Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long has confessed that he will be giving his $1 million base salary to charity to help others. Under the firm belief that education opens doors for all Americans, the NFL player will be donating his final ten checks of this season to supporting educational equity and opportunity in Philadelphia, Boston, and St. Louis.
The former Patriots and Rams player wrote in a statement, “I’m playing the entire 2017 NFL season without collecting income because I believe that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America. I’m encouraging fans, businesses and every person with a desire to join in my pursuit of equal education opportunities for all students to make their own pledge.”
With hope in doubling the money he is pledging, he has set up a “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” campaign page to urge people in Philadelphia, Boston and St. Louis to donate. This is not the first time Long has pledged money from his salary to help educational opportunities. He previously funded two scholarships in Charlottesville, Virginia, by pledging his first six checks from the 16-game-regular season.
“We want these scholarships to be reflective of what the ‘Cville’ community is really about – supporting one another, social equality and building up those in our community who need it,” Long said in a statement last month. “We hope our investment will change the lives of the students who receive the scholarship and in turn, those students can positively impact others.”
He added, “I’ve made a lot of money in my career, so it’s not like I’m scrapping check to check. This isn’t a hero thing. It’s nothing like that. It’s honestly just that I want to put my money where my mouth is.” Long is being true to his word after having previously been outspoken about his concern for many social issues, including the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August, which caused an outburst of complete violence.
His concern for the violence in the U.S. was highlighted when NFL players protested against police brutality and systemic oppression by raising their fist during the national anthem.
Long is not the first professional athlete to put a significant amount of money toward education. In 2015, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James announced that he would be paying for hundreds of qualifying students from Akron, Ohio, to go to college on four-year academic scholarships.