In today’s society, the public perception of professional athletes has been more negative than positive. It is a fact that top elite professional football, basketball and baseball players make millions and millions of dollars per season, risking their health and sacrificing their bodies to the game that they all love and cherish.
The majority of the critical commentary has been harsh, claiming that athletes only know how to dunk, make jump shots and score touchdowns. After hours, when athletes are off the fields and ball courts, it’s all bling-bling, parties, women and making it rain at the local night club. Again, it’s all perception.
As the top national media sectors continue to over publicize the atrocious news, reporting the murders, twitter beefs, DUI’s, positive drug testing results and club brawls, little mention of what the good guys are implementing and the simple fact is that their involvement in the communities rarely ever bubble to the surface, hence my story now.
When you hear mention of Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman, most football fans will say that they hate him because of his cocky attitude and big mouth. But what you probably didn’t know about the up-and-coming Compton, California superstar is his commitment to the community.
This year, Sherman recently launched The Richard Sherman Family Foundation. His foundation’s focus has been leveling the playing field for children in grades K-12 who have the potential, ambition and devotion to get the most out of their education. The demographics to Sherman’s program ranges from inner-city youth to children that are in foster care.
But Sherman’s efforts are not alone. Conjointly, former University of Michigan and current Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley also is a servant off the field of battle. Earlier this month, Woodley hosted his fifth annual LaMarr Woodley Foundation Sack Attack kick-off event, targeting educational challenges and literacy. The event took place in Western Pennsylvania.
During the Sack Attack event, Woodley donated $500 dollars per sack, which was matched by event sponsors that included PepsiCo, Dave & Buster’s, GNC and Turkey Hill.
Woodley has also given back to the community in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan, where he has bestowed commodious amounts of funding during his charitable activities.
Lastly, The National Football League Players Association as a whole has been an active advocate within numerous communities across the nation. Most recently, the league has launched a One Team Shop for this year’s One Team For The Cure campaign, benefitting the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
During the expedition, the league, along with Georgetown Lombardi, introduced tee-shirts that featured the name and jersey number of a player who is part of the One Team For The Cure initiative and a tri-colored ribbon: pink exhibiting breast cancer awareness; light blue, prostate cancer awareness; and lavender for awareness of all cancers. Georgetown Lombardi will use its quantum of the proceeds to greater cancer research and treatment.
“Most Americans understand the pain and suffering associated with fighting cancer, and my family is no different,” said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
As I close, it is meaningful for all of us to comprehend that professional athletes are people too. All too often, many people, particularly the media, place these athletes on a pedestal that is so high that, when they make a mistake, they fall callous and are crucified in the public eyes by those who act as if they have never made a mistake throughout their whole lives.