Mike Kasdan implores fans to direct their passion and support into the organizations doing the work in our communities that matters.
Last week, the news broke that a group of disgruntled Jets fans had banded together to … ahem … express their displeasure with the New York J-E-S-T.
Well. They hired a plane to carry a banner “Fire John Idzik” and fly over the Jet’s practice facility while the team was practicing. The prop plane circled about a dozen times and then made a pass directly over the field. Jets GM, John Idzik, stood on the sidelines the entire time. No one missed it.
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) November 5, 2014
According to reports, an unidentified woman spent about $1,000 on the package. The plane made another appearance just before game time against the Steelers, this time trailing a banner reading “Jets rebuilding since 1969.”
Another group of unsatisfied fans started the website FireJohnIdzik.com, and have raised $10,000 to further rent three billboards near Met Life Stadium. The billboards say—yes you guessed it—“Fire John Idzik.”
Oh and P.S., the Jets beat the Steelers on Sunday.
It must’ve been all that fan activism! Good work guys!!
I’m a passionate sports fan. In football, I follow the NY Giants. (I know, brutal, this year.) I’m thinking that Coughlin and Reese have to go; in fact, I support blowing up the whole roster with the exception of Odell Beckham, Jr. (Yes. I am down with ODB. Yeah, you know me.) But I haven’t done the fundraising to buy an airplane or billboards to get this message out. I’m just sticking to snarky Facebook posts and Tweets, thank you very much.
Part of this is because, as I’ve grown up, “my team” winning those games they play on Sundays has become less important. As I’ve previously written:
[O]f course it is your God given right to freely yell at your television when your team flat out blows it or to send your fantasy-football arch-rival a viciously taunting email when he’s up against you and your Peyton Manning has thrown his sixth touchdown of the game. And we can be waaay out-of-proportion-to-reality upset when our team loses. Or even when our fantasy team loses. These are important things.
As grown-up-dom inevitably comes, it does demand a re-shuffling of priorities: shuttling the kids around, mowing the lawn, or going to your wife’s cousin’s bar mitzvah or wedding, rather than lounging on the couch, ordering The Dominator from Dominoes, and watching 10 hours of football. After all, there is life happening. And besides, we have to maintain some semblance of credibility when we tell our own kids not to watch too much TV.
It’s about perspective.
Point number two: I’ve also come to realize how much work there is to be done to change this world into a better place for ourselves and our children. But then again, I’m one of those proto-communist-socialist-granola-eating do-gooder types. The fact is our capitalist system cannot be relied upon to do this good work. As David Simon has said in his excellent talk on capitalism and its disconnect from the social compact:
“Capitalism is not a blueprint as to how to build a society. It’s a really dangeous idea in a bad way. Capitalism is a remarkable engine for building wealth. You wouldn’t want to go forward at this point without it. But it is not a blueprint for how to create a just society. There are other metrics beside a quarterly profit report. That we have suggested the market will solve such things – environmental concerns, racial divides, our class divides, the problem with education – the idea that it’s going to heed all the human concerns and still maximinze profit is juvenile. It’s a juvenile notion. And its still being argued in our country, passionately. And we’re going down the tubes.”
Laissez faire capitalism isn’t going to fuel social good. Not enough anyway.
While I know we are talking NFL football here, and I hate to mix metaphors, the phrase, “Fuck you Jobu. I do it myself,” comes to mind. We have to do it ourselves.
Well, not “ourselves.” Not really. None of us can do it alone.
What we really need is to band together. What we really need is a 501(c)(3) Justice League. Or at least, what we need are financial resources to be flowing into worthy organizations so they can sustain and grow and have a positive impact.
So here’s the thing.
If you want to do a stunt like this to get attention, you are fully within your rights to go for it. People surely spend a lot of money on gratuitous things. It’s a free country, and it’s your money to spend as you see fit. But I would urge you to give money to support causes you care about before, say, renting a plane to fly over Metlife Stadium.
I don’t think that anyone fires GMs because of overhead planes with signs, anyway. It’s distracting, and – frankly – mean.
Write a letter instead. Or take the old school approach, and go streaking in protest.
Then, take that money and do something good with it instead.
We all have – or should have – charities or social impact organizations that are doing good work that we believe in.
Personally, I spend a great deal of time trying to raise money for good causes that I believe in, like the science education non-profit CityScience. Our mission is inspiring exploration and transforming teaching in urban areas by using the natural and built environment as laboratories for active learning. (Full disclosure: I am Chairman of the Board of Directors at CityScience). So my take is this – if you want to drop $10K (or even $10), give it to CityScience. We will use that money in middle schools and after-school programs to help teachers to engage their students in science and to build our next generation of leaders.
My colleague at The Good Men Project, Christopher M. Anderson, does the same for MaleSurvivor.org, an organization that provides resources and support for men who were sexually victimized as children, adolescents, or adults. I first learned of his organization in the wake of writing about Sayreville and Adrian Peterson. If you want to drop $10K (or even $10), give it to MaleSurvivor.org and help them help men who have been abused to rebuild their lives.
And there are so many many others making an impact. The below list was generated from a crowd-sourced question I posted on Facebook this morning: “Name one charity/social impact organization you proudly support.”
- Hunger Task Force, Inc.
- The Interfaith Food Pantry
- New York Cares
- God’s Love, We Deliver
- The Women With Drive Foundation
Whatever your cause – pick one. DO something with it that improves our lot.
Coming full circle, You ynow what’s really neat here?
Even FireJohnIdzik.com gets it!
The group recently stated on Twitter that “Raising that first 10k created this story and gave us a voice. We are happy to use the attention for a good cause” and that “We are doing our best to do something good with all of this attention.” They are now using some of their newfound popularity to run a fundraiser selling “Fire John Idzik” t-shirts in support of Devon Still’s daughter, Leah, who is battling cancer. A portion of the proceeds is being contributed to pediatric cancer research and to those children fighting the disease.
The end of year giving campaign season is upon us. There are so many opportunities. Next month – on December 2 – is #GivingTuesday, a globally designated day for giving.
Giving won’t get you a Metlife Stadium fly-by. It won’t get you on ESPN.
But it will take us one step closer to where we need to be. The NFL made $10 billion in profit last year.
We need to get to a place where the organizations doing the work in our communities that matters have the financial resources to thrive.
(Photo Credit: @FireJohnIdzik/Twitter (with text overlaid) )
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