Personally I don’t like to talk about my charity work. I mean, I do a helluva lot of charity work, but I don’t like to talk about it in public. If someone really insists I’ll tell them about the time I once donated so much money to charity that they tried to return my cheque—using some excuse about it bouncing—but only if they insist, or look like they might be about to insist, or if there has been a lull in any conversation ever. I’m a giver, frankly, just a modest one, in every sense of the word. David Beckham on the other hand is an enormous giver, donating all of his huge PSG wages to charity, and telling everyone about it in a press conference. I’ve some problems with that, though: it’s not a bad thing, it’s just not a good thing either; it’s about neutral. And the love-in which it’s provoked is a different story: that’s definitely a bad thing.

Becks is seemingly an alright guy, and anyone who says different is liable to get mauled on a social media platform of their choice by people who don’t see the essential contradiction in defending someone nice by being horrible. Becks didn’t need to give away any money, yet he did, which seems to make him alright. Becks also hasn’t been mean to anyone in public, as far as anyone cares to remember, which also suggests he might be fine, if a little boring. And Becks is a family man, people, which must make him a good guy too, because reproduction, as we all know, is an inherent good. But being an alright guy on at least three counts doesn’t have to mean that every gesture he pulls off his PR team’s spider diagram is worthy of sycophantic bleating.

There are plenty of aspects of his giving money to charity not to applaud. Beginning with announcing it. If you’re David Beckham, announcing that you’re donating a lot of money to charity isn’t just immodest—I don’t think there’s much wrong with being immodest if you’ve earned it, anyway—it’s also an exercise in brand management. When Becks announces that he’s done something nice to the public, it takes away from how nice it is, because the boost his public image gets will probably end up making him some more money in the long term. So, announcing that he’s passing up a lot of money doesn’t invalidate the gesture, but it does slightly taint it by introducing self-interest to an act which is being celebrated precisely for being selfless. Logic 101.

But the real dodgy bit isn’t that Becks might get some money out of giving away some money, it’s the bizarre fetishisation of the act. Beckham is a “hero” and a “role model” for giving this money to charity, apparently. Except he isn’t, or at least he shouldn’t be. He earns obscene amounts of money for playing football and even more obscene amounts of money for being David Beckham in several different poses, sometimes in his clothes, sometimes not. Remember the pants. He was paid for wearing some pants. These amounts of money can’t be justified under the banner of meritocracy: no one person deserves to earn 500 times what another person earns; no one person is worth 500 times more than another person, whatever The Market says. And, as such, Beckham’s giving some of that money away only really serves to partially address an imbalance.

That isn’t good, that’s approaching neutral (it’s not all the way there, because no person is worth 300 times another person either).

Yet the loud, uncritical applause goes on…because we love rich people. Everything they do is celebrated and admired. The narrative goes: rich people are deserving, poor people are undeserving. So when David Beckham donates 0.1% of his wealth to charity he gets a dozen newspaper headlines, but when Joe Bloggs or, for argument’s sake, Ethan Dean-Charity-Richards donates an equivalent amount of their earnings, there are no headlines. Despite letters to countless editors. Not one.

And that’s why I don’t like the Beckham love-in that’s gone on again this week. Not because I think he’s anything less than an alright guy—though, if you push me, I’ll choose Twitter as the place you can tear into me on this, please—but because I think he is only alright, and saying he’s more than that is a part of a bigger, nastier agenda, which is about saying some people are better than others. And also because my charity work has never once been given the credit it deserves. Not one headline.

Finally, if David really did want to help people, he might want to start by paying his taxes in France, where the rates are higher, rather than exploiting a loophole so he can pay them in England. You can help people by paying your taxes, too, David: the state pools money and directs it into bigger projects which people need, y’know. It’s like a really big charity if you think about it.

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A brief note on Peter Odemwingie

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Comments (83)

  1. I can’t believe what a waste of time this read was. Stayed with it hoping there would be some good reasoning to it but it just got worse and worse.

    I expect better from “the score”

    • At least I backed up my reasoning, you just said “this is crap” without explaining why.

      • First of all it’s a tough subject to get people to agree with you on. A guy donating to charity is a guy donating to charity.

        I think the only valid point you made was him publicly announcing his donation. But at the same time he has countless other charities that go unnoticed.

        Also, the part about paying his taxis.. Come on who wants to pay taxes?

        Not saying the guys a saint, I wouldn’t have announced my intentions to donate, but the article itself felt like a reach for something that wasn’t really there… (A story)

        • Do you know what? I’ve paid the full amount of taxes on every penny I’ve earned in my life, and I’m pleased about it.

          If my taxes go up, and it’s invested straight into Schools, Hospitals, pavements, roads, railways, libraries, social care, and benefits for those unlucky enough to have lost their jobs because of capitalist greed, I’d be happy too.

          And I don’t earn in a year what Goldenballs earns in two days.

          So when I see rich people getting praise for something that – while not awful, probably amounts to little more than a tax dodge (like most footballer’s “charity work”), I feel a certain anger too.

          Good article.

      • EDR, it sounds like you want more attention for your charity work. Your argument goes that percentage of wealth to charity is the true indicator of humanity, and therefore, you deserve a pat on the back. I imagine that your could blog about it, indicate who you donate to, and then you would get the respect you deserve and your charity of choice would get some attention. If you truly believe that charity work is a humble, anonymous process then don’t mention how “Joe Blogg” doesn’t get the attention he deserves. Public donations are a huge part of how non-profits stay in business. The other option is that there are no tax incentives or attention for large donations, the donations don’t happen, and that money isn’t distributed in in a direct manner to the corners of society that need it. Governments are too broad of organtizations to care for those parts of society that non-profits manage to care for.

    • No one person deserves to earn 500 times what another person earns? Sigh. You, sir, are an idiot. Too bad you’re not alone. I guess the rest of the world will have to have a Soviet style economic crash before you morons wake up.

  2. but hes right this is crap. poor article.

  3. I have a different take on the ‘Becks signs with PSG and won’t make any money’ story.

    Since it is only 5 months that doesn’t show a lot of love on PSG’s part. I think they agreed to pay him nothing and went along with his desire to say he is giving all his pay to an unnamed charity

  4. Hey, man. I totally understand. The other day I donated the change from my coffee. Some may say “that’s only fifteen cents”. Which- on one side of the coin(s)- it is. But, on the other side, in relation to my earnings, that is infinitely more money than I earn at the moment as I’m currently unemployed. If Beckham really cared about the children he would spend infinite amounts of money on them as well.

  5. Here’s why this post is a piece of shit: because you come off as a whiny little bitch. Who are you mad at? Beckham? The media? Your mate’s dad? The whole world? Fuck, man, quit you’re whinging. You’re just the same as the lot you despise, but instead of grabbing your 5 minutes by back-slapping, you ride the media frenzy to elevate your own pathetic sense of yourself. Congratulations: now you’re charitable and you’ve garnered a wee bit of attention.

  6. The author of this article has issues. Can we tear everything you write apart and make it into some kind of conspiracy? Lets say that you are trying to gain publicity by attacking the likes of Beckham who sure as a professional athlete is overpaid but is still a fine human being.

    Anyways for a guy who covers football… there is one of the few good stories in the whole sport… and you choose to dirty it.

    • If you read, you’ll see that I’m careful not to say anything about him as a human being other than him probably being alright really.

  7. Good article. I felt the same way when Beckham and PSG started touting the minor donations that they would be making. Beckham won’t miss the money for a second, and the self-promotion will surely yield him profits in the long run.

    If you didn’t understand the logical and causal subtlety that goes along with this criticism, you’re either too stupid or have too much of your head stuffed up Hollywood’s ass to comment intelligently.

    Anyone who has studied ethics can tell you that a truly “good” deed is one done for the sake of giving and not for the acclaim it beings. I think Friends even made an episode about it, but if you idiots saw it, you still probably didn’t understand.

    • There’s nothing casual or subtle about this kind of criticism. It’s obvious, hackneyed, lazy, bone-headed, mean-spirited and completely misses the point. I might not have studied ethics but I know slagging off someone for giving to charity is ethically repugnant.

      • Jeff, please read it again. Quote where it slags him off. You don’t slag someone off by calling them “alright” about five times. You are really annoying me with this lazy, bone-headed, mean-spirited criticism which is entirely missing the point.

        And one other thing: you can’t miss the point when you write an article because it’s you who decides what that point is. Duh.

        • You could conceivably slag someone off by calling them “alright” about five times, only using that word in five sentences that each read “He’s alright, but he’s also worse than Hitler.”

          You’ve not done that, as far as I can see.

        • Bollocks. This entire piece of crap you laughingly call an “article” is insinuating that Beckham is giving money to charity for his own benefit, and that by talking about it he doesn’t deserve to be given any praise whatsoever. Just because you called him “alright” a few times doesn’t alter the fact that it’s an entirely negative and unnecessary piece of sub-Daily Mail tripe.

          If a man gives money to charity that is a good thing. It’s no less of a good thing because he tells people about it. In this case it makes it even more of a good thing because the charity in question will not only receive a princely sum, but also get invaluable publicity. That’s why charities have celebrity patrons, dummy. And that’s why your so-called “point” that giving money to charity is bad if you talk about it is so far off target it’s gone right up your own arse and is lodged in your lower intestine.

          • “This entire piece of crap you laughingly call an “article” is insinuating that Beckham is giving money to charity for his own benefit,” – nope, that was one, carefully explained, paragraph in it.

            “If a man gives money to charity that is a good thing. It’s no less of a good thing because he tells people about it” – nope, explained why it does take away form it.

            And…that’s all the points you make, failing to address the main thing I was talking about here, which was how we celebrate the rich for things we don’t celebrate the poor for doing. Cheers Jeff.

          • Why does it matter who gets praise if it’s all about the giving? Why do you care? You’re contradicting yourself.

            And if you think celebrities should keep quiet about their charity donations you clearly don’t understand how charities work. A charity relies on publicity to generate donations. If everyone had your attitude charities would go to the wall.

  8. So let’s imagine the scenario where Beckham doesn’t reveal that he’s giving his wages to charity. Firstly, the charity getting the donation loses out on further donations they will undoubtedly receive due to the worldwide publicity Beckham has given them. Secondly, people like the nobody who wrote this so-called article would now be saying Beckham is a money-grabbing parasite for pocketing 200 grand a week for warming a bench. So, to sum up, if Beckham gives money to charity and keeps quiet about it he’s called a greedy fucker and the charity loses out on much needed publicity, while if he says he’s giving money to charity he’s an insincere self-publicist but at least the charity gets publicity. Thus proving that the twat who wrote this piece of trash is a moron.

  9. Dear Jeff, although name-calling obviously made your argument seem really clever, you seem to have missed the point. This was mainly about how Beckham’s decision was treated by other people and only a little bit about the kind of person this makes him – “alright”. Please read carefully in future.

    • No, you’ve missed the point. You either believe Beckham giving money to charity is a good thing or a bad thing. What other people say about it is irrelevant to the act itself.

      • Ah, clever attitude, Jeff. There’s no room for nuances in anything: it’s right or wrong, good or bad? That’s nonsense, as I explained in the piece.

        If I wasn’t an employee I’d have stronger words for you here because I don’t like that you think you can rubbish me like this, particularly with very little argument to back you up. Instead I’ll go with this: you aren’t very clever, that much is clear.

        • I’m afraid this piece of crap you erroneously call an “article” says more about you than it does Mr. Beckham. You’ve managed to turn a positive story into a negative one simply by your own twisted, bitter attitude. Shame on you.

          • I’m afraid this piece of crap you call a comment says more about you than Mr. EDR. You’ve managed to turn a blog post providing an alternative view of current sporting news events into an angry diatribe because you do not know the definition of the word subtlety.

          • It’s not an alternative view though. It’s a view that’s as old as charity itself. There’s nothing original, thought-provoking or intelligent about it.

      • It’s either GOOD or BAD, because there are no grey areas such as ALRIGHT in the world of Jeff Mitchell.

        Btw, good article, man.

        • So where exactly is the grey area in this case? A children’s charity gets a large donation and invaluable free publicity and Beckham gets to continue playing football at a high level. Everything else is entirely irrelevant.

          • This Jeff guy is almost as thick as Beckham himself. Oh, and Beckham is a self-promoting cunt.

  10. Good article pal.

  11. I fail to see how pointing out that the undeserved amount of praise Becks is receiving is – ahem – undeserved counts as “slagging him off”. People really get upset when you point out anything vaguely negative about their fabulously wealthy aspirational media idols. I don’t know why really; it’s not like you’ll ever meet them or share any common life experiences, except for the small stuff like going to the toilet or perhaps having kicked a football once.

    • I fail to see the point of your contribution. You’ve added nothing.

      • Jeff, the fact that you fail to see his point says everything. You’re obviously not very bright. He’s attacking Western media and the celebrity culture which it has produced. People like you can’t handle criticism of the likes of Beckham – and let’s face it, he’s a pretty unremarkable character.

  12. This is just a terrible article. Instead of giving him shit for revealing that he’s making a donation, why don’t you do some damn research and see if other footballers are making donations?

    I don’t recall who wrote the article calling out Beckham for his comments regarding how he would speak to his kids after their games, but that article, this one, and Richard’s 50 tweet mockery of Beckham’s press conference all show a serious dislike that you guys have for him, for some unknown (and probably pathetic) reason.

  13. Nice article, and you’re right about the troll, not sure if it’s really an intelligence thing, some people just don’t care to think at all

  14. What’s really missing here is a lack of imagination and creativity on Mr Beckhams part. He could of for example decided to play for nothing for a 2 bob struggling Conferance side. He would then transform the finances, fortune, and possibly entire mood of the small town he decided to play for. And yes it would be very entertaining seeing him in this kind of football match. Instead he’s playing for a team , that will mostly keep him on the bench because he actually is not good enough and get him to meet other rich directors and pose in front of the camera’s lots yawn yawn yawn.

    • I remember when Beckham went to AC Milan on loan a few years ago. The same twats were saying he would hardly get a game and it was all about selling shirts. Lo and behold he played virtually every game. And do you honestly think that if Beckham went to Bath City there wouldn’t be some miserable knob saying it was a PR stunt to make Beckham look good?

      • Did you watch Serie A when he went there aye? I did. He was shite for the vast majority of the games. Milan were almost as bad then as they are now and Beckham was garbage.

  15. Why doesn’t anyone care about the fifteen cents I donated?!

  16. I don’t see why there’s anything wrong with announcing your charitable givings. There’s no victim; if anything the publicity may inspire others to give to charity too. Sure Beckham gains PR from it, but not at anyone’s expense. The fact that it isn’t 100% selfless doesn’t detract from it, otherwise there would be no good deeds.

    Jesus got that one wrong, I reckon.

    • I don’t think Beckham is being sinister, but it’s easy to see why announcing charitable donations can be like lies of omission..

      Any time an oil company or something announces they’re giving a few dollars to charity but not enlightening us about all the awful things they did to get it…sneaky

  17. I stopped reading the comments about half way through…. the score’s footy blog/counter attack readers have gotten noticeably dumber. Sarcasm, satire, irony…do these words not mean anything to you angry people slagging EDR? Can you not tell that his tongue was firmly in his cheek while he was writing this piece? Why are you mad about this?

    Depressing.

    • If there was any sarcasm, satire or irony on display here, then I can only conclude that Paul Merton and Ian Hislop have very little to worry about.

    • People are wound-up quite tightly these days TG. Can you imagine what reaction a transcript of TYK would trigger?

  18. I don’t think a lot of people here actually read the article before commenting their emotions. There’s no criticism of Beckham here, but when you donate money, especially if you have incredibly large sums of money, there’s really no reason to go tooting your horn in the media about it. You do it for the sake of doing it, not the publicity.

  19. Great article.

    Charity donations are always good of course, but which ones get highlighted most seem to say more about the audience involved. How many people are aware of Drogba building a hospital and helping stop a civil war in the Ivory Coast?

    The deed therefore seems less important than the person doing it.

    Does anyone even know (Becks included) the name of this kids charity or is the story Becks being a darling saint? So far I’ve not seen the charity named anywhere but I have heard that Becks is a nice guy a lot, which he may be. But is that more important to the audience than the underprivileged children?

    • Do you honestly think we’re not gonna find out about the charity involved? Of course we are. That’s the advantage of Beckham talking about it. And surely it’s more important that the charity gets massive free publicity than whether or not a few people call Beckham a nice guy. If you would honestly rather Beckham had kept quiet and denied the charity publicity just so that people wouldn’t call Beckham a nice guy, then your moral compass is fucked.

  20. Beckham monetizes you

  21. It is a perverse logic that assumes refusing to blindly praise someone as a hero is criticism. It’s as if some people just don’t want to grapple with any complex thoughts and simply want some tabloid fairytale to cling on to in their miserable lives. Like Princess Diana touching AIDS people with her ACTUAL HANDS.

    • Complex thought? Do you honestly find this complex? It barely qualifies as thought let alone complex thought.

      Wealthy man says he’s giving money to charity. Wealthy man gets slagged off for saying he’s giving money to charity by thickos. Wealthy man keeps quiet about giving money to charity. Wealthy man gets called a money-grabbing cunt for getting 200 grand a week by the very same thickos. Charity misses out on free publicity. Wealthy man says what’s the fucking point? If I’m gonna get slagged off either way I might as well give the charity free publicity and let the thickos feel better about themselves by slagging me off. Ergo, the world is full of negative cunts and Daily Mail readers. Do what you feel is right and fuck ‘em.

  22. You realise the tone is always exaggerated as a joke in these?

    • The thing with jokes is, they’re meant to be funny. You’re about as funny as Sid Little in a summer season at Skegness without Eddie Large.

  23. Brilliant article. Well stated – especially the tax loophole bit. “An exercise in brand management.”

  24. Hey gang. Just want to say impersonating other writers isn’t cool. I have your IPs so we’ll be banning if that happens again.

  25. Piers Morgan, Alan Green, Chris Waddle, The Daily Mail. Notice how it’s always the complete cunts who slag off Beckham.

  26. EDR, you seem to attack any contributor who disagrees with you by questioning their intelligence. Poor show, really. A little like the whiny article.

    • Nah, these just happened to be thick people.

      • It wasn’t the act of disagreeing, it was the method they used to do it. Insults, blunt statements lacking explanation. That is thick. You can’t argue with that kind of attitude, so I don’t.

  27. Jeff, you’re getting bit too worked up over an internet article don’t you think? I hope you’re aware of the irony of saying “jokes are meant to be funny” then saying something extremely unfunny. In all seriousness though, why are you getting so worked up over this? You’re just making yourself look ridiculous.

    • I’m not worked up. I’m chilling with a bottle of wine, hence the somewhat fruity language. And I never claimed to be joking so whether or not you find anything I say amusing is irrelevant. So if you found anything ironic about me saying jokes are meant to be funny, I can only conclude your grasp of irony is on a par with Alanis.

  28. Okay, Jeff Mitchell. I’m going to make a couple leaps in logic here for the point of conversation. I’m going to assume your obvious lack of intellect stems from a lack of education. So let’s continue to help you learn and grow.

    You are operating under the assumption that EDR is a bad little man for “derogating” Beckham and PSG for touting their donations to charity. At this point you have two options: discard it as a writer looking for a story, or try and argue with him and his supporters in the comments section, presumably in order to change their opinion.

    Sadly, you chose the wrong side of the fork in the road. If you truly think someone’s view is trash, the high road would be to ignore and disregard it, as opposed to fueling an argument which – because you have obviously shown to care about it – you lend credibility to. It is now a debate, not an intelligent person overlooking the opinions of peons.

    So, next time, leave it where it lies and spend your educating yourself, so that people like me don’t have to.

    • I know that’s you, Waddle. Learn to say “penalty” correctly before questioning my intelligence, thank you very much.

      And I can do what I want. If I want to leave something I’ll leave it. If I want to challenge something I’ll challenge it. You’re not my keeper.

      • I bet you love Beckham so much because he’s one of the few people in the world who’s even more stupid than you.

  29. edr is just jelly of GoldenBalls.

    Sooooooooooo jelly…

  30. Nice article. Took the words right out of my mouth

  31. This has to be one of the worst articles I’ve ever bothered reading some of.

  32. Enjoyed that. Time to bring these non-heroics down to earth.

  33. no wonder Rogers didn’t want to buy this garbage blog

  34. Before I start I just want to say I LOVE Beckham. Totally and completely. Jeff I’m on your side. Great footballer, gives money to charity, passionate about the country, can’t fault any of that.

    But here’s the point – aren’t you missing the point Jeff? Didn’t EDF say several times you’re missing the point? Isn’t this “so-called” “article” a lament (with tongue slightly in cheek) of the modern culture of celebrity?

    Here’s my ideal world; 1. David Beckham continues to be absolutely AWESOME (honestly I’ve like got a poster on my wall and everything and I’m like 27 and straight) and gives all his salary to a children’s charity. 2. David Beckham announces this publically. 3. Nobody gives a toss, aside from maybe saying ‘oh that’s nice, lovely lad that Beckham’, but other than that everyone goes back to living out the rest of their lives in exactly the same way as they always would have, for example never buying Calvin Klein underwear because they love Beckham. In short I would like Beckham to donate the same amount of money to charity because that’s very noble, but for the general public to respond in the same way they would do if, hypothetically speaking, Angel Rangel went round giving food to homeless people in Swansea and then suddenly everyone knew about it. Oh wait….

    EDF, I think there may be one genuine challenge to the point (as if either of us really care enough to debate this but here goes anyway) – if the world’s consumers weren’t so slavishly in love with Beckham (like me!!) he wouldn’t be able to command nearly as much salary from THE MARKET, and therefore would have less money to give to charity. Harrumph! Even you, a bona fide member of clan Daily Mail Becks Haterzz, wouldn’t want that.

    Nice article though, you’re a fine writer, i’m even thinking about switching my electricity supply to you after this.

    • Funny that I’ve committed the ultimate haven’t-read-the-words crime and translated EDR to EDF, all because i got very excited at the prospect of doing some irony. Now I’m just a plonker. Would be equally funny if, in fact, I’ve missed the point.

  35. The article is focusing on whether Beckham’s actions are truly philanthropic, or motivated by publicity. Philanthropy is defined in three ways:

    - altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.

    - the activity of donating to such persons or purposes in this way.

    - a particular act, form, or instance of this activity.

    Did he show any philanthropic or altruistic intent by his actions? No, therefore motivated by a return for himself larger than that gained by his chosen charity.

  36. EDR’s article has always been slagged on this site…there’s a reason why he’s still around this blog, even if some of the readers do not appreciate the satirical nature of his works.

  37. This guy embodies everything that’s wrong with modern-day football. Greed, fake personas, and more style than substance. This isn’t envy either as I admire far more talented and handsome players than this self-promoting wankstain. He’s a narcissist of epic proportions. His dumb fans don’t seem to understand that they are indoctrinated by media representations of the guy.

    I was neutral but now I’m hoping Valencia absolutely destroy PSG – preferably with Beckham on the pitch.

  38. I liked it, EDR has a valid point and I agree.

    Well written and the, presumably, Northerners that disagree should stick to their rugby league.

    I like this and I like Golden Balls.

    Nice article.

  39. I absolutely agree with you and there are a lot of people who agree with you. The absolute reality is that david is a hero of the mediocre. What can you say when someone is loved because he is kicking a ball and gets paid millions for wearing pants? Mediocre times, mediocre heroes.

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