With Eagles legend Ron Jaworski and the city’s mayor on hand, National Football League executives on Tuesday said the league is committed to helping the Philadelphia school district establish a flag football program for kids and help fund after-school programs.
The league is taking over Ben Franklin Parkway this week for its NFL Draft extravaganza. Part of the festivities included Tuesday’s NFL Draft Community Kickoff event at George A. McCall Elementary and Middle School in South Philly.
Jaworski, "Jaws," to fans, who is now an analyst for ESPN, touted the league’s dedication to the community in announcing the flag football program.
“It’s really about our partner’s commitment to the community,” said the former star quarterback. “Not just the three days on the parkway, which is going to be phenomenal…but, it isn’t just about that, we wanted it to be about you, the young people.”
NFL executives did not specify how much the league would donate for the after-school programs, saying they were working with the district to determine its needs.
According to information released for the event, money from the NFL Foundation will be “used to fund the expansion of flag football and supply key resources and equipment for in-school and after-school programs.”
Anna Isaacson, the league’s senior vice president of social responsibility, said the effort is just one step in the NFL’s commitment to the Philadelphia community.
“We said for decades that the NFL is all about football and community,” she told Metro. “We are committed to coming into a community and doing more there than just a game.”
Isaacson said the flag football program is a part of the NFL’s Play 60 program, which encourages kids to be more active.
“I feel like sports really bring people together,” she said. “Even if you’re not an NFL fan, I’m sure you could be brought into the excitement of the moment.”
The league is offering flag football clinics this week and children from several schools throughout the city are invited. Also throughout the week, there will be an NFL Play 60 Zone set up along the parkway for children.
Mayor Jim Kenney, who attended the Tuesday event, is a big Eagles fan. “If you cut me open, I bleed green,” he said. He added that he was grateful for the NFL’s planned donation.
“This league is committed to making sure our children are leading healthy and active lifestyles,” he said. “And they are going to do a lot in this regard in Philadelphia.”