Uncovering "Packer People": The Good Side of Football

Amidst news of shocking domestic violence across the NFL, there are good deeds by Packers players that get comparatively little attention.

Packers wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson by Dennis Wierzbicki—USA TODAY Sports.

Packers wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson by Dennis Wierzbicki—USA TODAY Sports.

The NFL image is in trouble with domestic violence and child abuse arrests and charges combined with front-office failings to properly address and handle these situations. It has become emotionally draining to watch NFL news and to be an NFL fan. 

So many horrifying stories seem to appear day after day. New allegations, more mistakes. And while the conversations are important and will hopefully help the way that society addresses these difficult issues, the NFL is so much more than the toxic stories filling the headlines. 

One NFL player was arrested on Wednesday. That's shocking. But another 1,600 players were not. And while you don't get prizes or recognition for simply following the laws, there are plenty of stories that don't make the news that should. Stories of players making positive contributions to their communities and families. Some of these stories we will never know. Some we simply over look. 

As Packer fans, we like to think of the phrase "Packer People" and feel good about the team. There's Aaron Rodgers' work with the MACC Fund, the Packers Touchdowns for Charity, the Jordy Nelson Charity Softball Game and countless other events that receive press. But what about the rest of the team?

So in a time of needing good stories about the NFL and it's players and representatives, here is a short, but not in any way, shape or form a comphrehensive list of good deeds and charitable acts done by your Green Bay Packers. 

 

Packers CB Jarrett Bush hosted three annual football camps, as well as being the celebrity golfer at this year's HopeNet 360 golf scramble. HopeNet 360 seeks to saves lives from destructive behaviors and suicide. Bush has also previously helped raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. The Jarrett Bush Foundation website appears to be down at this time, but their facebook page states the mission as: 

Our main goal is to partner with the community to pay it forward for the youth of today. By inspiring children to be active and motivated, their educational and athletic goals can further excel, ensuring a successful future for tomorrow.

 

Packers wide receiver and occassional punt returnter Randall Cobb is very active in the community. 

Last Janurary he appeared on the Today show with Giants player Mark Herzlich and presented two young boys with 2014 GMC Acadias and four-year college scholarships. The appearance was part of NFL Characters Unite, in which Cobb, along with other NFL players, shared their stories of overcoming obstacles, hardships or bullying to help inspire today's youth facing the same struggles. 

While Cobb's first 5K and Family Fun Run was cancelled last month, he is still part of the Dreambuilders Foundation—the charity the event was supposed to support. Dreambuilders is a charity that connects NFL players from around the league to:

"...help financially, physically and mentally-challenged kids receive the items, opportunities and equipment they need to reach their dreams. Dreambuilders works to benefit disadvantaged children in the areas of education, wellness and extracurricular activities."

Cobb is currently participating in a GQ magazine contest to help raise money for Blessings in a Back Pack, which provides back packs and meals on the weekends to students who receive free or reduced lunch. He has hosted a Helping Hands Dinner to also support the charity. 

Cobb also hosted his first football camp called Inspire 18. Packer players: BJ Raji, Casey Hayward, Brad Jones, Mike Neal and Jamari Lattimore also helped out at the camp. 

 

Packers offensive lineman Don Barclay may be on the injured reserve list, but he isn't holding back from his role as "Packer People."

Last November Barclay attended an event and helped raise awareness for Levi's Challenge. Levi is a young boy who lost three fingers in lawn tractor accident and subsequently had to go through 11 surgeries. 

Then there's this fantastic story from TitleTown Sound Off highlighting Barclay's unique relationship with his training camp rider. The families became so close, that Barclay invited them to his wedding.  

Additionally, in the off season, Barclay attened an event in northern Michigan and helped collect over 1,700 pounds of food and hygiene products

 

The Packers special teams players are no strangers to giving back to their communities either. 

Mason Crosby's mother, Karen, helped facilitate a school's service learning project now called The Locker. The Locker's goal is to provide assistance to children in need. Mason Crosby joined with the group in 2009 and now runs two camps to help support the organization. At his most-recent kicking camp, punter TIm Masthay and long snapper Brett Goode also attended. The fee for the camp was a donation to The Locker. 

Tim Masthay was involved in giving back before he became an NFL punter. Back in college at Kentucky he volunteered to fill Christmas stockings and help needy families around the holiday time. He also worked at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. Packerpedia describes Masthay's time with the Hope Lodge. 

He would drive the cancer patients in shuttle vans to and from treatment. He would help clean the rooms. He would even answer phones. But for as much as Masthay gave, he seemed to gain just as much himself through the experience.

Brett Goode also gives back. He formed the Deep Snap Classic, a golf tournament in its second year, to help benefit the Special Olympics.

 

Packers rookie, and preseason standout, Jayrone Elliot participated in a scrimmage to raise money for a woman battling breast cancer during his last year at Toledo. Additionally, he helped get local high schools to contribute and hold similar events. 

Davon House hosted a free football camp for kids in New Mexico.

Brad Jones, the Packers most recent nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, has strong ties to the Brown County Human Services Department Pals Program, Families of Children with Cancer and local Boys and Girls Clubs. 

New Packer Julius Peppers has donated at least $350,000 to his alma mater, UNC, to a scholarship fund for African-American students. 

Sam Shields recently hosted a charity basketball game in Florida called Stop the Violence which raised money for programs at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. 

Tramon Williams will be hosting in October the second annual Powder Puff Game with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Datone Jones was this year's host of the Annual Tellurian Celebrity Golf Tournament, which helps support those fighting addictions and those suffering from mental illness. 

Clay Matthews supports Cure Duchenne. Duchenne is the most common muscle disease in children. 

Andy Mulumba helps support Aaron's House which helps young men seek and maintain sobriety. 

Corey Linsley developed a strong bond with his training camp rider that he bought the kid a new bicycle. 

John Kuhn and his wife run Touchdowns for Hope which is a gala supporting House of Hope. House of Hope provides shelter and resources to homeless pregnant or parenting mothers and their children. 

 

The list goes on and on, even to former Packers.

In addition to his foobtall camps and anti-bullying campaings, Gilbert Brown in conjunction with Mayfield Sports Marketing is attending an event next month to support The Medical Center Foundation. The foundation provides: emergency services to the elderly, medical transporation, adult day service, a sexual assault nurse and a healing garden. 

William Henderson and Ahman Green recently helped raise over $110,00 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association at the 2014 Madison Muscle Team event. 

Nick Collins has formed a scholarship fund and the Nick Colins Jump Start Foundation, which 

 "...is dedicated to aggressively responding to the increasing demand for higher education and financial assistance amongst today’s youth and single parent families. Promoting educational excellence and financial stability are key elements of the foundation which we believe help to bring about positive change”

 

There are others who's good deeds go unnoticed, there are players who use their platform as celebrities for good publicly and privately. These people aren't just Green Bay Packers and they're not just members of the NFL, they're all around us.

Same goes for the negative story lines. The people recently charged with crimes aren't limited to just certain "bad" teams and they're not just limited to football; they too, are all around us.

And while we, as fans and society attempt to "tackle" the complex issues going on in the NFL now, it is also helpful to remember that the good stories far out number the bad ones and to take some time to honor those who are trying to honor their community, the NFL and the phrase "Packer People."

Jayme Snowden is a writer and moderator at CheeseheadTV and co-host of CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at PackersTalk.com. You can contact her via Twitter at @jaymelee1 or via email at [email protected]

 

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Comments (11)

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Gianich's picture

September 18, 2014 at 03:43 pm

Stay classy gentlemen!

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The TKstinator's picture

September 18, 2014 at 08:39 pm

I bet the Chargers say that a lot too.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

September 18, 2014 at 04:32 pm

Nice work. More than I do. Note to self, volunteer more.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 18, 2014 at 06:20 pm

Thanks for posting this. It's good to remember only a fraction of a percent of NFL players are in the news for doing bad things.

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aj's picture

September 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

This is the packers' gift, yet their curse. People like burfict could really help lead us to having a tougher d, but they have issues being able to temper this attitude. That's why it's super difficult for us to build a tough defense full of good men. The mike daniels' of the world are few and far between. He is one man who can turn that switch on and off, and that's what makes him special. Tbh, I prefer the packers building a team with a bunch of stand-up guys rather than run a bunch of convicts on the field. Look at the 49ers. When they need their players most, they get suspended for being fools off the field. The packers have created a team of reliable players and men, that has been consistently successful.

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Zola Davis's picture

September 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

Nice article Jayme. I've always said that there is roughly the same percentage of knuckleheads in any given demographic that you look at.

That being said, the Packers have had their share of knuckleheads too. Johnny Jolly was the big one; what about Brandon Underwood who had the hooker in the Dells and got several Packers in trouble with their significant others? Let's see, Eric Walden had an issue with his wife; I want to say a former RB did too, but don't want to diss the wrong person. The Packers took a chance on Colt Lyerla, and thought his transgressions weren't as severe, put him in the knucklehead catagory, as well. These obviously were part of a way different organization than that of Eddie Lee Ivory and James Lofton.

My point is that no one can find every misstep that a person has made; nor can they foresee the twists and turns that all of our lives make. It only stresses the importance of high integrity leaders in our society who will fess up to mistakes and hold knuckleheads accountable for their actions. I was as down on Johnny Jolly as anyone; but his history only makes his comeback (professionally and, I assume, personally) all the more inspiring.

I agree with aj that I'd rather have my kids wearing the jersey of a 1st round losing playoff team with strong morals, than thugs that may win, but then self-destruct. These players ARE role models! If they don't like it then they shouldn't cash their checks. Likewise, we as fans need to vote with our pocketbook, too. FWIW, I cheered loudly at the Oakland PS game when James Jones and Charles Woodson were near my corner. While they won't be All-Pros this year, I firmly believe that, in addition to CJ Wilson, McKenzie brought them in to be a positive locker room presence. I'm not saying that Oakland has their whole organization on the right track; but its a start.

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Jayme Snowden's picture

September 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

Agree with the knuckleheads part which is why I tried to state at the end. It's not just the bad teams that have the bad people and the Packers aren't the only ones with good players. Most teams are most likely a mix between the two, like most groups in our society.

If anything this last year, the Darren Sharper stuff, and the recent stuff, should teach us that just because we see one side of a person doesn't mean we are see the whole person. Dark things can linger under shiny coatings and a good person can be shrouded in darkness.

I just wanted to be aware, and share, some of the good stories we have here, because I was personally overwhelmed with all the other stories. While they are important, I wanted to provide just a little balance.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

I agree with everything you've said here. I don't want to get Blasted here, because I have No Use for any of these Dirt Bags. I would hope the NFL would come up with a Uniform Policy that would cover all incidents, including Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Violation of the Drug Policy, & all other acts of behavior that Violate a Code of ethics, including alcohol. I believe the punishment should be severe, a 1 year suspension from the league. Having said that, I don't think anyone should lose their job forever because of a Domestic Violence incident. As much as all of these incidents make me sick, I don't think any of these players should be banned from ever playing again. If everyone was held to that standard, the unemployment rate in this country would go to 50% or higher. I would like to see a 1 yr suspension for every incident that violates a code of ethics put forth by the NFL. Hope I said this Right.

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Evan's picture

September 19, 2014 at 10:41 am

I think it's great to point out all the great work Packer/NFL players in general do for their communities.

That said, Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson do/did similar charity work in their communities. Being generous with one's time and money doesn't mean they don't have demons at home.

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

September 19, 2014 at 08:10 pm

ASSININE!! Do you make a distinction between Domestic Abuse & Child Abuse, Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse??? I don't!! LVT

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Missy Gibson Wells's picture

September 24, 2014 at 08:39 am

This video is a MUST watch (get your kleenex) of Scott Tolzien and a boy battling cancer. Watch "Scott Tolzien The Meaning of Friendship" on YouTube
Scott Tolzien The Meaning of Friendship: http://youtu.be/FlKgAJrON5Y
This was about 5 years ago. His cancer has returned and he has to have treatments in NY. Tolzien has maintained a friendship with this little guy and is attending a benefit on Oct 5th at Game Day Sports Bar in Appleton. Please consider attending and supporting this incredible child!

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