The Bills Go From Taking a Knee to Engaging the Community

By Mary Pesarchick // @HeyMom418

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is one of five team captains that make up what Coach Sean McDermott calls his “Leadership Council.” Alexander, along with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, kicker Stephen Hauschka, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, and center Eric Wood, are the players that McDermott says he depends on to be a “sounding board … in terms of what’s going on, how the team’s reacting to things.”

This sounding board was particularly valuable when the team was sorting out its response to the anthem protests going on around the league. Prior to the Bills-Broncos game in Week 3, a long meeting was held in which McDermott, all the Bills players, general manager Brandon Beane, and team owners Kim and Terry Pegula were able to respectfully discuss their viewpoints and work out a mutually agreeable solution. On Game Day, Alexander was one of 12 Bills players who knelt during the anthem, while McDermott and the remaining players linked arms along the sidelines in a display of solidarity.

Alexander commented on his reasons for taking a knee that day. “We have great privileges here but as … a U.S. citizen I [wanted] to call or bring attention to things that need change. With that, today I kneeled but I won’t continue to kneel. [Today] I kneeled to show those guys …that I am with them.”

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THE STAR AND THE COMMUNITY: HELPING TEXAS EXCEL

By Kimberly Bowman // @kimberlygrace__

Fans all over the country have their own unique reasons for why they became fans of the Dallas Cowboys. Whether it be a memory from childhood or just good old-fashioned Texas pride, most fans take their dedication to the team very seriously.

And the men and women behind the star take their famed position in society just as serious, seeing the need to give back to the community that supports them whole-heartedly. And while the holiday season can be difficult for a majority, America’s team does what they can both during the holidays and year-round to make life for some of our country’s less fortunate a bit more joyous.

For twenty years, the Cowboys have teamed up with the Salvation Army and have acquired just over two billion dollars in donations for the organization dedicated to helping the needy with their Red Kettle Campaign across the States. Spanning from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Eve, the Red Kettle Campaign works to provide the less fortunate with shelter, meals, and even toys to those who could otherwise not afford such luxuries.

Players giving back courtesy: dallascowboys.com

Partnering with the Cowboys, the Salvation Army gets the limelight every Thanksgiving day as they work to bring in the funds to make the holidays extra special for the people in their community, their world, and ultimately the country as we ring in the Christmas season. Many of the team members volunteer seasonally to serve Thanksgiving meals to the homeless and offer Christmas cheer in many avenues of need. Continue reading “THE STAR AND THE COMMUNITY: HELPING TEXAS EXCEL”

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#NFLGoodGuys: The Packers give back through 12th Tailgate Tour

By Marcela Vargas @ethne88

From April 4-8, the Green Bay Packers gave back to the Wisconsin and Northern Michigan communities with their yearly Tailgate Tour.

Saturday April 8th saw the end of the Green Bay Packers’ 12th annual Tailgate Tour. From April 4th through 8th, a group of Packers (both current and former) players embarked on this on-the-road charity event that raised funds for six different non-profit organizations. The players involved visited towns in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to connect with their fans in person and give back to the community. The lucky cities to receive the Tailgate Tour were Medford, Ashland, Houghton, Rhinelander, and Iron Mountain.

This year, the Packers Tailgate Tour included current players Brett Hundley, Aaron Ripkowski and Jake Ryan; former players Robert Ferguson, Ahman Green and Ryan Longwell; as well as Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy.

With surprise stops that allow the Packers to reach out to a wider part of their fans in hospitals, schools, and community centers, the tour gives everyone a chance to enjoy a good time with their idols while helping out local charities. Over 2.3 million dollars have been raised for local nonprofits in the 12 years duration of the Tailgate Tour.

The Tailgate parties help fans connect with the Packers through Q&A sessions and autograph signing. However, according to the players themselves, this is a unique chance for them to both get to know their fanbase better and thank them for the constant support.

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Devin and Jason McCourty Tackle Sickle Cell

By Kristen Parker @nepatsgirl87

Twin brothers, Devin and Jason McCourty began a campaign to tackle sickle cell in 2013.  They started this foundation to aspire to teach the public about this disease, increase blood donations and raise money and awareness to fight the disease. 

Sickle cell disease is a group of red blood cell disorders passed down from parent to child.  This group of diseases affects nearly 100,000 people in the United States.  Red blood cells contain a protein that carries oxygen in the blood to all parts of the body.  Normal red blood cells are round and flexible, which allow them to travel around and get oxygen to your body.  Sickle cell disease causes the red blood cells to form a sickle shape, which break apart simply, clump together more easily and only live 10 to 20 days instead of the normal 120 days. 

According to Devin, “sickle cell disease affected us at a young age because my father carried the trait.  I remember we took blood tests at 5 years old to see if we carried the trait as well and it was a relief when we learned we didn’t.  That didn’t end the journey with Sickle Cell because both our aunt and uncle had the disease.” 

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