- Associated Press - Friday, October 16, 2020

Players Coalition, a nonprofit founded by Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins, is donating $350,000 in grants nationwide to help provide K-12 students and schools with internet access, broadband connectivity and technology devices to make learning from home easier.

The grants are being awarded to 11 districts, schools and technology programs in Baltimore, Boston, New York, Dallas, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, Ector County in Texas, and Palm Beach, Florida.

Players Coalition partnered with Chiefs for Change to ensure connectivity for low-income students in several of the selected markets.

“Education is a basic right. And this year, more than ever before, all students need access to computers and internet access at home,” Boldin says. “We’ve already lost so much in 2020 due to COVID-19, but it should not be a year where our nation’s children lose out on learning because their families have limited financial resources.”

Almost 20% of high school age students in the United States are often unable to complete homework assignments because they do not have reliable access to a computer or internet connection at home. Those numbers are even higher for African American and Hispanic students, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.



“In football, plays don’t work unless players get the signal, from the sideline, to the quarterback, to every player on the field,” says Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “And in today’s world, students can’t do their schoolwork without a signal at home. Millions of children are waiting for that signal-an internet signal so they can learn, whether their classes are happening in person or online.

“With the generous support of Players Coalition, we are expanding internet access to more students.”

This year’s grant recipients are part of a larger initiative from Players Coalition. Since 2019, the PC Charitable Foundation has awarded more than $675,000 in grant funds to schools throughout the country to address the digital divide by ensuring internet connectivity and access to STEAM education programming and technology.

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BUONICONTI FUND RAISES $2 MILLION

The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis raised $2 million during its virtual “Legends Dinner” that featured sports icons such as Jack Nicklaus and Mariano Rivera.

The Buoniconti Fund is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the money raised will support the groundbreaking work of the world’s leading center for spinal cord injury research.

With a theme of “Stand Up For Those Who Can’t,” honorees also included Tara Lipinski, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez and Ed Reed. There were musical performances created for the occasion by Jon Bon Jovi, Gloria Estefan, and the cast of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”

Marc Buoniconti, the fund’s president who was paralyzed in a college football game 35 years ago, paid tribute to his late father Nick, the Pro Football Hall of Famer who founded the fund to benefit his son and others who were paralyzed.

“It seems like a lifetime ago, and in many ways it was just like yesterday,” Marc Buoniconti said while recalling his father’s passing last year. “As we all deal with the new realities of life and the pandemic, we know it is essential that we keep moving forward. I have full confidence that my father would be proud that his original mission continues at The Miami Project, and I will not rest until his dream of curing paralysis is a reality.”

Since its inception in 1986, the dinner has honored more than 370 sports legends and humanitarians and has raised more than $125 million for The Miami Project’s spinal cord injury research programs.

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STIFF-ARMED INFAMY

The Tennessee Titans have seen plenty defenders on the wrong end of a Derrick Henry stiff arm. The 2019 NFL rushing leader’s latest impressed even them.

Henry got his right hand on Bills cornerback Josh Norman’s left shoulder and sent him flying into the air. Henry’s run wound up not counting due to offsetting penalties, though that didn’t matter at all to teammates watching up close. Cornerback Malcolm Butler cringed at the sight of a defensive back thrown backward, while Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he yelled, “Holy crap!”

“That was unbelievable just to see the way he tossed that guy,” Tannehill said. “Derrick is a special player. We’ve seen the stiff arm from him. I saw it all last year. I’ve seen it before I got here, highlights of it. Obviously, he’s strong, physically a tough runner. That was probably one of the meanest stiff arms I’ve ever seen, no doubt.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel compared that Henry stiff arm to one he got from Adrian Peterson, which made Vrabel realize his time as an NFL player was getting close to an end.

“There was a lot of excitement over that particular play …,” Vrabel said of the Titans’ response. “It’s good to see it. That’s certainly a weapon that Derrick has had in his running style. We’ve all seen that.”

Henry’s stiff arms turned into an immediate meme, which the Houston Texans certainly noticed with a trip to Nashville up Sunday.

“It didn’t really work out well for Josh Norman or other players that have done that,” Texans safety Justin Reid said. “You really just got to be physical, make sure you attack him and get low and don’t leave your chest open for him. I hear he really likes that.”

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner and Teresa M. Walker contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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