New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has served as a spokesperson for St. Vincent’s Catholic hospital in Manhattan since 2006, and he plans to continue this work—but from now on he’s doing it for free. The New York Post reported that Manning will no longer accept compensation for his publicity work for the hospital, undoubtedly a considerate gesture given the hospital’s dire fiscal condition. Manning’s decision sets a good example for those on Wall Street who insist on claiming immense bonuses during the recession, but was the hospital’s decision to sign him in the first place really wise considering they did so while the institution was in the midst of bankruptcy? According to the Post,
Over the summer, St. Vincent's inked a new $1 million agreement with Manning as part of a five-year promotional deal.
It was the continuation of its partnership with Manning, who had already netted about $500,000 from the hospital since November 2006 -- when St. Vincent's was still officially bankrupt.
As part of the renewed, unusual financial arrangement, St. Vincent's was to pay Manning and his Ohio-based merchandising company another $250,000 a year from 2009 through 2014. Manning then would donate $50,000 back to the hospital -- reducing his net annual paycheck to $200,000.
St. Vincent's had widely publicized the partnership in May -- but in a far different light.
A glowing press release said only that Manning and his wife, Abby, would be helping to raise funds for a revamped birthing center and that it would be renamed "the Eli & Abby Manning Birthing Center."
As part of the deal, St. Vincent's got exclusive rights to tout Manning in media ads.
Manning was required to make six appearances a year on behalf of the hospital, including fund-raising galas, and provide signed memorabilia.
Perhaps I’m underestimating the power of a celebrity endorsement, but at the time the decision was made wouldn’t it have been more frugal to spend the $250,000 each year on caring for the sick and poor who enter the doors of St. Vincent’s as, most agree, the hospital has done admirably for so many years?