Happy Saturday, Bills fans!
For today's "Joe!" I want to step back a little bit from my normal topics and discuss something that has been on my mind lately. Very often, we as fans can be very critical of our own players. We boo them at games and call for their jobs. We insult them by calling them names and criticize them on social networks. Then we come to sites like this and bash them. We dissect their every move, and if it isn't up to our standards of what we think a football player on our team should be, we immediately call for their replacement. We as fans have high standards, and place an unbelievable amount of pressure on our own players. Whenever you have a writer from the local newspaper calling for a rookie quarterback's job after his first season, and people agree with him, there is a huge problem.
Great god-fearing men, great fathers, and great players are called selfish because they look to maximize their earning potential while risking their bodies every time they step out on the football field. A great receiver who holds a Bills record with the most consecutive 1,000 yards seasons, and who has always been a strong advocate of the team, the city, and the fans, has local media outlets calling for his job because he dropped a few passes and has an eccentric personality. Young kids, 20-22 years old, get poked and prodded like they're live stock, and are judged for their indiscretions as a youth. Grown men with a pen and a platform attack these kids with baseless comments like "he has a phony smile." The sad thing is, many people see this as great scouting. The truth is, some of us should be ashamed of ourselves.
But today, if only for a brief moment, that negativity changes.
Jonathan G, a fan of the site and advocate for the Scoring For Good campaign, contacted me at firstname.lastname@example.org and asked me to use my platform on this site to bring something positive to your attention that no one seems to be talking about. Maybe the reason is because it's not a big enough story, or it doesn't sell papers or get Internet hits, but one of our very own is doing something awesome that we all should be proud of.
Last season, our rookie quarterback and face of our franchise, EJ Manuel, donated his money and his time to a cause that affects millions of people and their families. As many of you know, in 2012 EJ's mom Jackie was diagnosed with breast cancer during his senior year at Florida State. Jackie was unable to watch her son play on many occasions due to her treatments. EJ openly discussed the difficulty he had in dealing with his mother having cancer during his senior year, all while the pressure of a possible national championship loomed.
Manuel, who can relate to children who has parents with cancer, decided to partner up with the Scoring for Good program that was launched in 2013. Scoring For Good is a NFLPA supported program that relies on NFL players to promote their season performance for the benefit of Camp Kesem. Of the 1.7 million cancer cases a year in the United States, there are three million kids that are affected by a parent's cancer. Camp Kesem is dedicated to serving these often overlooked invisible victims of cancer, by providing free of charge sleep away camps. These camps are designed to give kids between the ages of 6-16 an opportunity to escape from their reality and allow them to just be kids.
Last year EJ, along with other NFL players (Aldon Smith and Tyler Polumbus), were sending children away to free summer camps with their on-field performance. For every passing and rushing touchdown during his rookie season, Manuel pledged money towards the Scoring For Good campaign.
Check out EJ's presser:
Now, I am a little sorry that I came down hard on many of you, but this is the time to put aside all of the stuff that really doesn't matter and support a player and a cause that is really making a difference. I encourage all of you to spread the word. Check out the site, forward it to your friends and family. Tweet it, retweet it, like it, or do whatever is that you do. Let EJ and our players know that beyond what we may feel about them on the field, we support and are proud of them off of it.
Have a great weekend, my friends!