I have felt honoured and privileged to be able to take the opportunity given me during this time of historic circumstances in our world to try and help out those in need.
Step Forward has been a great launchpad towards trying to make a difference for those less fortunate in our local area.
But I am far from the only person making an effort to lend a hand to those who need it most in the world.
Today, I’m referring to those professional athletes who have committed financial support to assist those who, by no fault of their own and by total fault of COVID-19 or other societal factors, have had their lives thrown into turmoil.
It’s a popular pastime for those in the general public to take aim and fire potshots at pro athletes for the money they make, which in many situations consists of a player making more in one year than most people will make in their entire lives.
But while associating athletes with self-absorbed opulence and overstuffed bank accounts is easy to do, it’s also easy if you try to find examples of pro athletes giving back to good causes.
Many would scoff at any such acts of charity, offering up the argument that for all the money athletes make, it’s no big deal when they make a five, six, seven or even eight-digit donation to a needy cause.
That’s low-hanging fruit, easy to grasp and quick to swallow.
Sure, pro athletes are in a better position to help than most of us. That doesn’t mean they all do.
To deride those that make an effort to help as it being the least they can do falls outside of the parameters of fair analysis where I stand.
So I am fine with applauding those who have stepped up to help.
NBA players such as likely MVP winner this season Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons donating $100,000 each to pay the salaries of staff who work at their respective home arenas.
Not impressed? OK, how about rookie phenom Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, who committed to paying the salaries of all staff at his home arena for a full month?
You want next level? OK, there’s Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, whose positive test for COVID-19 ignited the eventual shutdown of all pro sports leagues for several months.
Gobert put $500,000 towards not only helping his home arena staff get paid, but also contributing to COVID-19 related social services agencies in Utah, Oklahoma City and even the French health care system in his native country.
Still not enough? How about Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets donating $1.5 million to assist WNBA players who decided to opt out of playing this season due to concerns about the coronavirus or because they were putting their time into fighting for various social justice causes?
Other pro sports athletes have also stepped up to do their part either lately or in recent years.
The one effort that stands out in my mind was in 2015 when current New Jersey Devils defenceman P.K. Subban, who was still with the Montreal Canadiens at the time, pledged a whopping $10 million to Montreal Children’s Hospital.
There’s no question far too many pro athletes make their scads of money without a whit of concern for those less fortunate than themselves.
Those are the ones that deserve our disdain and our contempt.
Let’s not group them together with the ones who do have good priorities and good hearts.
Steps taken this week: 149,021
Steps taken overall: 1,156,207
Money raised this week: $120
Money raised for Riverside Foundation for Health Care – Chemotherapy Unit: $220
Money raised for Rainy River Victim District Services: $700
Money raised for the UNFC Food Bank: $1,500
Money raised overall: $2,420
Please go to my Facebook page entitled “Joey Payeur” and look for the Step Forward fundraiser post to donate. Thanks for all your support.