Justin Combs worked hard in high school to improve his football game and earn a 3.75 GPA . He recently received a $54,000 merit-based scholarship to UCLA, where he’ll play football.
In April, Forbes named Justin Combs’ dad, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, the wealthiest artist in hip-hop. Some say the family should return Justin’s scholarship, arguing that Combs should pay for his son’s education and taxpayer money should go to students with greater financial need. Other say Justin Combs earned the scholarship through his grades and athletic ability, and deserves to keep it.
What do you think? Should the Combs family keep, return or donate the money? Should students with wealthy parents have access to merit-based scholarships and financial aid?
Here’s my question: Why is this even a question?
Justin Combs earned an athletic scholarship. It was based on merit, and he kept a 3.75 GPA as a student athlete to boot. if he was anyone else’s son other than the most famous hip-hop media mogul on the planet, this wouldn’t be asked. There’s nothing stopping P. Diddy from donating to UCLA in the amount of the scholarship too. But it shouldn’t be up to mob rule whether he does or not, nor should we be questioning the scholarship.
I can’t help but think that if Justin’s father was a hedge fund manager or CEO of a tech company, this wouldn’t even be newsworthy (and my opinion that he not give back the merit scholarship would still stand.) If I was completely cynical, I’d say this had something to do with race, but of course since Sean Combs is an extremely successful businessman who obviously raised a son with a fantastic work ethic and no small amount of physical skill, that can’t possibly be it either. Maybe it’s politics, but if anything, Republicans should be screaming bloody murder over this. Isn’t this exactly what they say the success story of a strong, intelligent black father raising a gifted son should be?
So again I’m baffled by why this is being asked at all. Again, should P. Diddy donate to UCLA in the amount of his son’s scholarship (or more than that?) Sure, if I were him, I’d make that happen, I can afford to. But I wouldn’t make my son give up something he earned with his own ability, especially a son trying to make his own way in the world in his father’s very long shadow. And we’re certainly not implying that Justin Combs didn’t earn a merit scholarship, right?
So unless one of those assumptions I made up there is wrong, why is CNN asking if he should return it outright? If this was Bill Gates son, or Angelina Jolie’s daughter, or Mitt Romney son, would this still be an issue?
Zandar is ABLC's Cincinnati-area correspondent, covering Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana politics and all the nearly endless unintentional comedy the Tri-State area brings. He's proprietor of Zandar vs. The Stupid, where he's been blogging since 2008, and you can also find him at Balloon Juice and The Reaction as a contributor, or you can yell at him on Twitter at @ZandarVTS.
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