Football players are stigmatized as privileged, entitled athletes whose only focus is themselves. New York Jets safety Jamal Adams didn’t do this for more social media followers. Like it or not, Colin Kaepernick doesn’t speak out against social injustice because he’s feeding his ego. The idea that every single athlete is self-centered couldn’t be further from the truth.
Garrett Johnson isn’t a starter for the Tennessee Volunteers. The junior defensive back isn’t an NFL prospect. Heck, the walk-on wasn’t even considered a major prospect by any recruiting service coming out of high school. What Johnson is, though, is a role model that most of us cannot measure up to.
While walking to get some food, the pride of Germantown, Tennessee saw a homeless man struggling to walk because of the shoes he was wearing.
Rather than walk past, avert the man’s eyes, and continue on his way, the real-life Volunteer went and purchased two pairs of brand new shoes for the man.
He even helped the man named “Lala” put them on his feet.
Do you think Johnson did this because it looks good on his Twitter profile? Wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, college football players will go out of their way, just like we all should, to help somebody in need. Something as simple as a pair of tennis shoes that a lot of us take for granted, and even collect by the dozens, can go such a long way to someone who has so little.
Giving back is more than building your personal brand. Johnson’s simple act of kindness was about spreading positivity in a world that loves to attack it.
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound defensive back may never see significant snaps for Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee Volunteers, but that seems like the last priority for Johnson.
He’s making waves off the football field doing things that people much more well-off than he is would never consider doing.
We need more role models in the world like Garrett Johnson.