Man of the Year

Man of the Year: Big-Money Sports and Community Service in Trump’s America (working title).

The night before the Super Bowl, in host-city Houston the NFL held its annual Honors ceremony downtown in the Wortham Center. One of the awards was for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, for the football player who most contributed to community service. The finalists were Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, and Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers. Fitzgerald’s extensive community service includes supporting breast-cancer awareness and prevention programs, providing vision care and hearing aids to people around the world, and promoting technology access for school children. Manning’s community service focuses especially on programs helping families with children battling cancer. Olson contributes extensively to programs related to cancer and congenital heart disease. Their combined fundraising and charitable giving amounts to millions of dollars each year. Manning and Fitzgerald were named co-winners of NFL Man of the Year award, and will be given another half-million dollars to contribute to charities of their choice.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

That same night, in hotels in Houston’s Galleria area not far from NRG Stadium, players and coaches of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons held meetings and then tried to get some sleep before their upcoming endless day leading up to the 5:30 p.m. CT kickoff of Super Bowl LI. Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots (on injured reserve) and Matt Ryan (named NFL Most Valuable Player at the Honors ceremony) of the Falcons were their teams’ nominees for the Man of the Year award. As it turned out, all the players and coaches were in for an unprecedented game, the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, with the Patriots coming back from as many as 25 points down to win 34-28. Tom Brady was named MVP of the Super Bowl.

Another group of men and women were hoping to get some restful sleep that Saturday night, February 4, 2017. They may have been bedded down under the 59 overpass in downtown Houston, just across the street from major-league baseball stadium Minute Maid Park, a few blocks from the NFL’s massive Super Bowl LIVE event sprawling across Discovery Green, or in other areas around the city, but according to the Mayor’s office, they were not moved or hidden due to the big event. They are Houston’s homeless, and counting sheltered and un-sheltered persons they may number up to 3,600, and some of them share the neighborhood of their soup kitchens and missions and outreach agencies with the homes of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. The weather gave them a break for Super Bowl eve and they didn’t have to worry too much about dying from hypothermia, since the overnight low didn’t drop below the high 50’s. They just had to worry about dying from “natural causes,” or maybe being killed in random violence.

According to Time magazine’s 2016 award, the reigning Man of the Year is President Donald Trump. Protesters intersected with the Super Bowl LIVE event in downtown Houston on Saturday. Trump arrived at the White House after a brutal and demoralizing campaign, promising if not threatening to change or destroy the Washington system. How will the 45th President’s “pro-business” administration and “America first” policies impact the business of community service and charitable giving by the big-league sports franchises and athletes?

Man of the Year: Big-Money Sports and Community Service in Trump’s America will research questions related to the charitable work that professional sports teams and athletes undertake, its impact on the needy of American communities, and the business environment for that work.

Section Outline:

Big-Money Sports

An overview of the economics of big-league sports in America, with a concentration on how leagues, teams, and athletes contribute to charitable causes. What business structures and practices are used to facilitate community service? What is the relative balance between the benefits to communities and the benefits to the leagues, teams, and athletes in terms of tax breaks and incentives?

How much do teams and athletes help? To what extent do they lead fans’ charitable giving? How do teams and athletes decide on their charities? What influence do those decisions have on the community service organizations?

Community Service

The Need: what we know, in general terms, about the very-poor, hungry, and homeless in America.

Programs that Help the Needy: government programs, private charities, religious charities. What readers should know in deciding how to contribute to community service programs.

Trump’s America

How will the “businessman’s administration” change the environment for charitable giving? How will government programs be affected?


Email at or (or phone/text at 713-591-3523) if you work in the community service sector or know someone from one of the big-league teams who does.


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