Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end Chris Long’s reason for donating his paychecks to charity is simple.
“I’m not just playing ball,” he told comedian and TV host Ellen DeGeneres on NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show that aired Friday. “I’m doing something bigger than that.”
Long, who also has played for the St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots, appeared on the program to talk more about his good deeds, but also tackled the controversy surrounding the national anthem.
Long told DeGeneres that he gets 16 checks throughout the season, the first six of which went to scholarships in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va., while the remaining 10 are going toward Pledge 10 for Tomorrow, an initiative launched to support educational equality in St. Louis, Boston and Philly.
“Football, for me, while it’s fun, I don’t get the fulfillment out of that, alone,” he said on the show. “So, selfishly, the charity stuff makes me feel good.”
DeGeneres then pressed the football star about his stance on athletes kneeling during the national anthem, a movement spurred this season after President Trump suggested in September that NFL owners should fire players who do kneel.
Long, who opted out of a White House visit in April, said that he respects his fellow players’ right to protest, but won’t kneel since his foundation, appropriately called The Chris Long Foundation, works closely with veterans.
“But certainly, I think these players are bringing up great points, and they’re trying to improve their communities and America, subsequently,” he said.
DeGeneres, known for getting down on her show, also addressed Long’s own dance moves that he shows off on the field –something he says he gets flak for from his own teammates.
“Well, all dance is art form and it doesn’t matter – who are they to judge you?” DeGeneres said. “How dare they.”
DeGeneres wrapped up the segment by donating $30,000 to Long’s efforts, $10,000 for each city he’s raising money to benefit. The money came as a part of the One Million Acts of Good project, where DeGeneres and Cheerios partner together to highlight those working to improve their communities.
“Thank you so much, are you kidding me?” Long said.