Athletes who show random acts of kindness do not need recognition, and if they are doing it just for publicity, rather than showing a good heart, then their morals are all wrong. The nice things athletes do for people, especially children should be admired, but it should not increase their pay from the league or organization they are playing in. As an example, a football player who gives a young fan his game cleats should not receive a pay raise because of his act. It is a nice gesture, but it should do nothing more than show he has a good heart and has respect for others. Being humble is something all athletes should learn how to be.
It's great when athletes do good things and use their platform and fame to try to make a positive difference. However, in general, athletes aren't any more generous than people of any other profession. They get more attention than most people who do good deeds because of their fame and status as professional athletes.
Athletes get recognized enough for the good things they do when they actually seek out the recognition. For the most part, athletes prefer to remain under the radar relative to these kinds of things. They get enough recognition merely for the job they do - being an athlete. But, recognition is always nice.
The only time you hear of an athlete being commended for the "off the field" work they have done is at the award ceremony (one event- after once season); one player is awarded on behalf of the NFL, yet almost 85% of players are role models, but not the peoples favorite, making it hard to always know. Furthermore, do you think ESPN enjoys just creating shows for fun like E:60 and other Make a Wish documentaries. ESPN does this because they realized that they were the ones to come up with showcasing those players that care, but the reason why is because nobody did it before. Athletes need a bigger platform to share what they all do to give back on a daily business, not just volunteer work but even maybe normal conversations with people they run into, and the inspiring success stories that are told!
Sometimes you will hear about an athlete in the news reading to kids or giving footballs or basketballs to fans, but this story is unique and beautiful. I wish more of this ended up in the news rather than hearing about all the NFL players that beat up their wives and disgrace their teams.
No, athletes are not often recognized for the good things they do, but that's not necessarily a problem. Athletes do community service and good works for the sake of the action, not for the recognition they receive. Sometimes a quiet act or gift is more significant than one that's done with great fanfare.