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{ Read stories in media outlets across the country about NFL players’ community outreach efforts supporting the message of MLK, Jr. }
Author: Jasmine Allen/NFLPA Communications Posted: 1/21/2013

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the NFL Players Association has put together a selection of clips highlighting current and former players who participated in anti-bullying and violence-prevention initiatives throughout 2012.

RAY RICE SPEAKS OUT AGAINST BULLYING
YardBarker via Larry Brown Sports, August 28, 2012
Baltimore Ravens veteran running back Ray Rice extends his efforts past the gridiron and into the surrounding Maryland communities as an anti-bullying activist. In June the star athlete spoke to thousands of people at in Columbia, Md. as a part of his “A Ray of Hope” outreach program about pro-kindness, anti-bullying and teen suicide prevention. In the wake of the Baltimore high school shooting he took to Facebook with a call-to-action for students nationwide to take a stand against bullying and be kind to others.

NFL STAR TALKS BULLYING WITH SAMOHI ATHLETES
BullyVille, April 1, 2012

Fifth-season Philadelphia Eagles wide-receiver DeSean Jackson used his status to influence the athletes of Santa Monica High School. The Long Beach, Calif. native made a surprise appearance at the incoming freshman football player orientation in April to speak on the importance confidence and anti-bullying as they prepare to enter high school. Five months prior Jackson appeared on “The View” with fellow teammates Jamal Jackson and Todd Herremans in support of fan Nadin Khoury, a teen who was brutally bullied in Pennsylvania.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: IT GETS BETTER
YouTube, August 23, 2012

In support of the “It Gets Better” anti-bullying campaign, the San Francisco 49ers became the first NFL team to join the project supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. It Gets Better was started in response to the growing amount of suicides by gay teenagers who had been bullied at school.  In August, the San Francisco 49ers released their web video featuring linebacker Ahmad Brooks, defensive tackles Ricky Jean Francois and Isaac Sopoaga, and safety Donte Whitner.

NFL STAR TALKS ABOUT BULLYING (VIDEO)
PACER.org, December 7, 2012

In December, NFL veteran Michael Clayton partnered with the National Bullying Prevention Center to create a video challenging the Youth of America to stand-up against bullying and use their voice. The Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center raises awareness nationwide through events, activities, outreach and education.

DREW BREES THROWS HIS SUPPORT BEHIND ANTI-BULLYING DOCUMENTARY
NOLA.com, March 8, 2012

New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees rallied behind 17-year old bully victim Katy Butler by signing her petition to lower the movie rating of Lee Hirsch film “Bully”, in March 2012. The informative and educational documentary follows families that have been affected by bullying.  Due to the films R-rating for language it cannot be shown in many middle and high schools.  In 2010 the quarterback taped an anti-bullying public service announcement to his fans stating that he does not support bullying in any form by anyone, aired on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

BENGALS STAR SPEAKS OUT AGAINST BULLYING
ABC 9 WCPO.com, Syed Shabbir

NFL Pro Bowl safety and former Cincinnati Bengal David Fulcher spoke about the impacts of bullying in the Northern Kentucky area at Scott High School. One month prior to Fulchers’ visit an 8th grader within the district committed suicide because of bullying. The former NFL player educated students on how to respect each other and speak-up when issues arise.

NFL STAR SHARES MESSAGE WITH YOUTH FOR BULLYING AWARENESS MONTH
Richmond County Daily Journal, October 2012

Former Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints linebacker Levar Fisher inspires people of all ages through motivational speaking nationwide. The Levar Fisher Freeze and Think Campaign (freezeandthink.com) targets students about the effects of bullying, violence, suicide and other youth-related issues. In October, Fisher spoke with students in Richmond County about how quickly certain decisions can change their life and others forever.

FORMER NEW YORK GIANTS PLAYER GIVES STUDENTS ADVICE ON BULLYING
HeartlandConnection.com, October 18, 2012

Former New York Giants (1985-1990) and Cleveland Browns (1991) running back Lee Rouson uses his experiences within the NFL to give advice and inspire the youth of Ottumwa, Iowa. During National Bullying Prevention Month, Rouson visited schools across the city encouraging students to make smart decisions and stick up for one another. 

EX-NFL PLAYER BRINGS HOME A CRUCIAL CAMPAIGN
HutchNews.com, September 6, 2012

On September 22, 2012, Former Minnesota Vikings running back Sean James returned to Kanas in efforts to raise awareness about bullying. The Hutchinson, Kan. native visited the city of Wichita to participate with the “Be in the Know about Bullying” campaign.  James was able to connect with the youth in the community because of his experiences being bullied as a child. The city lost three high school students in 2011 due to the effects of bullying.

YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION IN MINNEAPOLIS MOVES FORWARD
Press Release

E.J. Henderson, former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings (2003-11) reaches out to the city of Minneapolis through a partnership with community stakeholders and Mayor R.T. Rybak.  On July 30, 2012, Henderson spoke out about youth violence within the city during a public service announcement and raised awareness for The Department of Family and Health Supports’ Blueprint for Action goals.

NFL STAR HONORS SHOOTING VICTIM IN A BIG WAY
TheBlaze.com, December 17, 2012

Days after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz honored one of his biggest fans Jack Pinto, a 6-year old victim shoot to death in Newtown, Conn. Cruz visited with Jacks’ family and friends, dedicated the Giants vs. Falcons game to the young boy with an inscription on his game day apparel and participated in a star-studded public service announcement to end gun violence (DemandPlan.org).

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