Bo Jackson helped pay for the funerals of the 21 people killed in the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting in May, the former MLB and NFL star told the Associated Press. His donation was previously anonymous.
Shortly after the tragedy, Jackson flew into town with a close friend — who remains unnamed — to give Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a check for $170,000. The purpose of the donation, Jackson said, was to “put a little sunshine in someone’s cloud, a very dark cloud” by paying for the funeral expenses of the 19 children and two teachers who fell victim to one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
“I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do,” Jackson told the AP. “The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened.”
When Jackson and his friend first made the donation, they did not want media attention or for anybody to know they were in town. The former Heisman Trophy winner said he doesn’t know anybody in Uvalde, and that his only connection was mostly driving through the town on his way to visit a friend’s ranch. However, he didn’t need to be personally affected by the tragedy to feel touched by the events and want to help the community.
Jackson — a father of three and also a grandfather — said something must be wrong with those who are not bothered by the incident.
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old,” he said. “It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids. It’s just not right.”
The charitable gesture was nothing out of character for Jackson, whose philanthropic endeavors include “Bo Bikes Bama,” an annual charity bike ride that helps raise money for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund in Alabama.
Jackson spent eight seasons in the MLB, playing for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels. He was one of the few successful multi-sport athletes, as he also played four seasons in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.