We're big football fans in my house, and each Sunday during football season my husband, two sons, and I proudly don the purple jerseys of our hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings. But as a fan, a woman, and a mom, I've been distressed and disgusted by what's going on in the league right now. (Today's decision to "indefinitely bench" the Vikings' star running back, Adrian Peterson, while he addresses child abuse allegations is the right decision in my mind.)
Given the current state of affairs, it was heartening to actually read something positive about an NFL team recently—even if it's one I don't normally want to win. During the preseason, the Cincinnati Bengals cut defensive tackle Devon Still, but then signed him to the practice squad so he could keep his health insurance—something that's important for any player, but especially one who has a 4-year-old daughter fighting cancer. Then, the team did something even more heartwarming: it announced that all proceeds of sales from Still's jersey would benefit Cincinnati Children's Hospital and pediatric cancer care and research. And then Still was added back to the official roster—thus ensuring that there will be more interest in the jerseys.
As Today.com reported, after the announcement about the jerseys was made, single-day sales of Still's number 75 set a team record, according to Bengals director of sales and public affairs Jeff Berding. To date, more than $400,000 has been raised thanks to the jerseys. (If you can't afford to buy a jersey, there are other ways to help the cause, too, including a Still Strong T-Shirt and website where you can pledge your support: Help the Bengals Sack Pediatric Cancer.)
A cynic might say that Still's re-signing was a good PR move for a league in dire need of some positive publicity. But to me, the reasons don't really matter. What matters is this: a dad is able to help his daughter get the treatment she needs, and a worthy cause is getting much-needed publicity and funds. Touchdown.
Image: Devon Still/Instagram