George Steinbrenner was widely known as a philanthropist, especially in Tampa, where he lived much of his life. That was the usual brand of philanthropy and his reputation is well deserved.
I’m positing something different.
Could his lavish spending on the Yankees franchise be a form of philanthropy? It benefited the public and philanthropy is a public good. His Yankees spending brought all kinds of division and World Series titles to New York City and gave fans enormous boasting rights.
Is that not a public good? Especially considering the team’s miserable condition when he bought it in 1973, when it was more a reason for embarrassment than a source of pride.
I don’t mean, “was it legally philanthropy,” or “charitable” as in the Internal Revenue Code. I’m not suggesting his expenses were deductible, or anything of the sort.
But since his money brought so much joy and pride to a city’s people, can we say his private spending was philanthropic? Weigh in and let me know what you think.