Working for a major sports franchise can bring you fame, money, and a platform for making a difference. While some players fail to use their fame for good, there are those who take the initiative. Chris Long, an NFL defensive end, is one of those people.
The events of Charlottesville shocked the nation, with the “Unite the Right” march, the Nazi chants, and the death of Heather Heyer. These events hit close to home for Long. Though he plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, Long went to school in Charlottesville. In response, Long shared some Mindful tweets on his Twitter account. He clarified that this hatred was not native of Charlottesville and shouldn’t be perpetrated.
Cville residents and students are the vast majority of the ones counter protesting. https://t.co/AxPnrwGkKp
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 12, 2017
Wow… to think that failure to condemn white supremacy is a form of political self preservation in America right now…. tough day.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 13, 2017
Long then used his fame and money to help others. He donated his salary from six NFL games to fund scholarships in Charlottesville. Of the scholarships, two were designated to his alma mater (St. Anne’s-Belfield School). In an official statement, Long said, “In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry. Megan [Long’s wife] and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community.”
Long’s charitable deeds didn’t stop with Charlottesville. In October, he announced that he would be donating his next 10 game checks to education-based causes. His press release announced that he was donating his salary to education-based causes because he “believes education is the key to building a bright future that produces social equality.”
Long also partnered with education-based youth support organizations (Summer Search Boston, Summer Search Philadelphia and College Bound) and launched the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign. The campaign encourages fans, businesses, and other people to contribute to the cause and make educational pledges of their own.
As of today, Pledge 10 for Tomorrow has raised almost $1 million.
All of Chris Long’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. While most people were spending this past week recollecting on how chaotic 2017 was, President Obama shared tweets to “remind us what’s best about America.” One of his tweets was about Long.
Chris Long gave his paychecks from the first six games of the NFL season to fund scholarships in Charlottesville, VA. He wanted to do more, so he decided to give away an entire season’s salary. That’s a story from 2017. https://t.co/NL0RoARkan
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 29, 2017
President Obama’s tweet about Long got back to the Eagles defensive end. Long is reported as saying, “It was just an honor. It is someone who I respect and somebody who I think handled being the face of our nation with class. So it was cool.”
If you feel inspired, consider donating to Chris Long’s charity. The foundation engages in “both international and domestic programs focused around clean water, military appreciation, homelessness and youth.” You can find more information on the Chris Long Foundation website.