By: Dallas J. Short
Sometimes it seems that NFL players are making more news for their actions off the field than during their 60 minutes on Sundays. Drinking and driving, domestic violence, drug use, social media rants and more have plagued the league and besides distracting from the game, it has also taken away from all of the good that professional athletes do. I’m not talking about throwing their name on a foundation and throwing checks around out of obligation. There are players who give back and help others because they really do care, they have a direct connection to the cause and they want to make a different. They are more interested in making a positive change in someone’s life than they are getting media coverage for it. News started to bubble up this week and though these guys do not do this for the attention, I believe more of us should know and support players like this.
Former running back Warrick Dunn has quietly given 145 homes to single parent families. Dunn’s charity, Warrick Dunn Charities, began helping single-parent families find affordable housing in 1997. He started his philanthropic work with Homes for the Holidays—a service aimed at finding housing for struggling single-parent families in time for Christmas. Dunn dedicates all of his work to his late mother, Betty Smothers, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officer who was shot and killed in a botched armed robbery in 1993.
ESPN reported, that the Pittsburgh Steelers running back, DeAngelo Williams (with his non-profit, The DeAngelo Williams Foundation) will cover the costs of 53 mammogram tests, to honor his mother’s age when she died of breast cancer in 2014. Williams has also lost four aunts to breast cancer. He is working with hospitals in both Pittsburgh and Charlotte, North Carolina. Williams played with the Carolina Panthers before joining the Steelers. However, the NFL is not allowing him to wear pink wristbands to honor the passing of his mother, as it violates the NFL’s uniform policy. So he has decided to make some of his dreadlocks pink in her rememberance. Williams has also rallied the troops to create a team of supporters called “Williams Warriors,” who have helped raise over $500,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In addition to breast cancer awareness, his foundation also promotes literacy and education.
In the NFL, as throughout the world, there are a lot of good people in the world who good things for others and who do not do it to be recognized or for attention. I still believe those people deserve a round of applause and respect. We should all try more.
In a Twitter #TrueGrit chat on Thursday hosted by True Gritness, Super Bowl Champion/Kicker Steve Weatherford encouraged everyone to give. “You don’t have to be in the NFL to inspire, motivate or change someone’s life.” I agree sir.
Have you heard about these men’s great work? Are there other players you know of helping people in need? How often do you give back or try to help others? As always, if you enjoyed what you read, please be social and share. Please feel free to follow me @meddafore @indraPRGroup