The recent actions of the NFL regarding a horrendous domestic abuse incident have come under widespread critical scrutiny and condemnation. Domestic abuse is too nice a phrase for what was a criminal assault and battery of a woman by an NFL player who was her fiancee. (The handling of the incident by the criminal authorities was even worse.) It made me wonder if NFL stands for Not For Ladies.
There is a good news story about a member of one of the teams of the NFL that I wanted to share. The Cincinnati Bengals had a rookie player trying to make the team: Devon Still. Still’s four- year old daughter Leah is battling stage 4 Cancer and, as you might imagine, he could not give the game his 100% attention. As a result, he failed to make the team and would likely have been cut. But the Bengals put him on their practice squad, which is a part of the team that is not the active roster. As a result, he could continue to receive his salary and, more importantly, continue to have the excellent medical coverage that the team provides so that his daughter could receive what may be a million dollars worth of needed treatment. Their loyalty in a profession not known for it is not lost on Still.
“They could have just washed their hands completely of it,” he said. “Say we don’t care what’s going on in his personal life, we just want people who can care 100 percent on football, that’s what they pay us to do. But they thought about my personal issues and allowed me to come back on the practice squad so I still have insurance.”
More than that, the Bengals offered a replica of his jersey for sale to the public – a likely unprecedented action for a practice squad player, for $100 with all of the proceeds going to a fund to assist pediatric cancer patients. Would you believe that it has become most popular jersey in team history, selling more than the jerseys of any of their star and popular players present or past?
Still was so energized by the team’s actions that his performance improved so that he has just earned spot on the active team roster!
I don’t know about you, but I plan on rooting for the Bengals this year (except if they should play our Cardinals) and, of course, for little Leah and her Dad.
At a time when there is an ocean of distressing news, I wanted to share an island of good news with you. It is good to have faith in humanity restored to some degree. If you would like to learn more about this story please follow this link: Football is Full of Heart
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