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Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen in 2019.

A Culture of Celebrity, not Morality?

Did you know that nearly 1 in 4 households in the United States, the wealthiest country in the world, were food insecure in 2020? And that over 27% of US households with children, often didn’t know where the next meal was coming from? In a week where a couple of billionaires financed private flights into space to massage their egos, Lebron James became the USA’s first active athlete billionaire (through his endorsements of disease causing foods, other commercial deals, and salaries). Michael Jordan, perhaps the world’s most famous athlete, chose commerce over conscience many years ago, and has long been a pitch-person for harmful food products too, including McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Gatorade. He has made other unfortunate choices as well, many of which resulted in lost opportunities for true social change. When asked why he wasn’t political, Jordan famously responded by saying “Republicans buy sneakers too” (Jim Brown once said that Jordan’s main concern is the demands of corporate America). Michael Jordan has now amassed a fortune that exceeds $1.6 billion.  
And the media and much of the public adore them all. 
NFL Quarterback Tom Brady’s combined net worth with his wife Giselle Bundchen is estimated to be just a paltry $650 million. Some people view him as part of the vegan movement, as he eats a mostly plant-based diet. I don’t. It was disappointing but not surprising, to see him join the crowd in a recent “Subway” fast food restaurant commercial that promoted bacon, processed meat, and other damaging foods (as part of NBC’s corporate driven coverage of the olympics). I guess he needed the cash to pay for his recently purchased $6 million yacht. Tom Brady & Lebron James seem like nice guys. Too bad that they have yet to forgo their brands, and choose instead to be on the right side of history. The plant based movement could use their help!
“We are a culture of celebrity, not morality.” – Maureen Dowd
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