- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell donated his first game check of the season, about $35,000, to the Dallas Fallen Officers Foundation.

“I said, ‘Isaiah, why did you send me a check? I told you you didn’t have to send me a check,’ ” Sgt. Demetrick Pennie told cleveland.com. “He said, ‘Sarge, I want to do it. I really want to do it.’ I said, ‘okay, alright, [sic] you will now be an executive level sponsor. So now, you are a celebrity sponsor of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation.”’

Crowell and Pennie have a prior relationship. Following the July 7 massacre of police officers in Dallas, Crowell posted an extremely graphic illustration of a masked man cutting a police officer’s neck with a knife. Crowell immediately removed the image, but he received a tremendous amount of backlash for posting the image on his Instagram account.

After posting the image, Pennie invited Crowell to attend the funeral of Patrick Zamarripa, one of the five murdered police officers. Crowell attended, and Pennie spent much of the time educating Crowell on the difficulties and stresses of policing.

“(The post) showed me that this was an individual that has not been socialized to what happens in law enforcement,” Pennie said. “He doesn’t understand. I gave him one day to decide whether he was coming in for the funeral, and he let me know that same day he’s coming. He said. ‘I’ll be there Sarge.’

Pennie understood that Crowell, who grew up in Columbus, Georgia, had never really had a positive interaction with law enforcement. But as Crowell began to learn more about law enforcement, the two began to form a strong bond. Crowell speaks with Pennie quite often.

“I’m so proud of Isaiah,” Pennie said. “He’s 23, and my son is 23. He’s like my son. He’s like my little brother. I love him to death. I’m not going to let anybody hurt him. I’m there for him. If you’re doing something wrong, I’m going to tell you.”

Crowell is off to one of his best starts of his career. Through four games, Crowell has already rushed for 394 yards and 3 touchdowns. Crowell had just 706 yards and 4 touchdowns just last season.

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