Monday, October 29, 2007

Dodgers Appeal for Public Donations, But Give No Charity of their Own

This took me a couple of days to realize what was awry. When I first read this story on about how the Dodgers "contributed" to the Red Cross campaign to aid wildfire victims, something just seemed off.

Was it the fact that the picture depicts one volunteer receiving what appears to be a small handful of change from a single motorist? Or that no other cars were visible for a quarter-mile in the background?

Only a careful re-read of the article illuminated what was missing: The Dodgers are asking for public donations to the wildfire victims, but aren't ponying up any money of their own. At least, any donation of funds directly from the Dodgers is noticeably absent from any of the article's nine paragraphs (here's the first four graphs):

LOS ANGELES -- With the Southern California wildfires displacing more than one million people so far, the American Red Cross is mobilizing to raise funds to aid victims of the devastating fires that have ravaged the southland since Sunday.

As it has done in the past, the Red Cross reached out to the Los Angeles Dodgers to help, and within 24 hours, people were driving up to Dodger Stadium to make donations.

"We talked to our partners at KCBS/KCAL television, we did a program with the Red Cross and it was done very quickly as you can see," said Howard Sunkin, senior vice president of public affairs for the Dodgers. "The Dodgers are synonymous with Los Angeles and the nation, quite frankly, and we believe we are a rallying point for all Angelinos and we like to set that leadership bar very high."

So the Dodgers and their partners set up donation tents at the Elysian Park entrance, where volunteers with donation buckets are standing by for people to drive up and place cash and checks in the buckets.

Nice PR job, Howie Sunkin, and way to set that bar high, leading by coercion rather than example! A tragic event hits right in your own backyard, and all you can do is ask others to contribute to the offering plate. Oh sure, it's your offering plate, but there wasn't anything in it when you started passing it around.

Or (to put it in Olmedo Saenz Pavilion terms), that's like going to a potluck dinner, but only providing the plastic tupperware jello mold.

Shouldn't charity begin at home, Frank?

And you wonder why we think you're cheap.

photo: Ben Platt/


Alex Cora said...

That is actually Frank McCourt in the car giving 50 cents, which is very generous considering he spent the rest of the money on Juan Pierre.

Steve Sax said...

AC: good theory, but you're wrong. Everyone knows Jamie McCourt does the driving.