Gamers use their Tremendous Bowl platform to make an excellent influence of their neighborhood : NPR


Cincinnati Bengals defensive finish Sam Hubbard celebrates with followers after the group’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in November. Hubbard, who grew up in Cincinnati, makes use of his social media platforms to advertise native causes.

Emilee Chinn/AP file photograph

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Emilee Chinn/AP file photograph

Cincinnati Bengals defensive finish Sam Hubbard celebrates with followers after the group’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in November. Hubbard, who grew up in Cincinnati, makes use of his social media platforms to advertise native causes.

Emilee Chinn/AP file photograph

The Tremendous Bowl is likely one of the most watched sporting occasions on the planet with an estimated 117 million viewers anticipated to look at the Cincinnati Bengals face off in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The large stage affords the 106 gamers who will go well with up for the sport a novel alternative to attach with a much bigger viewers than most will ever have. Some are utilizing that to spotlight their charitable causes. Even one thing so simple as a retweet could make an excellent influence when this many eyes are on you.

“Twenty years in the past it was actually simply the cream of the crop that had the platform and the chance,” says Kelli Matthews, a senior teacher of public relations on the College of Oregon. “Now anybody can begin a Twitter account and that provides you a platform and an area and a voice.”

A look by means of the Twitter accounts of Bengals and Rams gamers affords some examples of athletes utilizing their social media accounts for a wide range of functions. Whereas some do not use social media in any respect, whereas others use the platform to spotlight their hometown, their alma mater, to speak in regards to the group or furthering their very own enterprise endeavors, partnering with firms to promote a product or a model.

“The sensible athletes are actually considering ahead, occupied with ‘How do I exploit the entry within the platform and the viewers I’ve now?’ ” Matthews stated. “These issues can create a springboard for a life after their soccer profession.”

The typical NFL profession lasts solely 3.3 years and plenty of gamers by no means get the chance to play in a Tremendous Bowl. Just a few have seized the second to make an influence lengthy after they’ve left the sphere.

Bengals backup working again Samaje Perine’s 41-yard landing catch and run within the first half in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs within the AFC Championship recreation will go down in Cincinnati lore as one of many performs that helped to start out their comeback from a 21-3 deficit. The Bengals ultimately defeated the Chiefs, 27-24, in time beyond regulation.

With the newfound consideration, Perine has been promoting t-shirts with a share of the proceeds going towards a scholarship for a pupil athlete at his alma mater Hendrickson Excessive Faculty in Pflugerville, Texas.

Rams extensive receiver Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s Offensive Participant of the Yr, additionally launched a restricted version t-shirt with proceeds being donated to Crew Rubicon, a corporation that mobilizes veterans to reply and recuperate from disasters and humanitarian crises.

For Cincinnati hometown hero Sam Hubbard, utilizing his social media platform for a larger good is simply what he does, no matter how shiny the highlight is.

“Sam was like ‘I am from right here. I am part of this neighborhood. This neighborhood helped me get right here. It is solely proper that I form of flip round and provides again to them,’ ” stated Matt Kittell, the manager director of the Sam Hubbard Basis.

Hubbard was born in Cincinnati and performed at Moeller Excessive Faculty earlier than heading to Ohio State. In 2018 he was drafted by his hometown Bengals, a dream for most children in Southwest Ohio, and instantly appeared for alternatives to offer again to his neighborhood, elevating $30,000 in his rookie yr for an annual youth soccer camp.

“We knew Sam was in style within the space. We knew we might leverage that to do some good, however we actually did not know what we wished to do,” says Kittell.

After Hubbard noticed an area information story a few Cincinnati meals financial institution having solely two weeks of meals left, he lept into motion, ultimately elevating $85,000 for Freestore Foodbank.

“That is an space that actually has a whole lot of want,” says Kittell. “There’s 80,000 Tri-State youngsters with out meals. One in seven individuals are dealing with meals insecurity. It is a drawback, and I’ve an answer with my platform. Let’s assault that. And that is actually what we have been specializing in for actually the previous two years.”

Kittell estimates the inspiration has raised a bit greater than $160,000 since 2020 to battle meals insecurity in Southwest Ohio. These donations go towards offering energy packs, that are backpacks stuffed with wholesome snacks that children who won’t get nutritious meals can take house over weekends. It additionally helps fund meals pantries just like the one at Harrison Junior Faculty, that are open to any pupil within the Southwest Native Faculty District who’s dealing with meals insecurity.

Hubbard’s efforts to battle meals insecurity in his neighborhood and the Bengals current run to the Tremendous Bowl impressed the Southwest Native Faculty District to start out a fundraiser, initially aiming to boost $9,400 to honor the 94 that Hubbard wears on his jersey. The college raised greater than $31,000.

Mike Morris of the Southwest Native Faculty District stated the fundraiser surpassed its aim in 48 hours.

“We have had donations are available in as far west as Arizona and as far east as New York,” Morris stated.


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