Chris Long was named the Week 2 NFLPA Community MVP thanks to his actions to bring positive change in his hometown community.
This past Tuesday, The Chris Long Foundation announced that the defensive end will donate his first six game checks to provide two students with seven-year, all-expenses-paid scholarships to attend his alma mater, St. Anne's-Belfield School, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Given the heartbreaking events that took place in Charlottesville back in August, Long felt the urgent need to take action.
"Just in the wake of everything that happened in Charlottesville, we were trying to turn a negative situation into doing a little bit of something positive," Long said. "And coming out of my game checks kind of makes sure that it's coming from something I love doing every Sunday which is playing football and I know that I'm directly trying to impact my community through doing that."
Prior to the events in Charlottesville, Long has regularly contributed to charities. Not only has he funded a scholarship to St. Anne's-Belfield School in the past but he also launched the Waterboys initiative back in 2015 which has provided 180,000 people with access to clean water.
For Long, the matter of equal education opportunity strikes close to home. Growing up, Long was afforded the quality education that some kids weren't as fortunate to receive. Since then, he's made an effort to promote equality through education.
"I think that education is the best gateway to upward mobility and to a better life for a kid that might not be able to control his or her situation at home," Long said. "I think that giving a kid the chance to go to college or do something that they didn't have the opportunity otherwise to do kind of speaks to me. I know that was something I took for granted to a large degree and I always had that opportunity."
Long is committed to using his platform as an NFL athlete to speak against injustice and advocate for positive reform. On September 12, Long, Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Eagles teammates Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith, and Rodney McLeod attended meetings with grassroots organizations, policy leaders, city officials, and public defenders that focused on criminal justice reform in the City of Philadelphia.
In honor of being named the Community MVP, the NFLPA will donate $10,000 to either The Chris Long foundation or the charity of his choice. In addition, Long will be eligible to receive the Byron Whizzer White Award, the organization's highest honor that was won by Jenkins last year.
"Hopefully it will inspire people in my hometown, and maybe elsewhere, to invest in education as a means to increasing diversity in a school in a community where people might be a little more separate because of the way they're getting educated, the school they go to. I think it's just a good way to do it and hopefully, we can keep it going," Long said.
Chairman and CEO Jeffery Lurie, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and Eagles Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith, Rodney McLeod, and Chris Long met with Philadelphia officials to gain perspective on criminal justice reform.