By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN
**This article contains views of the author and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Our Turf Football.**
There are plenty of NFL players that are doing great things in their various communities, and they all deserve to be celebrated.
One such player is Philadelphia Eagles defensive end, Chris Long. As you know, he was named the 2018 Walter Payton Man Of The Year this past Saturday. Long, like the other nominees for the award, has long been a good guy in his community. However, to me, he sticks out for some very important reasons.
I’ve always felt that if you’re given a platform to do some good, then it’s your responsibility to do just that. Not that you have to, of course, but it’s a good thing to do.
Long’s Waterboy initiative has been in place since 2016. Its goal is to bring fresh water to the African country of Tanzania by building sustainable wells. The goal is to build 32 wells, one for every team in the NFL. He is bringing together veterans, NFL players, and has recently expanded to include NBA players as well.
Working with Nate Boyer, former Seattle Seahawk and active duty Green Beret, and his Conquering Kili program, Long and other NFL players will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and money for Long’s Waterboy initiative. They will be joined by NFL players Jason Kelce, and Haloti Ngata.
— Waterboys.org (@WaterboysORG) February 5, 2019
And while this is a fantastic cause, Chris Long has long been someone I’ve admired from afar for other reasons.
Long has never been afraid of speaking out on topics of social injustice. While that wasn’t the crux of why he got the Walter Payton Award, to me, it may have added to why he won. Long has been one of those on Twitter that I can count on to give a good word, and help people understand when and why something isn’t right. This tweet in regards to the governor of Virginia is a good example of why I’ve come to admire and respect him:
I thought @Bakari_Sellers nailed this. Especially the part about systemic racism. A school that trains ppl entrusted with great responsibilities thought this was okay. Ralph can’t represent our state. Unacceptable at any age, but he was 25. C’mon man. https://t.co/XCrVX9v41w
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 2, 2019
He’s also done things like donating his game checks to various scholarships in his hometown, and to support equal educational opportunities in the communities in which he’s played.
Using your platform to benefit the community around you will always be seen as something good, and I’m looking forward to highlighting others who continue to help their communities. Congratulations, Chris. The award was well deserved.
Talk good guys in the NFL with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN