Drew Brees announced Thursday that he and wife Brittany are donating $5 million to help coronavirus relief in Louisiana. While the generous donation will help provide much-needed resources and should be applauded, it’s also a discouraging reminder of how deplorable, money-grubbing NFL owners are acting in contrast.
The Breeses’ $5 million donation exceeds anything pledged by an NFL owner, and it’s not even close:
- David Tepper (Carolina Panthers): $2.65 million
- Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams): $2 million
- Jimmy Haslam (Cleveland Browns): $1.5 million
- Terry and Kim Pegula (Buffalo Bills): $1.2 million
- Shad Khan (Jacksonville Jaguars): $1 million
- Michael Bidwill (Arizona Cardinals): $1 million
- Stephen and Renee Bisciotti (Baltimore Ravens): $1 million
- Woody Johnson (New York Jets): $1 million
- Rooney Family (Pittsburgh Steelers): $500,000
To the average person, these figures seem vast, and that’s entirely the point. For the breadth of wealth these collective owners share, their donations are paltry, perfunctory and designed to get their names in headlines. If NFL owners were serious about “trying to make a difference” in their communities, then they would step up to the plate, just as Brees has.
To put these donations in context consider this: Over the life of his career Brees has an estimated net worth of $244 million.
This makes his donation just over two percent of his total wealth. To someone making $40,000 a year for the same 20-year career the Brees’ donation is the equivalent of $16,000 — a huge, generous lump-sum payment representing almost a half year’s salary.
In comparison, the group of NFL owners who have pledged so far are offering something truly laughable. The names listed above have an estimated total combined net worth of $48.25 BILLION dollars, and their donation total is $11.85 million. A figure so minute I needed to ask help to express it as a percentage, because it’s so low my calculator just errored out.
That percentage is 0.02. Using the same methodology as above, with the same $40,000 a year earner, NFL owners are getting full press releases and glowing write ups about making the equivalent a combined $196.47 donation. $21.83 a head, proportionally. Less than most of us spend on a quick trip to the grocery store to buy a few things.
These owners likely have justifications on why their donation is so low. They’d defend it with claims of lacking liquid assets, or having money tied up in other business ventures — and while these all might be true, they also ring extremely hollow. Everyone is making sacrifices right now. This is an unprecedented situation that deems a response from all of us, and whether that is financial or social, these are still sacrifices.
The Brees family decided the situation was bad enough they wanted to make a major impact on the community. The group of NFL owners who have given money so far decided it was worth the absolute bare minimum from people in their position of extreme privilege. That’s the issue at play here. Don’t get blinded by the big numbers, and instead focus on what it actually means to them, and then these seemingly generous donations look more hollow.
Don’t defend NFL owners. They’re not worth your defense, just as they don’t think you’re worth defending. Their insultingly low pledge proves it.