Being given such a huge platform is not commonly taken for granted by successful players in the National Football League. With such tremendous salaries and popularity, professional athletes often understand the impact they have on their communities, and do their part in helping others.
While the media and fans have been focusing on national anthem protests this past year, players all over the league have been helping their communities and donating their time and money to causes they are passionate about; something that has been, unfortunately, overshadowed by more political issues.
One of the first charitable acts we saw this season was that of Deshaun Watson donating his first ever NFL game check to victims of Hurricane Harvey. This was an incredibly selfless decision considering the fact that Watson is in his first ever season as an NFL quarterback, yet still understood the impact he could make by simply helping out people within his community. This is something that many NFL veterans have done as well, with the following being just a few of many.
The shutdown cornerback of the Arizona Cardinals may be well known for his success on the field, but many fans may not know that he started the Foundation for Success, which aims to provide lower-income and inner city youths various resources in order to help them succeed in life.
The Carolina Panthers defensive end has been offering college scholarships to high school students attending his alma mater, Hawkinsville High School in Hawkinsville, Georgia. As if that wasn’t charitable enough, Johnson is active in the real estate market as well, having built affordable housing for seniors in Columbia and Rock Hill, South Carolina. He is also currently assisting with the convergence of an old Charlotte firehouse to a new restaurant; a $3.3 million project.
Following the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles pledged to donate every single one of his game checks to high school scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, while also raising awareness for the atrocious acts that took place there. In addition to this, Long is working alongside the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia to help with scholarships for local middle school students, thereby promoting well-being and education among children.
Many people were made aware of J.J. Watt’s incredible fundraising attempts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, but few knew just how much he would raise. The Houston Texans defensive end raised an astonishing $37 million for victims of the hurricane, much of which came from fans around the country.