Chris Long, defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles, is from Charlottesville, Virginia. For him and his wife Megan, like his hometown, it’s been a long, trying summer.
“In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry,” Long said in a press conference. “Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community.”
What the Longs have done, via Chris’s foundation, is to fund two scholarships for Charlottesville students. Each scholarship is a seven-year full ride, an incredible chance for any recipient. Long intends it to “promote equality through education.”
The scholarships are going to be funded by the first six game checks of Long’s 2017 season, and their recipients will be chosen through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia and St. Anne’s-Belfield School, which Long attended.
“With everything that happened over the summer that really shed a negative light on a really good community that we have in Charlottesville, I thought it would be good to kind of put my money where my mouth was and take it out of the check that I get for doing something that I love,” said Long. He wants to show that the spirit of Charlottesville isn’t marching white supremacists, like the one who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman.
Immediately after that August weekend, Long stood beside teammate Malcolm Jenkins as he protested social inequity during the national anthem before the Eagle’s next game. He’s continued to do so every week since.
“Malcolm is a leader, and I’m here to show support as a white athlete,” said Long when asked about that. “If you don’t see why you need allies for people that are fighting for equality right now, I don’t think you’ll ever see it.”