Sunday, January 21, 2018

NFL fans pay it forward in a way that we need more of

With a lot of evil and cynicism ruling in America, I wanted to point out a great story that's happening in several parts of this country. It started 3 weeks ago, after Andy Dalton threw a touchdown on 4th and 12 to beat the Baltimore Ravens and put the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Bills fans, thankful for Dalton sending their team to the playoffs and ending the draught, flocked to The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation in droves. Endless donations. Endless thanks. Endless publicity. Donations in $17 increments for every year out of the playoffs.

As of noon [January 6], the total was just shy of $345,000 from a whopping 15,000 donors, according to Sarah Sampson, an account manager at PR agency Vehr Community that does pro bono media relations for his foundation.

"The generosity of an opposing team, a fan base that's not even ours -- a team we beat this year, amazing," Dalton said. "It puts it all into perspective. I mean, they made the playoffs not just because we won but they also had to win to get there. But it's a crazy story -- the impact a football game has on people. They were willing to donate to someone else's charity. That shows you how big the game is, how you can use it for good."

Dalton's charity aims to provide support and resources to families, using daily help and experiences to assist those with seriously ill or physically challenged children in his hometowns of Cincinnati and Fort Worth, Texas. A big focus, Dalton said, is the "Pass it on Fund," which provides assistance to families struggling to pay medical bills.
2 weeks later, the Jacksonville Jaguars upset the Bengals hated rivals in Pittsburgh, and after being spurred on by a Cincinnati sports radio host, the Bengals fans decided to pay it forward with nearly $5,000 in donations within 2 days.

And then the most remarkable example happened after the Minnesota Vikings' miracle playoff win on Sunday. Earlier in the game, Saints punter Thomas Morstead threw down the Vikings' Marcus Sherels on a return, likely saving a touchdown. However, Morstead hurt his ribs doing so and was clearly hampered while punting the rest of the game. Morstead was also one of the handful of shellshocked Saints who returned from the locker room to simulate a defense on the post-touchdown kneeldown following Stefon Diggs' game-winning TD.

Viking fans were so impressed by Morstead's toughness and classiness that they found an organized way to respond.
A Vikings fan noticed Morstead’s act of sportsmanship and suggested on the social website Reddit that the purple faithful respond by donating to the punter’s charity, What You Give Will Grow, an organization that focuses on pediatric cancer.

By Wednesday evening, more than 2,500 people had given more than $108,000. One donor gave $10,000, but most gave smaller amounts, including $6, the punter’s uniform number, said Lindsey Mitchell, corporate communications manager for the New Orleans Saints.

Morstead said he’d give the money to Children’s Minnesota — and that he’d fly to Minneapolis to deliver the check personally if donations reached $100,000 by the end of the week.
By Wednesday night, Morstead posted the following video to his foundation's YouTube channel, holding up his end of the bargain.

2 days ago, donations were reported as being over $200,000, leading Children's Minnesota staff and patients to respond in gratitude.

Viking fans keep up that great act, and I'm going to have to stop despising them and making fun of their inferiority complex about the Packers. Of course, if the Vikes win tonight, then they'll be a whole different level of obnoxious for the next 2 weeks. So perhaps all the reason to say "GO EAGLES" right now, eh?

Regardless, those three stories about fans being inspired to assist NFL players' foundations after games are yet another example where the average person/sports fan is well above our elites and elected officials when it comes to doing the right thing. And we need more of "do things because they are right and decent" everywhere in this country these days.

1 comment:

  1. Sports and music have the capacity to unite us in ways that seem unique - at times crossing boundaries of politics, geography, class, race, age, ethnicity.

    I grew up in a diverse neighborhood - sadly by the time we went to high school, we felt the pressures and segregated into our groups based mostly on class and race. People I'd grown up with refused to recognize me, and while it hurt to do it and hurts more to say it, I admit that I succumbed to social pressure and came to ignore them as well.

    It was only playing ball or playing music (football and jazz band in my case) where those boundaries could be breached and at least momentarily healed.

    There is power in this.