Ex-NFL Player and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle Chosen for Harvard Neurosurgery Residency 

Myron Rolle (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

article by Michael David Smith via nbcsports.com

Myron Rolle’s NFL career didn’t last long, but he always made clear that he had higher priorities than playing football, and he’s just taken a major step in his real calling. Rolle, a 2010 sixth-round pick of the Titans who also spent time with the Steelers, has been chosen for a neurosurgery residency at Harvard after he completes his education at the Florida State University College of Medicine this spring.

(Getty Images)

“Seven years of neurosurgery is a big deal, something I wanted for a long time, really excited about it. Today is just great, it’s remarkable,” Rolle told WCTV. Rolle was a star player at Florida State who once arrived late to a game because he had an interview for a Rhodes Scholarship.

He spent a year studying at Oxford between the end of his Florida State career and the start of his NFL career, and although he spent a couple years in the NFL, his primary goal was to become a doctor.“Saving lives and helping people live a better life,” Rolle said, “that’s going to make life worth living.”

Source: Ex-NFL player Myron Rolle chosen for Harvard neurosurgery residency | ProFootballTalk

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Donates Shoe Collection to Bay Area Homeless Shelters

49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Colin Kaepernick is known for three things. His abilities as an NFL quarterback, his activism and his massive shoe collection. Now, he is taking steps to give back in a new way, by donating most of his shoe collection to Bay Area homeless shelters.

And Kaepernick didn’t just donate hundreds of pairs of shoes, he also donated clothing and books to both shelters and orphanages at the end of the last football season. Who says giving has to end when the holiday season does?

Source: Colin Kaepernick donates shoe collection to Bay Area homeless shelters | theGrio

NFL MVP Cam Newton Surprises 10 Year-Old Heart Patient Taylor Deckard with Hospital Visit

Star NFL quarterback Cam Newton comforts 10 year-old Taylor Deckard during surprise visit before heart surgery (photo via charlotteobserver.com)

Star NFL quarterback Cam Newton comforts 10 year-old heart patient Taylor Austin Deckard during surprise visit before high-risk medical procedure (photo via charlotteobserver.com)

article via blackamericaweb.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There’s no doubt Cam Newton has a soft spot in his heart for kids.

That was never more evident than this week when the Panthers quarterback surprised a 10-year-old Taylor Austin Deckard, a boy who suffers from advanced pulmonary hypertension, a rare heart condition that requires a high-risk medical procedure to save his life.

The league’s reigning league MVP visited Deckard in an Atlanta children’s hospital Tuesday. Taylor was wearing Newton’s No. 2 Auburn jersey at the time.

When Newton asked him how he was doing, Taylor climbed out of bed and hugged him. During the long embrace, Newton said, “I feel your heart. It’s going 1,000 miles an hour.”

Newton appeared touched by the moment in the video posted by Auburn. He twice said, “Aw, man.”

Taylor initially pouted after his parents told him to turn off his tablet. Then Newton walked in saying, “What’s going on buddy?”

Newton spoke about the encounter at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. He didn’t know what to expect when he walked into the boy’s hospital room.

“I read a lot of things about him and what he likes,” Newton said. “Then when I go in there he hugs me. And it’s the parent touch. You can’t explain it. You can’t really explain it. My heart falls for a child in any situation. I was just there to comfort him. It was something that happened naturally.”

Newton described the boy as full of joy and full of energy, which made him sad to know that he’s battling a heart problem.

Newton said he was blown away by the strength of the boy’s family, most notably his father Timothy.

“You have a strong man who will not let his son see him bat an eye,” Newton said. “He has all the right words to say and all the comfort to give. And the mom is just as strong as he is and they are just there for him. And it inspires me because I have kids. … When (Taylor) looked at his dad and he looked at his mom, he just knew everything was going to be all right.”

To read more, go to: https://blackamericaweb.com/2016/12/28/cam-newton-scores-with-visit-to-boy-battling-heart-condition/

In Case You Missed It: Aretha Franklin Takes the “National Anthem” to Church at Detroit Lions Game

Aretha.  National Anthem.  The Piano.  That Voice.  Game Over.

NFL Star Jarvis Jenkins Sponsors Reading Center for Kids at International Barbershop in Harlem

jarvis jenkins a lil positivity

NY Jets player Jarvis Jenkins reads to children at International Barbershop on Malcolm X Boulevard (photo via bossip.com)

article via bossip.com

New York Jets player Jarvis Jenkins hung up his cleats to pick up a book in order to show a group of Harlem kids the importance of reading.

The defensive end was at the International Barbershop on Malcolm X Boulevard in New York City’s uptown neighborhood Sept. 27, where he read the children’s book “The Adventures of Captain Underpants,” to students from nearby Alain L. Locke Magnet School For Environmental Stewardship. The Clemson alumni also donated a mini library of children’s books to the shop.

“The main thing I want to do is tackle literacy,” the athlete turned reading advocate told BOSSIP. “There’s more to life than just Instagram. There’s more to life than just Facebook. I wanted to give them a platform where they can learn, and still have fun.”

Jenkins, who has been in the NFL for six years, said he wanted the kids to see that reading outside of school was fun, and that they should take advantage of their idle time waiting to get their hair cut by reading for pleasure.

“When I used to go to barbershops with my dad, I used to bring a toy,” Jenkins said. “I used to bring a Game Boy and sit there. When you’re sitting there with this free time, why not pick up a book?”

Nonprofit Barbershop Books helps kids – especially young boys – become more active readers by creating reading spaces inside local barbershops, said founder Alvin Irby.  “We’re increasing boys’ access to engaging books, and we’re increasing the amount of time boys are reading outside school,” Irby, who has his own children’s book Gross Greg coming out next month, said.

Following the read aloud, Jenkins also gave the kids a few life lessons, but not before lacing the budding readers with some Jets swag.  “It took my dad to stay on me to understand education is important,” the South Carolina native, 28, told the children. “You can go far in life, but make sure you get your education. Education is key.”

To read more, go to: http://bossip.com/1359074/a-lil-positivity-ny-jets-jarvis-jenkins-sponsors-reading-center-for-kids-at-harlem-barbershop/

Colin Kaepernick Pledges $1 Million Donation to Social and Racial Justice Charities

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers signs autographs for fans after a 31-21 win over the San Diego Chargers on September 1, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

article by Natasha Alford via thegrio.com

In the midst of controversy over his protest of the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick is using the spotlight to address the issues he says inspired his stance.

At Thursday night’s preseason game against the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick pledged a $1 million dollar donation to groups which address issues of racial and social inequality.

He didn’t offer specific details about which groups would receive donations but explained his intentions.–Veterans show support for football star with #VeteransForKaepernick tweets “I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and to be able to make the kind of money that I do and I have to help these people,’’ said Kaepernick. “I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in the position to succeed or given those opportunities to success.’’

Kaepernick also recently joined forces with his girlfriend, Hot 97 radio personality Nessa Diab, to donate $60,000 worth of backpacks to students in Harlem and the South Bronx. As part of his six-year, $114,000,000 deal with the 49ers, Kaepernick’s base salary this year is $11.9 million dollars.

To read full article, go to: Colin Kaepernick pledges $1 million donation to charity for needy communities | theGrio

OPINION: Why Colin Kaepernick’s Sit Down May Be the Most Patriotic Stand of All

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (photo via mmqb.si.com)

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (photo via mmqb.si.com)

by Julie Bibb Davis (@julieadelle)

by Julie Bibb Davis (@julieadelle)

Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, chose not to stand for the National Anthem at a recent pre-season football game.  Players are not required to stand under NFL rules, and Kaepernick was clear about his reasons to remain seated, stating ”I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  Subsequently, he has given interviews about his decision, and the well-thought out reasons behind it.

While Kaepernick has seen some support, he has also faced enormous backlash for his decision – from pundits, from current and former NFL players, from the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association, and predictably, he has been skewered mercilessly on Twitter and in the online commentary sections of various websites.

Some of the online criticism has been of the typically jingoistic “my country – love it or leave it” or “my country – right or wrong” variety that tends to become prevalent when legitimate protest involves the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem.  And these types of criticism are particularly troubling, because they are designed to tell people “you can’t be a good American if you don’t honor this symbol in a particular way.”

I have spent the majority of my career working for the federal government.  I am proud to work in a building where the American flag flies, and where pictures of the President and Vice-President are in the lobby.  I understand the power and meaning of symbols.  And it precisely the power and meaning of symbols that makes protests involving them so resonant – and necessary.   I don’t know much about football, but I do know something about the First Amendment.  Kaepernick’s actions are fully-protected free speech, and the type of peaceful public protest that has been central to social justice movements.

And for those whose response to Kaepernick is “my country — right or wrong,” it’s time to look at the response to that quote by US Senator Carl Schurz in 1899.  Schurz decried the statement as “a deceptive cry of mock patriotism”, and went on to state that the “welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

Kaepernick saw something he thought was wrong in his country.  Like generations of Americans before him, he engaged in a peaceful public protest to bring attention to that wrong, and to make a statement as to how it needed to be put right.  And for that he should not be vilified, but applauded.