By Peter Brennan
Chris Long may have retired from the NFL and the Eagles two months ago, but he’s still getting big-time honors.
Long, who ended an 11-year NFL playing career that included winning two Super Bowl titles and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, was honored with the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.
He received the award for “his commitment to giving back through strategic, multifaceted efforts,” which attack larger systematic issues.
Long donated his entire salary in 2017 to benefit educational equality and encouraged his fans to join him in the effort, which raised $1.75 million to support St. Louis, Boston and Philly — cities he played in during his career. His Waterboys program has helped more than 225,000 people in East Africa gain access to clean drinking water by building more than 61 water wells to date.
The awards, presented by ESPN and sponsored by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., were presented last night at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. ESPN said more than $1 million in net proceeds was raised for The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation. To date, $7.5 million has been donated to the community on behalf of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which recognize those who use the power of sports to make a positive impact on society. ESPN also will make a charitable contribution on behalf of the winners.
Long beat out finalists Reggie Bullock of the Los Angeles Lakers, former US Open tennis champion Sloane Stephens and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Multiple sports leagues and governing bodies — including MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, Top Rank, UFC, USTA, WNBA and WWE — nominated athletes, teams and corporations who are transforming lives and uplifting communities.
ESPN will air highlights of the show on July 18.