NFL Player Gives Entire Salary to Send Kids to College
Remember the 1984 song, “Let’s hear it for the boy”? Well, we need to hear it for the man, Braylon Edwards, who now plays for the San Francisco 49ers. This year, Edwards is going to make good on a promise to send 100 kids to college with $10,000 scholarships if they maintain a 2.5 GPA or better. He also told them to do 15 hours of community service.
Out of the 100 kids who were given the offer, 79 of them completed their end of the bargain. Now, Edwards is going to have to deliver nearly $1 million in scholarship money to the kids, which matches the salary that he is going to earn this year by playing for the 49ers.
Edwards made the promise during his rookie season in 2005. I would expect that he thought he’d be making more money by now, and one can only hope that he has sponsors to back his pledge. But in spite of the fact that his promise might have been a naive challenge, he deserves attention for being an athlete doing something good for the community. In that regard, I applaud Edwards with every ounce of my being.
“Without this scholarship, I probably wouldn’t be here,” said Bowling Green freshman David Gholston.
Edwards worked with his mother to create the Advance 100 program. They say that Edwards’ football abilities are a way for them to use their blessings to help others. While they didn’t expect so many kids in the Cleveland area to meet the criteria, they still plan to keep their commitment.
“I’m supposed to give people a chance like I was given a chance,” Edwards said.
This bold move by Edwards tells us two things: First, it reminds us of the awesome power of professional athletes to make a difference in the world in which they live. Rather than being distracted by gold chains, rims and female attention, they can use the strength of their platforms to create avenues for others to be successful. When 79 inner city kids go to college, thousands of lives are made better in the process, since our successes and failures have multiplicative ripple effects on our children, our family members and nearly every person with whom we interact. An educated and productive citizen has a markedly different impact on the world than one who has been trained to be a menace to society.
Second, this incident reminds us that not all of our kids are choosing to go to hell in a hand basket. When given a chance to go to college, the MAJORITY of these kids chose education over the other things they could have done. Our kids WANT to be successful and they have a deep desire to be educated. It is only mass media that works night and day to turn good kids into thugs.
So, in light of recent public remarks about poor black kids not wanting to do well, or stories about young black men being shot over a piece of candy, there are stories like this one that remind us that most of us are choosing to do the right thing.
Way to go Braylon, I’m proud of you. Maybe the athletes who compete with you on the field will compete off the field by trying to match your feat. There are millions of kids who need our support, and you just won your first Super Bowl.