|A vendor in Paloquemao Market celebrates the success of millionaire athlete James Rodriguez.|
|While we were obsessing with James Rodriguez...|
drought-killed cattle in northern Colombia.
|James' shirts fly off the hangars in Spain.|
Rodriguez undoubtedly worked hard, too. But he became rich and famous doing something fun, thanks to lots of inborn ability. And he gets showered with admiration, rather than jealousy.
|Colombian footballer Juan Guillermo Cuadrado signing |
t-shirts for Colombian children he has helped.
But that's been eclipsed by Rodriguez. Is Rodriguez's ball-kicking ability really more important than any of that?
|A football jersey from James Rodriguez's|
foundation Colombia Somos Todos.
Colombians should ask whether Rodriguez, a young man who hardly needs millions to survive, will send part of his fortune home to help the needy. I found this ugly list of five ways Rodriguez might spend his money, including buying luxury cars and big mansions. Helping others was last on the list. The Colombian business publication Portfolio has an equally ugly article suggesting that Rodriguez buy a luxury car or a mansion, and pointing out that he'll earn 2 million pesos per hour, more than triple Colombia's monthly minimum wage. Rodriguez's annual salary is greater than Bogotá's planned investment to clean up the Rio Bogotá. How many displaced or sick people could Rodriguez help? Or, will he instead follow in the footsteps of team mate Cristian Ronaldo and spent his fortune collecting luxury automobiles?
Hopefully not. In 2011, Rodriguez created the 'Colombia Somos Todos' foundation. That's a good start. Now that he's earning close to $1 million a month and will surely rake in much more by endorsing things like athletic shoes and deodorant, let's hope he does good with his fortune.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours