DeSean Jackson, a new member of the NFL franchise based in Washington visited St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, earlier this week to talk about the need to put an end to bullying.
Jackson was inspired to take up his anti-bullying campaign a few years ago when he heard the story of Nadin Khoury, a 13-year-old boy from Philadelphia, who had been tormented by kids in his neighborhood. Since then, Jackson, through his DeSean Jackson Foundation as well as public speaking engagements, has let young people know that “Bullying doesn’t lead to anything good. Be positive in your interactions with others. And don’t be afraid to seek out help if someone is bullying you.”
If you follow sports closely, you may tend to regard events like this one with some skepticism. Jackson’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit–perhaps unfairly–recently due to his association with childhood friends who are now alleged to be gang members. And Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington football team (whose daughter attends St. Andrew’s) is under pressure to change its racist name.
Yet anyone who works with children knows the power of celebrity and the importance of Jackson’s message. As the former Bishop’s Representative to St. Andrew’s board and the father of two alums, I am glad Jackson made his visit, and I hope it is the first of many in the Washington area.