The Boston Globe dug through the world of shady athlete charities this week, and while many of their findings were disappointing (if not surprising), we'd be remiss if we didn't highlight one charge in particular. It's been a while since anyone thought Alex Rodriguez was a stand-up guy, but this seems...egregious:
A foundation started by New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez gave only 1 percent of proceeds to charity during its first year of operation in 2006, then stopped submitting mandatory financial reports to the IRS and was stripped of its tax-exempt status. Yet the group's website still tells visitors the A-Rod Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization.
Rodriguez talked openly about his desire to reverse bad publicity in 2006 after being exposed as a member of an underground poker club. He started a foundation and teamed with rapper Jay-Z to host a celebrity poker tournament for charity.
"I got in some trouble for poker last year, so why not turn it around and raise some money for the children?" Rodriguez said in an interview with MLB.com at the time.
The event helped the A-Rod Family Foundation raise $403,862 in 2006, but little found its way to charity, according to IRS records. The foundation gave $5,000 to Jay-Z's Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund and $90 to a Little League Baseball club in Miami.
Alex Rodriguez writing a $90 check to anyone, much less a Little League baseball team, is bizarre in and of itself. How does he decide between $90 and $100? Aren't his checks gold-plated? Maybe the Little Leaguers just melted it down.
CBS grabbed a good screenshot of the website the Globe mentioned: Under the headline, "ARod Family Foundation Programs," the text solemnly assures readers that the poker tournament "raised more than $500,000 for charity." Not only is that number inaccurate (maybe he was rounding to next highest hundred thousand), but it fails to mention that the money raised for charity did not go to charity. Now seems like a fair time to point out that Rodriguez is the 18th highest-paid athlete in the world.
If you're curious about what someone with all that money needs with another $398,000—or maybe $199,000, after he and Nets minority owner Shawn Carter split up the haul—go ahead and revisit this Miami New Times piece about Rodriguez renting his Miami house out to film crews while he's away, thereby distressing his aged Holocaust-survivor neighbor. A-Rod obviously needed that 400 grand for craft services.
In Nonprofit Game, Athletes Post Losing Records [Boston Globe]