Randy Shaver's on-air cancer foundation plugs are "ethically questionable," professor says

Categories: Media beefs
randy shaver rect.jpeg
Shaver says he doesn't pressure schools into participating and doesn't let his foundation impact his coverage.
:::: UPDATE :::: KARE 11's Randy Shaver responds to "experts" questioning his ethics

Randy Shaver, a longtime KARE 11 TV anchor, hosts a Friday night show focused on high school sports. He's also a cancer survivor who founded a foundation named the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.

SEE ALSO:
-- KARE 11 criticized for hosting "potentially harmful" health screenings at State Fair
-- Randy Shaver bike accident: KARE 11 anchor breaks arm, bruises face in crash [PHOTO]


This fall, the Minnesota Football Coaches Association contacted high schools to ask if they'd be up for hosting "Tackle Cancer" nights during football games, with proceeds to go toward Shaver's foundation. Nearly 140 schools agreed to participate, and in some cases Shaver plugged the events during his prep sports shows.

From the Star Tribune:
"Final score tonight: Mounds View winning at home on 'Tackle Cancer Night', 40-0," [Shaver] told his Channel 11 viewers during an October telecast. "They did a nice job raising money. Here's the highlights of the game."

A "Tackle Cancer Night" brochure, featuring Shaver, suggested that schools "organize a group of lower level players or parents" to collect money at the gate, and said the team raising the most money would be featured on Shaver's TV show. On one of his prep sports shows, Shaver told his viewers that "in Waterville, just west of Faribault, that town, that team raised $4,500 for 'Tackle Cancer,' mostly by selling T-shirts and sweatshirts."...

Shaver's foundation, which in 2009 paid Shaver's wife $10,400 as its vice president and treasurer, has raised $4 million for cancer research since the 1990s and collected more than $118,000 during this fall's inaugural "Tackle Cancer" campaign...
The Strib report details how Shaver's foundation competes with the American Cancer Society for the right to fundraise at games. The American Cancer Society raised $200,000 from its "Coaches vs. Cancer" campaign during the 2011-12 school year -- a bit more than what Shaver brought in with his "Tackle Cancer" events this fall.

But not all schools are comfortable with the two-pronged fundraising push. Speaking of Shaver's foundation and the American Cancer Society, Jamie Sherwood, activities director at Wayzata High School, told the Strib: "We try to keep them out of our athletic venues because I just don't think that's what people buy a ticket for."

Shaver's on-air plugs have also drawn criticism. Gary Schwitzer, a blogger for Health News Review, lists some of the reasons he's not comfortable with Shaver speaking on behalf of "Tackle Cancer" events during his prep sports show:
-- Shaver claims no conflict, yet his wife is paid.
-- The high school kids involved are minors.
-- Is there at least a subtle coercion involved by a TV-airtime-controlling personality recruiting kids to raise money for his foundation? [During one show, Shaver said: "The Irondale quarterback sent me a check -- sent a check to 'Tackle Cancer.' (How) about that? Two hundred and thirty-one dollars out of his own pocket."]
-- How, precisely, is the money that is raised actually spent?
-- What percentage of the funds raised goes to administration/marketing, etc.?
In a sidebar to Mike Kaszuba's Strib story, Jane Kirtley, a professor of media ethics and law at the U of M, characterized Shaver's on-air plugs as "ethically questionable."

"He's using what is essentially a news program to promote a foundation -- a charitable foundation -- in which he has a stake," Kirtley told the Strib, adding that she believes Shaver is motivated by the common notion he's "on the side of the angels here, and how can anybody doubt your pureness of heart?"

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Shaver contacted high schools to inquire about whether they'd host a "Tackle Cancer Night." That work was actually done by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association. We apologize for the error.



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18 comments
Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee

Seriously? This is not a debatable topic. "Oh what an asshole he is for trying to raise $ for cancer and asking kids to help." Gimme a break, does anyone know of any factual occurrences where he has scammed anyone or pocketed the $? Obviously not. Besides his wife getting a measly percentage for all the work she does where is the conflict? I agree with David - I think the ACS is behind this because they are scheming jerks and do the very things Kris talked about. When you have some real reasons and facts then make it news, right now this is just gossipy BS.

Shawn Taylor
Shawn Taylor

I think that is up to his bosses to decide.

Kyle Matteson
Kyle Matteson

also... what is with Facebook now arranging comments in reverse order? :o

Kyle Matteson
Kyle Matteson

Kris gotcha... was just curious since they have little to do with this article (other than they also fundraise at high school events) is all ;)

Kyle Matteson
Kyle Matteson

Kris, Randy's charity is separate from the ACS fwiw ;)

Ben Polzin
Ben Polzin

Why isn't anyone asking why KARE11 isn't getting into trouble, Randy Shaver has producers that work for kare11 doesn't he?

Andrea Mudrey
Andrea Mudrey

...and perhaps the NFL should stop wearing pink in October.

Chrissy Burgell
Chrissy Burgell

10 grand a year for holding 2 positions isn't very much. How much does what's-her-face from Susan G. Komen make? A hell of a lot more than that. They should definitely put out a transparency report though.

Angela Salzl
Angela Salzl

Stfu with this questionable crap. People need hobbies to focus on instead of pissing and moaning online because someone else is fund raising! Does anyone else see how pointless it really is?

Andrew Hine
Andrew Hine

Fighting cancer is not unethical. No one said it is. Shaver's methods, however, are "questionable." That's all.

Jeremy Christensen
Jeremy Christensen

I just really don't give a fuck. I think that anchor's should battle the weather men colliseum style once a month. To the death.

Daniel Wolter
Daniel Wolter

Leave it to a journalism school professor to call fighting cancer unethical.

Kris Vruno Huson
Kris Vruno Huson

My issue with American Cancer Society is that they give very little to cancers that affect teens or kids, the very people they parade out to help them fundraise for adult cancers.

David Gustafson
David Gustafson

Is this about ethics, or is it that the American Cancer Society, like most large charity fundraisers, tries to eliminate its competition?

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

How about Shaver just puts an end to the fund raising, then who will look like the dick?

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