The Power of Sports in Charity

The Power of Sports in Charity

So, last week the WWSRN was host to a Toy Drive for Project Toy. We were introduced to Project Toy by Gary Brown former Green Bay Packer, LI native and guest on the Haystack Show. The drive was a great success and we collected a great deal of toys. I have been so impressed with the level of involvement of Gary Brown and those like him.

Last week LSU’s Joe Burrow’s Heisman speech brought in over $236,000 to a local food pantry. If you haven’t heard his speech I suggest that you look it up. Not everyone can afford to donate money, but we can give the most valuable thing we have which is our time to help others. It’s heart warming to see a speech like that from someone who is really just starting out and sees the bigger picture. He selflessly used his moment to shed light on others that are in need and ask for support. Just one speech is responsible for $236,000 which will allow so many hungry people to have food on their table for many months to come. Words and actions are powerful, we need more people like Joe Burrow inspiring others to do good.

Each year, the NFL selects one player from each NFL team for the Walter Payton: Man Of The Year Award. If you look at the list of those awarded and what they have done, it’s pretty amazing. Why the media or NFL don’t celebrate these achievements I don’t understand. These are people who use their celebrity status to bring focus and help to a cause that resonates with them. One award receipant stand out for me is Anquan Boldin. Boldin was recognized for the work he has done through his foundation he started in 2004 that offers several programs including educational support for under privileged children and community support.

During his acceptance speech, Boldin said:
“When I first got into the NFL nobody could tell me anything. I was living life.” “I had achieved my dream of one day making it into the NFL, but soon realized that’s not what life is all about. I realized my purpose in life was not to make it to the NFL and score touchdowns. God put me on this earth for something much bigger that that and I realized and understand what my purpose is now. It’s my prayer and my hope that I can live out the rest of my life honoring God and help as many people as possible. I think Boldin summed it up perfectly. People like Boldin are the real heroes of the NFL. The good they do is inspiring and should be celebrated.

Do NFL Players make Too Much?

Do NFL Players make Too Much?

This is a question that Think we all have pondered from time to time. When I think of the money some of the coveted NFL Players are paid I am stunned at the money involved. The reality is they are paid to play a game and hopefully a game they love.If they are playing for the love of the game then they are very fortunate to be playing the game they love and make an incredible living at it to boot. Back to the money, I always thought it was insane for players of any sport really to be paid millions to just throw,catch or run a ball. That all changed this past week when we had Gary Brown, former NFL player and Super Bowl champ on the Haystack show. I had the opportunity to ask Gary Brown if he thought NFL players were paid too much and his answer surprised m and changed my opinion of NFL salaries. Gary said he used to fee the same way I did. But after someone explained to him that every player is one hit away from having his career end. That really sunk into him, the same way it did me. Thinking that anytime you go out into the field you are at risk of ending your career, loosing your way to make a living and potentially having to deal with a life long injury. Gary also reminded me that for every player with a large contract there are 10 or more on the roster not even close to making an 1/8 of that money who are running the same risk. When you take the field at the highest level, it isn’t just a game anymore, it’s your livelihood. When you think about it, it’s difficult to put a price tag on that. If the players want to take that risk and the teams want to payout, I say let em’ pay!
The NFL and Domestic Violence

The NFL and Domestic Violence

It seems like football and battered women go together. That is not to say that all NFL players abuse women, I don’t want to stereotype.

We have all heard or read of terrible stories of abuse by NFL players and it would appear that the NFL sometimes turns a blind eye.

There have been several incidents that were caught on video and there was no denying that an assault took place. TMZ has brought quite a few videos to the surface and the NFL has had no choice but to address them. The common reaction is a player placed on suspension or an exempt list. If a player does get caught on video they seem to just get a slap on the wrist and pushed back out on the field. The NFL investigations are often done half assed. Let’s face it the NFL is a money making machine and they want the players out on the field, even the one that are drawing attention for all the wrong reasons.

Deborah Epstein who is the Co-Director of the Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Center was on the NFL Player’s Association Commission for Domestic Violence until she and another colleague quit in June of this past year. The two claimed that the NFL was doing nothing other than giving lip service about domestic violence issues against women. The question is Why? We already know the answer-Money. The NFL is a money machine and they treat the fans like cash cows feeding them what they want and hoping the will forget that the cow ultimately winds up in the meat farm.
I hope in the new year the NFL will smarten up and realize that criminals should not be celebrated on or off the field and those that hurt women, children and animals are among the worst beings on earth. Cleaning up the field starts from the top down. There needs to be a protocol to deal with violence against women that has no exceptions.

Gary Brown

Gary Brown

I had the opportunity this past week to do some volunteer work. I like to try and find different organizations each year to volunteer with and this year I found Gary Brown’s. You may recall that Gary Brown, a Long Island native last played Offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers in 1996. Mr. Brown started Gary’s Youth Foundation ( to help disadvantaged youth through mentoring and of course football.

His foundation also transforms over the holidays to collect food, prepare meals and deliver them to families in need. I met Mr. Brown this past week where I volunteered to sort and pack up food collected and donated. I watched him greet every single person that came to volunteer and he took extra time with every child. It was very special to watch him with the children, he engaged them and was genuine and made each child feel special about their involvement no matter how big or small. I was so impressed with him that I also volunteered to help on Thanksgiving Day.

Gary’s Youth Foundation runs like a well oiled Offensive Line. I reported to the Family Service League in Brentwood at 8:30 am on Thanksgiving morning.The Family Service League provides housing for those in need from all walks of life. The food we had sorted had been taking to a catering facility that cooked it all and made single portion dinners. Again, Gary was there to greet and thank very single person that was there, and it was quite a crowd.

Former NFL players like Gary Brown are out there doing great thing and being charitable and it’s great to see and be a part of. Most of the news that is reported is negative and it is comforting to know that good things are happening, people do care and together people can make a difference. Gary’s Youth Foundation is making a difference and I saw it in the faces of those who received the meals and in Gary’s face when he spoke to each volunteer and resident. I am thankful that there are people like Gary in the NFL that care enough to put disadvantaged people in the forefront and let them know they are loved.

Super Bowl Halftime Show Won’t Rock

Brace yourself, here we go again with the Super Bowl half time performance selection. This Super Bowl the half time performers with be Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Honestly, I couldn’t be less interested. After last year’s circus with Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi (yeah that’s for real) I think I will volunteer myself to make the half time beer run.
I have no clue who is in charge of the half time talent selection and I am sick of seeing pop music half time shows with wardrobe malfunctions.

I want to hear the music that rocks out in the stadiums during the games and guess what that isn’t pop music! Rock Music is what rocks out the stadiums- you can’t go to a game without hearing Queen’s We Will Rock You. We Will Rock You is the #1 stadium anthem song played. Why can’t the NFL invite a rock band to perform? Why is rock shunned when it comes to halftime shows? Dee Snider of Twisted Sister shares my sentiments and called out the NFL in a tweet after the announcement of this year’s performers. His tweet recognizes that rock/heavy metal music is the music that rocks out the stadium each week, game after game and yet Rock/Heavy Metal performers are shunned for those that shake their money makers. All the world’s a stage unless you are a hard rock band looking to play the Super Bowl half time show.