The overpaid, over-pampered, pretentious, self-indulgent anthem-kneelers of the NFL could learn a thing or two from J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans.
When Hurricane Harvey struck at Texas a year ago, Watt didn’t sit down on the field and decry the government, demand redistribution of tax dollars to help the needy, or pretend a rage against a social injustice cage that lasted only so long as the adoring television audience was watching.
Watt used his name to fundraise.
A year later, with Harvey victims still suffering, his Justin J. Watt Foundation has cleaned, repaired and rebuilt more than 600 homes; distributed more than 26 million meals; provided health care services to more than 6,500 individuals; and made sure more than 10,000 patients received their medicines.
And oh yes, raised more than $41.6 million.
It all started with a heart of compassion and the creation of a GoFundMe campaign that opened with a goal of raising $200,000.
“As I reflect on the events of Hurricane Harvey one year ago,” Watt said, in a statement reported by Mediaite, “the memories of destruction and devastation remain, but they are accompanied by memories of hope, selflessness and the beauty of the human spirit. The actions of professional first responders and everyday citizens alike were an inspiration to the world and a shining example of the inherent good that lies within us all.”
Watt’s foundation is still chugging away and within the next year, its goals include rebuilding all the Boys Club and Girls Club facilities that were destroyed by the hurricane, and continuing its massive food drives and distributions.
A year later, and Watt is still at it.
Take a note, NFL kneelers. This is how you protest injustice — by spreading love, not hate and anger; by humbly taking a stand and making an effort to help others, rather than putting one’s own self on display. By taking an issue of concern and turning it into a matter of charity.
Watt — in contrast to the anthem-kneelers who spend their NFL chits on pressing Americans to believe whites and police are inherently racist, all the while taking the best of what Americans and community-protecting police have to offer — represents what’s best about this country.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for your support and generosity,” he said. “You have truly provided an unbelievable example of what the human spirit is capable of accomplishing.”
Exactly. So, too, has Watt. Now if only the NFL kneelers were listening and learning.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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