NEWS - OCTOBER 2017
The day Chris Long gave a season of NFL checks to charity
The Eagles defensive end’s career is football, but he won't let it be his legacy.
by Charlotte Wilder Oct 26, 2017, 10:00am EDT
Chris Long looks up from his phone in time to see the stoplight change from yellow to red. He slams on the brakes of his Toyota FJ Cruiser and apologizes; he’s trying to follow his GPS while looking for an Instagram video he filmed with a drone at his farm in Virginia. It’s a bird’s eye view of him and a few childhood friends blowing up a Darth Vader doll stuffed with colored powder and Tannerite, an explosive target used in rifle practice.
Long, a defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles, is driving to the Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School in North Philly to speak to high schoolers. Earlier this morning, he announced that he and his wife, Megan, are donating his last 10 game checks to three different organizations devoted to educational equality in the three cities in which he’s played football. He’s calling his new initiative “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow,” encouraging fans to give what they can, and he’ll donate an extra $50,000 to the city with the most donations.
“Ah, here it is!” he says, finding the video. “I know Tannerite isn’t good, but how cool does this look?”
He hands me his phone. It looks very cool, mesmerizing even. Long has set the video to a song by My Morning Jacket, and the soaring chords match the brilliant bursts of teals, greens, and pinks that billow out against a white blanket of snow.
“One of my buddies from high school who I do this stuff with just had a kid,” Long says, taking his phone back. “I hope it doesn’t mean he’ll stop doing dumb shit like this with me.”
I remind Long, who is 32, that he has a kid, and that having children hasn’t stopped him, nor generations of men before him, from doing dumb shit.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he says, and smiles.
Long starts telling me about the other dumb shit he does. He regularly runs out of gas. He's had the car we’re in for two years and hasn't registered it. He lost his birth certificate a while ago. He was so obsessed with the movie Drive that he bought himself a ‘96 Chevy Impala, then totaled it listening to the soundtrack a day later. (He owned a replica of the scorpion jacket Gosling wore, too, but gave it to Goodwill after the crash because “the dream had died.”)
Last year, he listed his former Patriots teammate Danny Amendola’s number on a fake Craigslist ad for a Suzuki Spider, then watched a bewildered Amendola field calls from people looking to buy his nonexistent motorcycle. He and William Hayes, who’s on the Dolphins now but played with Long on the Rams, once filled a teammate’s car with packing peanuts and crickets. The crickets died and it smelled terrible.
“I am incapable of not being a regular fucking moron,” Long says, laughing.
He misses the turn for the high school. He whips the car around, finds the entrance, parks, and walks by a few vans belonging to local news crews and NFL Films. The league is filming the event for some series about Players Doing Good Stuff.
This fall is the first time Long has so overtly publicized his charitable work. He founded WaterBoys in 2014 after he climbed Kilimanjaro with his then-teammate James Hall. So far the organization has funded 26 wells — 22 of which have been built in East Africa — that serve 7,000 people each. With former NFL player and Green Beret Nate Boyer, Long also leads trips of veterans up Kilimanjaro. He then founded the Chris Long Foundation in 2015.
Following the Unite the Right rally in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va., he was moved to put his arm around his teammate Malcolm Jenkins when Jenkins raised his fist during the national anthem before a preseason game. Long has continued to do so through the season, and yesterday, he and Jenkins were two of 12 players at the NFL owners fall meetings to discuss the protests. In a week, they will spend their day off after the Eagles’ Monday Night Football game against Washington at the Pennsylvania State Capitol advocating for criminal justice reform.
After his symbolic gesture, Long felt he had to publicly do something concrete. In September, he gave his first six checks to fund two scholarships at St. Anne’s-Belfield, the private high school he went to in Charlottesville (even though he and Megan had quietly funded two already, and those kids are about to head off to college).
But he wanted do something “more macro,” so now he’s giving away his last 10 checks, too, forgoing an entire season’s salary. He also created the matching campaign on social media because he thinks a lot of people truly do want to help; they just don't know how. Give them a link and a pre-vetted charity, turn it into a competition, and boom: You’re raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. (As of publication, Long has raised over $205,000.)
Inside the high school, Sylvia Watts McKinney, the director of Summer Search, one of the programs Long is supporting, introduces him to the group of kids he’ll be speaking to. She reads a passage from Ralph Ellison’s essay What These Children Are Like.
“If you can show me how I can cling to that which is real to me, while teaching me a way into the larger society, then I will not only drop my defenses and my hostility, but I will sing your praises and help you to make the desert bear fruit.”
“A little bit about me,” Long says, after he thanks McKinney and takes the mic. “I’m a football player. I spent eight years in St. Louis, and we never won more than seven games in a season, which is really bad, for anyone who follows football. It was a rough time.”
Social Studies: Eagles DE Chris Long On Charitable Causes, Advice For Rookies
By Joe Perez, Assistant Editor
Published October 24, 2017
Sports Business Journal
Eagles DE Chris Long (@Joel9One) has made big news this season with his charitable efforts, and has been using social media to spread the word and asked fans to contribute to the cause. Long announced last month he would donate his first six game checks to fund scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va. Then last week, Long expanded his that effort with the announcement he would donate his remaining 10 game checks to organizations committed to balancing educational inequity. His Pledge 10 For Tomorrow campaign will raise money benefiting the three markets he has played in -- St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia. Nearly a week in, the campaign has raised almost $200,000 from fans. Long said the response on social media has been largely positive. Long: "I’m very appreciative of that platform and a lot of the people who follow me on Twitter are a lot of the people who are going to make that commitment grow. I’m very thankful to have great fans in three markets that I’ve played in. These folks are able to affect a lot of change in those places and this is no different.”
Long last week also was one of several NFLers who met with league officials to discuss their concerns regarding societal issues and player protests. He did not want to discuss those proceedings with THE DAILY.
Importance of social media for hot-button topics:
Social media is a really good deal because it gives us all a unique platform that maybe athletes didn’t have in the past. Athletes have always had a big platform, but maybe their avenues to effect change have been limited. Here you have Twitter and Instagram and these mediums where people are saying they want more information on the players they cheer for on the field -- their personal lives, their charitable endeavors. It all depends on how you use it. I like to use social media to have fun. But if it wasn’t for social media, I would have made my donation quietly and it would stay the way it is. The goal is to have this donation matched, or even more. I’m confident we’ll be able to do that because of social media.
Social media helping athletes to "not stick to sports":
No doubt about it. That can be controversial because a lot of people want to know their athletes better -- until they express a belief that’s counter to their own. I always say you are free to follow whoever online. If you don’t like the content a player is giving, you can always unfollow them. There’s a really thin line between it being a really great tool and it being disruptive.
Benefits of social media for an athlete:
I hope fans feel that after years of interacting, they see players are normal people. You see your favorite player tweeting about whatever show they are watching, or they may have the same hobbies you do. If you are watching a baseball game, you may see your favorite player tweeting about that same game. That’s what brings fans and players together. The cool part is when you see athletes interacting with fans. There are a lot of people who I feel like I know, and I just know them from Twitter. It might be fans or media or other athletes. It’s this other world that brings people together who otherwise wouldn’t be together.
Athletes expressing concern about using social media:
I’ve had teammates or other athletes who are like, “Dude you are funny on Twitter,” or “How do you do it that way?How do you walk the line like that and express your beliefs without getting into any trouble?” You have to exercise common sense. If you don’t post anything that’s controversial in a really negative way, you’ll be OK. Beyond that --respect other people’s opinions, feel OK to argue and have open dialogue. It’s not going to be perfect. I’ve sent out tweets that I regret. At the same time, if I believe in something and am willing to type it out, then it's what I believe.
NFLers doing it right on social media:
A teammate like Malcolm Jenkins does it very well, because a lot of his content is going to be more serious. He is able to pursue a lot of his off-the-field interests when it comes to social justice and criminal justice reform. He’s written some op-eds and been able to retweet some really good content. Then you’ve got a guy like J.J. Watt, who obviously became inspirational in a social media kind of way after the hurricane in Houston. He was able to be the catalyst for over $30 million being raised. Guys who you might not have heard of like Tom Crabtree, who is a former player, is a funny guy in the Twitterworld. I’ve enjoyed Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall kind of trolling people over the concept that he is the other Brandon Marshall (of the NFL Giants).
Advice for rookies using social media:
I would tell them to remember every time they open that text box to remember they are standing in a room of potentially 10 million people, because that’s how quick your words might spread. You might have 3,000 followers, but if you tweet something that is incredibly stupid, there's a 24-hour news cycle and there aren’t always games on, so people need something to talk about. People always like to talk about stupid tweets.
BIG INTO CHARITABLE EFFORTS: Long talked about some of his charitable efforts on ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown" prior to last night's Redskins-Eagles game, saying the move to donate his game checks to increase educational equality is something he and his wife "have been involved with for a little while." He said, "With the current climate the way it is in America, I think we all hope for a better future. We’re all trying to improve our communities and our country. I think everybody would agree equality is a goal, and a great gateway to that is an education and educational opportunities, educational equity." He also touched on the Water Boys initiative, which he notes involved many football players "spreading awareness, educating people on the clean water crisis" in some third world countries. Long noted he has visited Tanzania and said, "Our mission was to initially put in 32 wells for 32 teams, and we are at 25 well funded, 20 or so installed." Long: "We've funded enough wells for 100,000 people to enjoy clean water."
Chris Long and 'The Waterboys'
Eagles defensive end Chris Long took a life-changing trip to Tanzania in 2013. During his time in East Africa, his eyes were opened to the global water crisis. As a result, Chris founded "The Waterboys" to help bring clean water to Tanzania.
Chris Long reveals why he's giving up his paychecks for the season | The Ryen Russillo Show | ESPN
Published on Oct 18, 2017
Eagles defensive end Chris Long explains why he decided to give up his paychecks for the entire season to support his charities for education in underprivileged neighborhoods.
TBS' Darling pitches honesty in baseball broadcast
The Daily Herald 10/21/17 - Barry Rozner
Every now and then, there's something very wrong with baseball math.
Yes, Kris Bryant, seven remains more than six. Feel pretty good about that one.
But starting pitchers are becoming more and more expensive, while performing less and less, throwing fewer innings on shorter pitch counts.
That simply doesn't add up.
"What has happened now is the people who make decisions in baseball are using a lot of statistical analysis," color analyst Ron Darling said a few days ago at Wrigley Field, before an NLCS game where he was doing terrific work for TBS. "What that analysis is telling them is that, the third or fourth time through the order, starting pitchers are having more and more trouble getting people out.
"If you look at my numbers, the third or fourth time through the order I was even better. The reason is I was trained for that marathon.
"These young pitchers are trained to only go 5 or 6 innings, so by the time they get to the third time through the order, they're gassed. If you're gassed, you're definitely going to be less effective."
And here's where Darling makes a point that any front-office analyst would understand.
"Where I find the discrepancy is that we're still paying the starter like he's pitching 250 innings and giving him $20 million or $25 million," Darling said. "I think in time that might change. Teams might start paying starters a little differently because of their role."
Since starters aren't being trained to go deep, they don't know how to get through a lineup even if a pitch count is low and a manager is willing to ride him.
"If no one was on base and I was facing Mike Schmidt, I would pitch him differently in the first inning than I would in the seventh with two guys on," Darling explained. "Over the course of 120 pitches in a game, I would throw max-effort fastballs maybe 10 times.
"But if it's a 2-2 count and we're winning by a run and Mike Schmidt's up and a runner on third and less than two outs, instead of 92 (mph) I throw 94 (mph).
"He pops up to center field. He throws his bat down like he missed it. But I know he didn't miss it because I added just enough to get him out. That's the art of pitching you don't see very much now."
So will baseball ever get back to a time when pitchers are taught to throw more pitches and more innings?
"I think that part of the game is gone forever," Darling said. "It's because of how expensive these pitchers are when they're drafted. They give them $4 million or $5 million and they protect them.
"I think the agents won't let it happen because they're afraid of them not having a long career."
This is the essence of Darling the ex-player. He has never had to search for his voice because -- unlike so many TV analysts in baseball -- Darling is able to quickly and clearly explain what is happening on or off the field, assisted by an erudite approach befitting a Yale all-American.
With an old-school mentality, yet unafraid of and willing to embrace today's metrics, Darling's commentary comes off as easy and smooth.
Maybe that's because Darling is fearless, more concerned with delivering for the fans than couching his opinions to protect players, managers or MLB execs.
"I'd rather just talk about the athletes and how great they are all the time," Darling said. "Occasionally, we come across rules and things that have been changed since my playing days.
"Some are good and some are bad, and I think they should be addressed in the proper way.
"I don't try to do this job ever intending to be mean. I'm just trying to be smart in what I'm talking about and that includes the players and the rules.
"The reason I do the job is these games, these postseason games. This is the most important time of the year. I can't play anymore, but this makes me feel like I'm part of it."
In New York, Ron Darling is hardly a mystery. A 1986 World Series hero and current Mets broadcaster, Darling has been a star for TBS, on par with the best national color guys in the game.
"What I enjoy is it's the closest thing to being on a team," Darling said. "It's a collaborative effort. You're part of something.
"I love working with the cameramen to the producers and the runners and my play-by-play guy.
"I always thought I was a good teammate and I try to be a good teammate in what I'm doing now.
"Maybe my role from 8 o'clock to 11 o'clock is more important than someone else's, but they do all the heavy lifting before the game and after the game. I love the collaboration and I love the game."
It's comes across not too loud, but always clear.
Long voted Ed Block Courage Award winner
Posted Oct 21, 2017
Larry Mayer, Bears Senior Writer
The heart, grit and determination that Kyle Long demonstrated throughout an arduous rehabilitation from a serious ankle injury has earned the veteran guard a prestigious honor.
Long has been selected as the Bears’ recipient of the 2017 Ed Block Courage Award, which is presented each year to the player that best displays professionalism, great strength and dedication and is also a community role model. The award is voted on by teammates and organized by athletic trainers, player representatives and team captains.
Bears guard Kyle Long will make his fifth straight start Sunday against the Panthers.
“I’m tremendously humbled to be voted by my teammates the Ed Block Courage Award winner,” Long said. “At first it didn’t make sense to me because there are so many guys battling back from things. It wouldn’t be something that I would think I would even be in contention for.
Bears guard Kyle Long surprises local high school coach and fills in at practice
Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long genuinely enjoys giving back. For him, it’s not about the publicity, the attention or the positive public relations. He’s happy to help others because it’s the right thing to do, and it feels good.
Earlier this month, he donated $50,000 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, and he’s hosted multiple charity events supporting disadvantaged families in Chicago.
On Tuesday, Long was back at it again, this time partnering with Campbell’s Chunky Soup as part of its “We’ll Fill In, While You Fill Up” Campaign to surprise a local high school football coach and his team at Phillips Academy.
He “filled in” for Coach Troy McAllister, who then went to “fill up” with a bowl of Campbell’s Chunky MAXX on the sideline.
“When I was a high school player, to have former players and college or pro players come and talk to us, it was really special,” Long told Bears Wire. “So you’ve got to make the most of the opportunity to come do this for this generation.”
Phillips Academy was already 8-0 this season before Long showed up, but he was still able to step in and give them a few pointers. It had to be a dream come true for those young offensive linemen getting to work with one of their idols.
“It was a lot of fun,” Long said. “We got to work a couple drills and just talk about kind of the thought process behind a couple of the blocks.
Long is on his third offensive line coach in his fifth season with the Bears, so he knows the value of having good instruction. Now, he knows what it’s like on the other side of the drill, but he doesn’t see a sideline role in his future.
“It is fun to coach, but I’m sure that the last time I take my cleats off will probably be the last time I’m on a football field,” Long said. “Video games are pretty fun. I could see myself doing that for a long time.”
In the meantime, he should have a long NFL career left ahead of him. But more importantly to him, he’ll have a lot more opportunities to help a lot more people, even after he hangs up his cleats.
Chris Simms not holding back as NBC’s Notre Dame football analyst
Updated October 19, 2017 1:08 PM
By Neil Best
On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Chris Simms Not Holding Back As NBC's Notre Dame Football Analyst." Simms was "surprised to be invited to join the Notre Dame coverage, given that most of his focus is on the NFL." He said, "At first I was like: ‘What? They want me to do Notre Dame? Don’t they know all I do is talk about the NFL?’" Meanwhile, Simms said that his NBC work "does not rule out a larger role" at WFAN-AM. He has been a "frequent fill-in and over the summer had a test run as the station seeks a new afternoon show to replace the departing Mike Francesa." WFAN is "expected to announce new afternoon hosts -- as well as a new morning co-host for Boomer Esiason -- in the next several weeks"
Chris Long to Donate 10 Game Checks to Educational Equity Cause; Launches 'Pledge 10 for Tomorrow' Campaign
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chris Long Foundation announced today that Chris Long will donate his upcoming 10 NFL game checks to further his support of educational equity. In conjunction with his contribution, Long is launching the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign. The campaign encourages fans, businesses and every person with a desire to join in his pursuit of equal education opportunities for all students to make a donation. The goal is that Long's donation will be matched by pledges made by those inspired to join the effort — because together we can accomplish more.
"In my 10th year, I want to celebrate the awesome opportunity I've had to play football by giving back to the communities that have given me that gift," said Long. "Educational opportunity and equity are the best gateway to a better tomorrow for everyone in America."
Long's 10 game check donation is in addition to the six game checks he previously donated to fund scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. In summation, Long is donating his entire 2017 salary to education-based causes because he believes education is the key to building a bright future that produces social equality.
Long's foundation has identified four organizations whose missions focus on making education easily accessible to underserved youth while also providing students the support they need to develop strong social and emotional character. The four organizations are based in the three communities in which Long has played during his NFL career: St. Louis, Missouri, Boston, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Three of the four organizations identified (Summer Search Boston, Summer Search Philadelphia and College Bound), provide a holistic support system to each student beginning in their sophomore year of high school through the completion of their undergraduate degree. Summer Search and College Bound provide mentoring, develop academic competency and nourish the overall well-being of students facing systemic inequities that could deter their pursuit of higher education. The Little Bit Foundation in St. Louis begins their student advocacy program in elementary school and addresses the needs of the whole child – body, mind and spirit – so that students can focus on their education all the way through graduation.
Each of the four organizations participating in the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow (#Pledge10) campaign will receive a $100,000 donation from Long. Fans and business are encouraged to join Long by pledging a recurring donation for each game remaining in the NFL regular season or by making a pledge of $10. The city with the most pledges to the campaign will receive an additional $50,000 from Long.
The #Pledge10 campaign was launched in hopes of inspiring others to be a part of the change set forth in Long's mission of spreading educational equity.
"By joining forces we will have the power to make a bigger impact and create a rich, educated culture for all of our youth," said Long. "These kids will be the kids that can propel positive change in their communities."
For those that wish to join the cause and/or learn more about the Pledge 10 for Tomorrow campaign and its beneficiaries, please visit www.pledgeit.org/Pledge10.
Western & Southern and Everplans to Provide Life and Legacy Solution to Consumers
NFL Commentator Cris Collinsworth featured in national campaign to drive awareness of initiative and highlight the importance of planning
NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern), a Fortune 500 financial services company based in Cincinnati, today announced that it will be offering a one-year complimentary subscription of Everplans to consumers via a fully integrated media/digital advertising campaign featuring company spokesperson and NFL commentator Cris Collinsworth and aimed at highlighting the importance of planning for the future. Everplans is the industry-leading provider of digital tools that help people organize, store and securely share their families' most important details and information. It's everything from the traditional aspects of an estate plan, to the maze of online accounts, to personal keepsakes and final wishes — all in one, secure convenient place – so they can be accessed when needed most.
"Families know they can come to Western & Southern to make a strong financial game plan, but planning to protect your family's future should not stop there," said Cris Collinsworth. "Everplans is a tool to help ensure family members have a roadmap to their loved one's life and wishes, minimizing the incredible burden put on their shoulders during a most difficult time."
The campaign debuted during the airing of Sunday Night Football on NBC on Oct. 1 with new television commercials entitled "Welcome to Your Tomorrow, Powered by Western & Southern," and will run through the end of the NFL playoffs. All media/digital advertising directs consumers to a co-branded landing page (WesternSouthern.com/plan) featuring the free offer.
Western & Southern Commercial – All Wet
Published on Oct 31, 2017
Now here’s a great Western & Southern celebration, says Cris Collinsworth. Dad’s got the whole family protected with a strong financial game plan.
Powered by Western & Southern Featuring Cris Collinsworth
NBC football commentator Cris Collinsworth discusses how life is always in motion and how our company can help protect you.
Published on Oct 2, 2017