition as one of the greats in volunteer and charitable work as he was honored with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Google some of the other recipients and you will see that knocking others down to pat yourself on the back is not only distasteful, but patently silly.

There are many "Mi Kamocha" moments to be had within the frum community, without a doubt. But the advice many a sports coach has given is still true today: you don't become better by knocking others down.


Orthonomics said...

Matzav is monitoring comments, but I hope mine will appear:

Thankfully the author had the good sense to not name the NFL player by name as he attempts to bring up the Jewish people by putting others down. The President and Vice Presidents tax forms are matter of public record. Those of the NFL player are not. And if you would bother to look into what this player does you will see that the $9000 donated was a nice gesture in the memory of his teammate who was murdered and a nice surprise to the student recipients. You paint the player as tightfisted, but he is anything but. He has his own foundation that benefits foster children and appears to go exemplary work. He has been honored with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. If you look at the names of the other recipients of this reward for charity and service you will see that he is in good company. All of these men have given tremendous sums of money to charity and given back to their communities in very special ways.

The Jewish people is a great and generous people. That can be stated without libeling an individual who appears to be a role model in the area of giving, both of money, skill, and time.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Not only can you not become better by knocking others down, you also drag yourself down.

efrex said...

I am not a fan of charedi-bashing, but I have to consider Matzav nothing more than a source for purim torah. Sometimes, I wonder if it's actually a big meta-prank like The Onion.

Anonymous said...

In fairness, the Matzav author isn't the only one who trashed this player. Many comments on the sports magazine site where this was reported (and where the writer apparantly got the idea for his post) also made the same stupid observations about "only" giving $9,000 as if that was all this player ever did or, as if giving 9grand was worse than giving zero. So, Matzav is in good bad company.

Orthonomics said...

efrex-I'm not Chareidi bashing. If this was said by our own RW Rabbi, I would have approached him and gave him a piece of my mind.

Matzav author isn't the only one who trashed this player

That's right. He isn't. But he could have done a bit of research. We, of all people, should know that just because you give a little (in this case a measly $9K) somewhere doesn't mean you don't give plenty more elsewhere. Imagine if a wealthy family in the community was giving significant resources and time to help students in Yeshiva who are falling behind and the Rabbi of their shul stood up to castigate them for "only" donating a few thousand to the shul because they are wealthy. That is what happened. Let sportswriters knock the man. No need to join in when a simple Google search reveals just how off base the criticism is. We, of all people should know better. Something to think about next time anyone throws a buck at a door-to-door meshulach.

Anonymous said...

SL: I didn't mean to suggest that the Matzav post was ok because others are also idiots, I just wanted to suggest that there are plenty of idiots and mean spirited people to go around and no one religion, culture or ethnic group has a monopoly. However, I do think we should hold our own to a higher standard, particularly where we preach against loshon hara.

Orthonomics said...

You were 100% correct that Mr. Friedman was in the company of other idiots. I didn't mean to come across harsh towards you. My apologies.

Anonymous said...

While often charity should be anonymous, by personally giving these scholarships, this player also sent an important message to these young students -- i.e. I care about you and getting a college education is important. I have never heard of this man since I don't follow football, but I'll bet this was a really big deal to a teenager and that this sends an important message to them and other teens. In other words, this man did more than cut a check. He took the time and energy to get involved. That is not acknowledged in the article.

Orthonomics said...

Absolutely anonymous. This gesture was very personal and the giving was done within the community he lives in. His charitable foundation also limits its work to the area he grew up in and the area he lives in currently. I don't follow professional football, but my hometown produced plenty of pro-athletes and it is very meaningful to the town when the athletes give back and it is also very meaningful when the athletes give of their time by being on the sidelines to coach and give encouragement, mentor, and promote academics.

Another lesson we can learn: local giving and finding a niche that needs to be filled.

Miami Al said...

When our leadership is telling people to give Tzedakah locally and fund the schools before all else, this is amazingly hypocritical. It's one thing to say, "Fund the local Yeshiva before you fund a foreign Yesvhia," but another to tell upper middle class MO Jews that is is more important to fund the local Yeshiva for upper middle call Jews than it is to help people elsewhere.

Newsflash, the upper middle class Modern Orthodox towns do not have "poor" people, they might have some relatively poor people, but compared to the truly indigent, these people are extremely rich.

This gentleman does a variety of charitable works, some big, some small, but all helping people truly in more need than the big "Macher" that funds the local Shul and Yeshiva filled with the children of doctors and lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Miami Al: Good points. The "charity starts at home" line gets misused and some people think it means it ends there. People tend not to live in economically diverse communities, so if we are only helping our community or directing most of our funds toward our community, the neediest always get left out.