Something I found shocking while watching this documentary is that despite having countless members of their community make millions in the pros, not enough of these athletes are willing to give money back to Flint.
Flint Northwestern Football Coach Dan Wilkinson told Davenport that, “a lot of the stars that we have, that’s in the pros, and have been in the pros, around here in Flint we don’t even see ‘em. They might come back here and there, give a party of two, I’ve noticed that you look on tv, some of these sports programs, and you look at what guys like Steve Smith and some of these other pro athletes have done for the colleges they have went to, for their hometown high schools. It’s time for these young guys to wake up. You started here, you should give something back to the community more than a basketball camp, football camp or whatever.”
Coach Ernest Wingate backed up the statements of Wilkinson and told Davenport that pro athletes should “give the kids some discipline, some guidance about life after sports. Make them aware and be proud of the names their parents have given them. Let them know they aren’t all going to become pro athletes but just try to become better people, better citizens, better men and better ladies. How are we to know who’s going to make it athletically, but we should all be hoping that they are going to make it as people
Former NFL wide receiver Daryl Turner and Flint native said that “athletes now-a-days, some of them throw camps, some of them don’t. On the majority, it’s minus. Most of them don’t. You have a lot of players that want to give back through a party, a barbeque, I myself, my way of giving back we put a basketball floor outside the Brennan Center.”
Later on in his interview, Turner said, “as far as these guys not knowing how to give back, they know how. I just think in most cases they just don’t want to. You have gentleman in the year 2000 who are making on a base salary are making over one million dollars. I don’t think that’s much you can take out of your million dollars to give back to your community. Even if it is a gym, some weights, as long as you are trying to give back it can get respect.”
A local flint youth sounds bitter about rich athletes forgetting the people and community they grew up with. One frustrated high school kid told Marcus that “man, all the people that came from Flint to play basketball could have put something to give back to the community or someting. They could have had people picking up trash, putting up buildings. I feel like if I go I’ll be doing some of that. It don’t make no sense for them to go somewhere, this is where they came from, and leave us all behind..”
This frustration with feeling deserted have led some to feel that it’s okay to pull a robin hood and steal from the rich and give to the poor – even if it’s their famous Flint natives. Some people interviewed in this video feel that their “ghetto card should be revoked” and that they should be robbed when they show up in town again.
A Flint resident told the camera’s that “you come by here and don’t even offer to buy as a beer? I’ll tell you what we’ll do, I’ll rob you and buy my own beer.”
Later on this same person told Marcus that “you gotta’ have love in your ownheart to look out for people, man. If you got all that money it ain’t going to hurt you to give back $50,000.”
This resentment stems from athletes like Eddie Robinson who has lost his perspective on life once he signed his fat contract with the Chicago Bulls. Robinson tried to explain his situation by telling Davenport that “you gotta pay yo’ bills. I’m staying in a million dollar house right now, so I gotta pay bills on this. My car costs 300 something thousand. I gotta pay bills on that. There ain’t really a lot of money floating around in here. People ain’t really educated enough to know that.”
Pardon me for not being educated on being a rich athlete, Eddie.
The problem is that Robinson only comes across as looking ignorant to the problems his community is facing. While you are living in excess the people who you grew up with are struggling just to fill their bellies.
It’s no wonder that members of the Flint community are full of anger for some of their famous athletes.