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Glazers don't deserve cheap shots

Many of the Glazer family's 14 children will be on hand today for the grand opening of the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa.

They will join hundreds of other area children, pretending to be raindrops as they move up and down on the 35-foot Water's Journey exhibit, or whipping up imaginary dishes as chefs in the Outback "cafe."

The six Glazer siblings behind the family's ownership of the Bucs and the Manchester United soccer club will beam with pride.

"It exceeds our expectations," Glazer Family Foundation co-president Darcie Glazer Kassewitz said Thursday at a museum gala. "It's colorful and gorgeous and there's so much to do. The kids are going to have a blast.

"This is the real side of the Glazer family and that's the truth."

It almost goes without saying that this idyllic family scene will stand in stark contrast to how some fans view the family.

On both sides of the Atlantic, some ardent Bucs and Manchester United supporters vilify the Glazers. They see them not as a big, tight-knit family, but as miserly penny-pinchers more focused on the bottom line than winning.

Tell them the family donated $5 million to the Children's Museum to kick-start fundraising and make Tampa's newest museum a reality and they'll sniff and offer a snide comment like, "That's pocket change to the Glazers. Just walking-around money."

Such broad-brush dismissals are unfair. You have to give credit where credit is due. You may argue that the team enjoys a sweetheart deal with the tax-funded Raymond James Stadium. You may suggest the family could do more.

But they're giving something and it's not all about public relations.

The family spends much of its time decidedly out of the spotlight, and that always bothers some folks who want them to be more visible. The fact that they helped bring a Super Bowl title to town only bought them so much cache.

But they're not sweating it.

"We do a lot of things, but it's not about the credit," Kassewitz said. "All the talk is not important to us. We know what's happening. We know that we're really helping people. We know and they know."

The grants given by the family foundation total in the millions, and there have been other projects. Both Kassewitz and her brother, Bucs co-chairman Brian Glazer, made note of the Vision Mobile, which provided eye exams and glasses to 1,500 underprivileged kids.

"People will look back (over time) and see the things we've done," Bryan said. "You give a pair of glasses to a kid who couldn't see, that didn't know he couldn't see. … They put the glasses on and suddenly his world is changed. I'm trying to please those people.

"We're the team owners. We're never going to be loved, but I go to bed at night and my sister goes to bed at night and my family goes to bed at night thinking we give back and we're proud of what we do."

I'm not suggesting the Bucs owners should be free of criticism. I'd like to see them drop some cash on a free agent or two next offseason.

But we need to keep things in perspective.

Whether we celebrate Bucs victories or take our kids to the new museum, we languish in hypocrisy if we fail to recognize their contributions.

And who knows? We may get to do both this weekend.

That's all I'm saying.

Glazers don't deserve cheap shots 09/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 4:54pm]
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