*Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long is looking to “promote equality through education” in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a series of white supremacist rallies in August led to violence in the streets.
The NFL star’s foundation announced Tuesday that he will donate his first six game checks this season to provide two students with a seven-year, all-expenses-paid school program, according to ESPN.
Long and his wife, Megan, were moved to act after events in Charlottesville this summer.
“In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry,” Long said in a statement. “Megan and I decided to try to combat those actions with our own positive investment in our community.”
The scholarships will be administered by Long’s alma mater, St. Anne’s-Belfield School. Two members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia will be awarded the scholarships.
Following an ugly scene in Charlottesville in August, when a series of white supremacist rallies led to violence in the streets, Long spoke out and called the actions of some of the protestors “despicable.”
“I haven’t seen statistics, but I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of people voicing those white supremacist sentiments were from out of town,” Long said at the time. “The majority of the people that were defending our hometown against ideals like that were from Charlottesville, or students. It’s disheartening, but I really think it’s desperation for those folks to feel threatened by us doing the right thing.”
Before the Eagles’ next game, an exhibition against the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 17, Long showed support for teammate Malcolm Jenkins’ protest against social injustice by putting an arm around him while Jenkins raised his fist in the air during the national anthem. Long has continued with that gesture every week since.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say you need white athletes to get involved in the anthem protests,” Long said. “I’ve said before I’ll never kneel for an anthem, because the flag means something different for everybody in this country, but I support my peers. And 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. So my thing is, Malcolm is a leader, and I’m here to show support as a white athlete.”