Some of America's largest sports leagues have found a meaningful way to turn athletes' sometimes controversial conduct into acts of kindness.
The NFL, MLB and NBA donate much of the money collected from league fines to various charitable causes, according to a recent piece by NBC News Contributor Bill Briggs.
The NFL, for example, reports that it donates $4 million from annual violations to charitable causes through the league's nonprofit, according to The NFL Foundation. This organization funnels the money to various charities -- some of which assist former players, NFL spokesman Michael Signora told NBC.
“Money collected from player fines is used to support the NFLPA Players Assistance Trust and charitable initiatives supporting youth, education and sport-related medical research,” he said. “We think it’s important that fine money collected from players benefits worthy causes that we know are important to players.”
The NFL is not the only major sports league donating the money from player infractions to charity. Since 2003, the NBA has donated more than $12 million in fines to charitable causes, Seat Crunch editor Andrew Powell-Morse estimates -- almost 24 percent of which comes from inappropriately criticizing refs.
Players such as Kenyon Martin, Rasheed Wallace, Allen Iverson, and Shaquille O'Neal , for example, have been among the NBA's most fined players.
But, there is some uncertainty surrounding the NBA's fine donations because the league does not share this information with the public, Powell writes.
However, this is not to say most of America's major league athletes are contributing to charity out of obligation.
Take, for instance, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was fined $30,000 for kicking another player in the groin last year. He also donated $600,000 in scholarship money to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering.
Miami Heat forward Lebron James was almost fined for using a homophobic term during a press interview in 2010. However, he also runs a nonprofit organization, The Lebron James Family Foundation, that supports educational initiatives for disadvantaged children.
(Hat Tip: NBC's Bill Briggs.)