Bo Jackson Stepped Up to Help Pay for Uvalde Funerals

'It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids,' former MLB, NFL player says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2022 4:26 AM CDT
Former MLB, NFL Player Helped Pay for Uvalde Funerals
Former Chicago White Sox great Bo Jackson waves to the crowd before throwing the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox and Kansas City Royals season opening baseball game Monday, April 1, 2013, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Former sports superstar Bo Jackson helped pay for the funerals of the 19 children and two teachers killed in the Uvalde school massacre in May, revealing himself as one of the previously anonymous donors who covered costs for families after one of the deadliest classroom shootings in US history. Jackson, whose rare success in both the NFL and Major League Baseball made him one of the greatest and most marketable athletes of the 1980s and 1990s, told the AP this week that he felt compelled to support the victims' families after the loss of so many children. He said he was trying to "put a little sunshine in someone’s cloud, a very dark cloud."

"I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old," said Jackson, a father of three and a grandfather who will turn 60 later this year. "It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids. It’s just not right." "I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do," he said. "The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened." Jackson said he felt a personal connection to the city he's driven through many times. Uvalde has been a regular stop for a bite to eat or groceries before a long drive farther west to visit a friend's ranch on hunting trips.

Three days after the attack, Jackson and a close friend flew to Uvalde, briefly met with Gov. Greg Abbott, and presented a check for $170,000 with an offer to pay for all funeral expenses. Abbott announced it as an anonymous donation during a May 27 news conference. Other fundraising efforts have since raised millions to assist families, but Jackson's donation was an early point of light for the grieving families. And though Jackson suggested he hasn't kept it a secret, he hadn't spoken publicly about what moved him to make the trip to Uvalde and the donation until this week. "Uvalde is a town that sticks in your mind. Just the name,” Jackson said. “I don’t know a soul there. It just touched me."

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Uvalde wasn't Jackson's first large-scale act of philanthropy. He hosts an annual bike ride in his home state of Alabama to raise money for disaster relief funds, an effort started after tornadoes killed nearly 250 people. The Uvalde donation was his first in response to a mass shooting. The day of the shooting, Jackson tweeted, "America ... let’s please stop all the nonsense. Please pray for all victims. If you hear something, say something. We aren’t supposed to bury our children. I’m praying for all of the families around the country who have lost loved ones to senseless shootings. This cannot continue." (More Bo Jackson stories.)

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