Helping people is a privilege and joy, not a responsibility.
Especially in a time of crisis, people with cash need to help those without it. We are in a health crisis that is quickly going to morph into an economic calamity, and many millions will need assistance to survive.
The government will help some, and the wealthy will help some too.
I’m baffled by the outraged response of some on social media to professional athletes digging into their wallets and purses to help. Where are the owners, they want to know. They yell about the “absurdity of athletes taking on the burden of billionaires.”
In fact, that is the headline of a post by Michael Eaves of The Undefeated. In it, Eaves laments millionaire athletes shouldering a load disproportionate to billionaire owners who need to be prodded into chipping in.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife Brittany are donating a cool $5 million. What is Saints owner Gayle Benson doing with her cash to help Louisiana victims of Coronavirus or those who can’t put food on the table because their source of income has disappeared? I don’t know. It’s not of my business if she hides in the safe room of her mansion surrounded by gold bricks. (A quick Google search shows she has donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund.)
I’m not a fan of billionaires sitting on their pockets rather than answer the enormous needs of a society that has allowed them to prosper at a level most of us cannot imagine, but claiming athletes are “burdened” by giving recognizes generosity as painful rather than joyous.
Helping others is not a responsibility but a choice to embrace a feeling that we are in this battle together – and I’m not talking about a war against some damned virus. I mean, we are born and we die. What happens in between is the battle. Can we find it in our hearts to help one another eat until we are full, sleep without worry, and laugh with uncomplicated joy?
Making those things possible not a burden – it is a gift. Whether you are a billionaire, millionaire, thousandaire or hundredaire, you can choose to be your best self and give – by donating, listening, or simply acknowledging the existence of fellow human beings on this crazy planet.
Judging those not as generous as Brees or Joel Embiid underscores the lonely and judgmental place we have chosen to exist – especially during trying times. We blame those who fail to measure up against incredible people like the Brees Family.
We don’t know when Coronavirus will fade from headlines. Hopefully, people doing good by sharing cash and attention will continue, and maybe we can focus on them rather than those we decide don’t measure up.