Steve Eighinger

Not all pro athletes do stupid things

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 17, 2017 11:00 am

Professional athletes regularly suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the court of public opinion -- and rightly so. All too often, some of them do dumb things. A lot of dumb things.

But for every Pacman Jones there is a John Cena, for every Pete Rose there is a Russell Wilson, and for every Dennis Rodman there is a LeBron James.

I think we need to remember there are also plenty of athletes doing good things. A lot of good things.

That's why once a year in our "Good Guys of the Month" we single out athletes who are doing just that.

Bronze medal

WWE pro wrestler John Cena is the most-requested athlete in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has granted more than 500 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. He always finds time in a hectic lifestyle for those kids, no matter what may be on his schedule.

"I'll make time for the wish and then do everything else later because whatever it is, it's not as important as making a child's or a family's experience (as memorable as possible)," Cena said in published reports.

Cena has also played an important role over the years with the Susan G. Komen organization to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. Through Cena's leadership and dedication, the WWE has raised more than $1.5 million since partnering with Susan G. Komen in 2012.

Silver medal

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spends a great deal of his free time visiting children at Seattle Children's Hospital, and that's just one of his many charitable and community-minded endeavors.

Wilson's foundation supports various children's causes, he's a national ambassador for diabetes awareness, and his Invested with Russell project raises money for local charities. From a football standpoint, Wilson does his part with the Russell Wilson Passing Academy in various cities.

"There's not enough superlatives. He is just as complete of a person as you could hope to be working with," Seattle coach Pete Carroll told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Whether it's in football or whether he's off the field, he's just a marvelous kid."

Gold medal

"Few commit a full-court press to helping educate children the way LeBron James does," wrote Chris Roling of bleacherreport.com.

The Akron, Ohio-based LeBron James Family Foundation focuses on children. James contributed $41 million of his own money in 2015 to send 1,100 kids to school, and that was only the beginning. James later announced, "Every single kid who finishes my program will go to college for free."

"James has a vast, deep interest in using the game of basketball to improve the world around what is merely a game," Roling said.

James says on his website that he has "lived a very blessed life." He also says, "Together we can change the world."

He's certainly doing his fair share.