This Week in NFL Do-Goodery: Larry Fitzgerald, Trey Burton, Adam Thielen
After the wear and the tear and the opening weeks the NFL season, players could use their sliver of free time to relax and do nothing. Some certainly relish every second of off time, but many others are out there working hard in their local communities. This week, and every week, we celebrate the players using their platform and wealth to boost the lives of the less fortunate.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald picked up the tab for all diners at a Scottsdale deli over the course five hours on Tuesday to raise funds for its terminally ill owner, Joe Casella. Casella and has wife, Tina, have owned Casella’s Italian Delicatessen since 1977. Fitzgerald encouraged diners to donate to Casella’s medical fund in exchange for the free meals, and likely gifted the family a few new customers in the process.
“Joe and his family are such a big part of the community and a true example of a family run restaurant that cares about their neighbors and community,” Fitzgerald said in a news release. “When I met Joe and his family, I saw something special, the same thing customers see when they meet the Casella family, people who truly care about their neighbors and know their customers on a personal level, and if they don’t know you yet, they do when you come in and they don’t forget. I want to support Joe, his legacy and his family and I hope those that come in Tuesday will do the same by donating to support this man, his family and what they have and continue to represent.”
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce opened the 87 & Running Robotics Lab, providing a safe space and educational opportunities for underserved kids in the Kansas City area. Kelce also hosted his annual Walk the Walk fashion show, with proceeds given to organizations that support underprivileged kids and families. He was named the NFLPA’s Community MVP for the week.
Lions LB Trevor Bates ran drills with boy and girls aged 7-14 who have a parent in prison or who was formally in prison. In addition to a day of football, Bates and other professionals on site spent time mentoring the children. The event hit home for Bates who grew up with a father in jail.
Browns RB Duke Johnson visited 4th graders at a Berea elementary school to promote staying active.
Bears TE Trey Burton announced he donating $1000 for every reception and $25000 for every TD to International Justice Mission, an organization that aims to put an end to slavery and human trafficking.
The Chicago Bears became the first team to maximize the NFL’s social justice initiative. Bears players, through a social justice committee headed by LB Sam Acho, TE Trey Burton, QB Chase Daniel, DT Akiem Hicks and QB Mitchell Trubisky will have a $250,000 donation matched by the team for a total of $500,000. Donations will go to organizations with a focus of education and community/police relations. This partnership is part of the $90 million the NFL pledged to the Player’s Coalition to combat societal inequality.
Vikings WE Adam Thielen, Along with his wife Caitlin and son Asher launched the Thielen Foundation to enrich lives in the Twin Cities area. The foundation’s first gift was a $100,000 donation to the behavioral health unit of University of Minnesota’s Masonic Children’s Hospital.
The NFL Foundation donated $1 million to Hurricane Florence relief.