“Volunteering” for charity – Tom Brady edition
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just signed a contract extension making him the highest paid NFL player. (story here) He will finish out this season at $6.5M, then make about $19M a year through 2014. Brady’s a great quarterback and I respect him a lot.
There’s an interesting and disturbing hitch to this story, however. On the way to the contract signing he had a traffic accident which severely damaged the luxury Audi he was driving. Brady was unhurt but as this story (from the Boston Herald) details, the car was given to him by Audi for his “volunteer” work with Best Buddies International, of which Audi is a sponsor.
The sedan banged up in a Back Bay crash last week was the third Audi that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has received in the past three years in connection with his charitable work, a spokeswoman for the German car company said yesterday.
“It’s part of our partnership with Best Buddies,” said Anja Kaehny, an Audi executive. “We often give cars to opinion leaders in the community.”
Brady isn’t the only Pats player getting Audis through the charitable partnership: In 2008, the company gave linemen Matt Light, Stephen Neal, Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins and Nick Kaczur new Audi Q7 SUVs for six months.
“There’s no better way to thank them for attending the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannisport and for keeping me safe all year, than by giving them the safety, performance and luxury of the Audi Q7 SUV,” Brady was quoted as saying in a release from the charity.
So Audi “thanks” these pro athlete millionaires for attending a charity event by giving (free lease) them a luxury car. Hmmm. Kinda puts a different spin on the word volunteer, doesn’t it?
Best Buddies International is a highly ranked charity (more here) and Audi should be lauded for their support to this worthy organization. One wonders however, if the funds spent on “thanking” someone who clearly doesn’t need yet another luxury vehicle could be put to better use.