I don’t usually do this but I feel it’s extremely necessary to shine the spotlight and give credit where credit is due. I truly believe God blesses each and every one of us with a unique gift, it’s up to us to find what that gift is and use it to make the world a better place.
The “News” or “Media” is often portrayed as being negative but I want to bring awareness to what Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson is doing in the Jacksonville community.
Some guys earn the big check on the field, Malik has earned it on and off. Some guys set up fundraisers and camps and show up for 10 minutes because they feel they are obligated to. Malik sets up camps and fundraisers and spends hours on top of hours giving kids hope and inspiration, kids who grew up in Duval, which is publicly known as the “murder capital of Florida.”
You got guys on the roster who are showing up to offseason workouts out of shape, some known for being at the beach bars taking more shots in one hour than they have wins in their career and then you have Malik, up and early on Saturday morning playing soccer with kids he has never met in his life, spending an afternoon with a local boys and girls club, not just donating an Xbox and handing out a check but physically hanging out with these kids and inspiring them, showing up to an Eagle Scouts award ceremony just to show support to a young stranger who has climbed the ranks of the Boyscouts, buying Christmas presents for families in need, these are just a few of the many great things he has done in our community.
What upsets me is what the spotlight is on, Antonio Brown twerking, Deandre Hopkins wearing Yeezy Cleats, Tom Coughlin’s watch……..while that’s trending, you have Malik holding one of the largest pet adoption events in the history of Jacksonville. Maybe he wants it that way? I don’t know, but what I can tell you is he’s doing his part.
What fans may not know is exactly how the players respond to us “the media” week after week. We all know the Jaguars were terrible last year and I don’t blame any of them for not wanting to talk. However, no matter if it was a late loss to Green Bay, an embarrassing blowout beating on national television to the Titans, or a Christmas Eve Doug Marrone miracle, Malik ALWAYS took the time to answer any questions showing an exceptional amount of accountability.
I’m not asking you to go out and buy his jersey, but to realize who the Jaguars have on their roster, who you’re cheering for on Sundays, ESPECIALLY with what we’ve recently seen around the NFL, you “know” the players on Sunday from TV but beyond the game you can’t tell who they truly are watching them in shoulder pads. Look at Darren Sharper, he was a great football player, but behind the football helmet, he is a rapist, another example, Greg Hardy and his horrific abuse of women. I feel sick even mentioning Malik’s name in the same sentence as these guys, but the fact is it’s comforting to know there’s somebody in Duval not only taking full advantage of his an opportunity but truly possesses a strong desire to make Jacksonville a better and safer place to live.
If you want to show support outside of just screaming his name in Everbank, this Thursday night June 15th at Oak Bridge Club at Sawgrass First Coast News will be on hand for Malik’s next event “Mix.Mingle.Music&Fun” (All proceeds from this event will benefit Malik’s Gifts, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to unite all walks of life together to support and serve: at-risk children, military children and families, animal rescue missions, and family emergency assistance in our local community. ( http://www.maliksgifts.org/event/ )
I didn’t write this article to suck up to Malik or the Jaguars, I understand the reputation I have created for myself here in Jacksonville, I’m not deaf to the criticism, as long as I work for First Coast News I will continue to buy into their aggressive style they preach.
Malik Jackson, thank you for making our jobs easier.