I live in Patriots Nation and they are the team I root for, though if I’m being honest, professional sports don’t send my emotions in any extreme directions, win or lose. I rely on my kids’ games for that. So while Patriots fans lick their wounds this week and work to get over the shock of that fumble (Brady thought he still had the ball in his hand!), I’m sharing Good School Hunting’s pick for MVP. And despite Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles’ heart stopping performance and utterly adorable daughter—did you see the pink headphones and the jean jacket with her daddy’s name on it?—we have picked Chris Long as our MVP.
That’s right. Chris Long, defensive end and son of hall-of-famer Howie Long, who did play for the New England Patriots before the Eagles, cares about education. And educational equity. And not in the way most people care about education by simply saying it because it seems like a good thing to say. He cares about it in a Chance the Rapper way and puts his money where his mouth is while working to motivate others to do the same.
Long’s commitment to education equity has been a staple of his charitable giving for some time. “My wife and I have been passionate about education being a gateway for upward mobility and equality,” Long told The Associated Press. “I think we can all agree that equity in education can help affect change that we all want to see in this country.”
Definition: Educational equity, also referred to as equity in education, is a measure of achievement, fairness, and opportunity in education.
Long sees educational equity not only as a way to level the playing field in schools but also to combat racism and bigotry. He donated his first six checks during the 2017 season to fund scholarships for Charlottesville students.
The scholarships will provide two students with the ability to attend Long’s alma mater, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, for a seven-year, all-expenses-paid education. Long and his wife Megan said that the goal of the scholarship is to promote education equity, and will be awarded to two members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia.
“In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry,” Long said in the statement. “Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community.” (Business Insider)
But that wasn’t enough. So, six weeks into the season, Long decided to double down on his financial commitment to educational equity by donating his remaining 2017 salary to what he called “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow.”
The effect of working together for a common goal is why I played my 10th season in the NFL for free and challenged fans to get involved. This is the power of sports in action. I hope it won’t stop here, but that more people will become inspired to commit energy and resources to our educational system. It will be the number of people invested in this cause that will be the difference maker for a quality education for every student in America. Education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America.
Long serves as an example for all who are blessed to have their children in schools that are good. And safe. And while we may not have an NFL salary to donate to the cause, we have voices and influence that we can raise up in the fight for educational justice on behalf of other people’s children.
We can share the stories of parents who are terrified of sending their children to school because of violence or bullying or racism.
We can remind elected leaders that warm, safe, and dry schools is a pretty low standard and they are failing at meeting it.
We can donate to Donors Choose projects.
Chris Long, son of NFL icon Howie Long, has raised the issue of educational equity and talked about how important it is in the fight for justice and against bigotry. And he is now a Super Bowl champion. It seems the perfect time for all of us to start talking about educational equity to our social networks, friends and families so that more and more people understand what it is and why it matters. While they may roll their eyes or glaze over when we bring it up—yes, that happens sometimes—they also may have an aha moment and realize that they want to be part of making education more fair for kids. All kids. Other people’s kids.
Thank you Chris Long. We are so proud to call you the Good School Hunting Super Bowl MVP!