Friday, May 02, 2008

Dick Butkus cares not for your charity

The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, a nonprofit group which has given out the Butkus award for 23 years, has relinquished control back to the Butkus family. Butkus sued for control in 2007 and won a summary judgment in April after a yearlong legal battle. He said the club didn't raise enough money for charity and in April won a summary judgment.

Club officials said the cost to defend the lawsuit was no longer justifiable and the money could be better used to serve youth.

"We're glad it's over, but we're sad," club president Chip Landon said. "You hate to give up when you know you're in the right. But there comes a point when we really had to think about the kids who won the award the past 23 years. They're proud of that. We didn't want to see that go away."

Butkus' family will begin presenting the award in January 2009 in Chicago, where he grew up and played eight Pro Bowl seasons for the Bears.

I did a quick search of the intertubes and found this previous article.

Butkus's lawyer has said his client believes DACO has done a poor job raising money around the award and therefore hasn't been able to give money to charities that Butkus prefers, namely an anti-anabolic steroids group. Long-time DACO members, however, laughed when the read the lawsuit, knowing that Butkus tried to withdraw his 1987 consent in 1997 only to discover he could not without a court fight. Those members also believe Butkus cares less about the anti-steroid charity than about moving the awards presentation to Chicago and raising money for himself and his family.

If the Downtown Athletic Club wasn't raising enough charitable money, then fine everything's kosher but if this turns out to be a money making venture for the Butkus estate then that's a completely different animal. Neither side wanted this to go to court so it's safe to say that money may be at the root of this. If Butkus turns this into a cash cow for himself and his family, shame on him, especially if he's taking money away from a charity. Luckily the DACO (I like that acronym) will be able to still use his name in conjunction with other fundraisers.

No comments: