Whenever an athlete or a celebrity -- or any non-politician, really -- makes a statement that is in any way, shape or form related to the political discourse that has permeated the 24-hour news cycle, I tend to recoil just a bit, if only because...
1. I don't really care about the politics of those whose job has nothing to do with the decision making of our country.
2. They are often misinformed and serve only to embarrass themselves.
3. I'd rather hear them talk about their approach during an at-bat.
That's why I was sort of surprised, and not necessarily in a bad way, when Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins made a politically charged statement that didn't end with me putting my head in my hands and saying “Oh, Jimmy, what have you done?”
In the latest issue of Philadelphia Magazine, the Phillies shortstop made a comment regarding the state of the economy and how it was the burden of the wealthy -- and not the poor -- to help get the country heading in the right direction.
In an interview in the October issue of Philadelphia Magazine, Rollins says it’s time for rich people like him to start paying more. “Warren Buffet pays less taxes percentage-wise than his secretary, you catch that?” Rollins asks. “How can that be?”
“I’m blessed to pay a lot in taxes,” Rollins says. “I have friends and relatives that go day-to-day. Every American deserves to feel secure at the end of their life. So if it’s going to lift two families up, go ‘head, tax me more, I can handle it. Best I know, everyone’s going to die. No one’s taking money to the afterlife.”
Now, I'm not one to thrust my politics on people, and that is certainly not my intention here, because what I have to say is largely irrelevant in the face of what Jimmy said. And whether or not you agree with him, you have to admit that it's not often that professional athletes -- the same ones who try to squeeze every nickel and dime out of the teams that employ them -- have such a sense of altruism. Sure, they have charities and they take part in programs that strengthen the community, but it's rare to hear one of them say “Hey, take more of my money, please.”
It's rare, strange and uncommon for an athlete to behave in this fashion. Maybe more of them feel this way, and it's entirely possible that that is true, it's nonetheless not often that you see an athlete take this sort of public stance on something that is one of the hottest of hot-button issues these days.
Regardless, kudos to Jimmy for taking that stance, especially in light of the fact that he'll be chasing his last, big payday when he is a free agent at the end of this season.