McCourts Extort Players’ “Donations” To Charity

We all know that Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are business visionaries, using maverick techniques to lead the team to a few games over .500 an NL West title. We also know just where they stand on charity service versus selfishly hording money. Now they’ve found a way to combine both into one giant mess: the AP is reporting that they are making charitable donations by players mandatory in future contracts.

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And they are being thoughtful, too. Instead of forcing players to make a decision on which of their own personal favorite charities to “donate” a percentage of their salary to, they are making it easy by only giving them one option. As it turns it, this just happens to be the Dodgers Dreams Foundation, which just happens to be the official charity arm of the team. Looks like the buffet at the annual bowling night just got upgraded from nachos to chicken wings!

But Dodger players aren’t without options when signing their contracts: the McCourts have left a blank space where they can decide just how much of their salary they want to donate. There is no minimum required, but I would imagine any player in a fight over playing time would do wise not to fill in the blank with a self-portrait of themselves giving the middle finger.

For some reason, the MLB Players’ Association is ticked off about this, and have filed a grievance against the Dodgers to stop tihs from happening. For some reason, they have this crazy idea in their heads that being required to give a certain amount of money to a charity (especially one that makes the team owners look like brilliant philanthropists) is hardly a “donation.” Of course, Frank McCourt sees it differently:

“I have not seen the grievance, but I find it odd that in these challenging times, that we encounter a complaint against the idea of players giving back to the communities that support them,” he said in a statement. “We believe there are qualities that represent the Dodger way. The player’s contributions to the team, appreciation of the fans, and impact on such a supportive community all combine to help our organization live up to our core values. We seek players who embrace these values.”

Right, because that’s why the team traded for Manny Ramirez - his commitment to charity.  It turns out that the first player to agree to this in his contract was in fact Ramirez, who pledged to donate $1 million when he signed his two-year, $45 million contract earlier this month. Or at least Scott Boras pledged that for him: it wouldn’t shock me if Ramirez is as clueless to his philathropic largess as he is about everything else in his life.