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NFL Player Chris Long Pledges Salary to Groups Supporting Educational Equity

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long will donate his paycheck from the next 10 games of the National Football League season to groups that support educational equity and opportunity in Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Boston.

Long, who is from Charlottesville, Va., had already pledged to donate the salary from the first six games this season to fund scholarships in his hometown.

"I think we can all agree that equity in education can help effect change that we all want to see in this country," he said, according to the Associated Press.

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In Boston and Philadelphia, Long's foundation will support Summer Search Boston and Summer Search Philadelphia, which provide mentoring and job opportunities for low-income students and students of color, beginning in their sophomore year of high school and continuing through college. 

In St. Louis, the funds will go to College Bound, a program that commits to getting low-income children to and through college, and the Little Bit Foundation, which works with schools in the St. Louis area to provide students with necessities such as shoes, coats, uniforms, socks, school supplies. 

"I'm playing the entire 2017 NFL season without collecting income because I believe that education is the best gateway to a better tomorrow for EVERYONE in America," Long wrote on his website.

"I'm encouraging fans, businesses and every person with a desire to join in my pursuit of equal education opportunities for all students to make their own pledge. My goal is that through this campaign my donation will be doubled by those inspired to join the effort—because together we can accomplish more."

Long asked fans and others to take a pledge with him—"Pledge 10 For Tomorrow"—by making a pledge of $10 to one of the three cities. He plans to give an additional $50,000 to the city with the most donations after the end of NFL season. Individuals and businesses can make a one-time donation, or choose to a make a per-game donation.

"If we all make this pledge, we can have a life changing impact for underserved kids," Long wrote.

Long's decision to donate his salary to this cause comes at a time when many NFL player are drawing attention to racial inequality and policing by protesting during the national anthem. Long told the Rich Eisen radio show he would never kneel during the anthem, but "respects the activism and action" of other athletes and did recently put his hand on the shoulder of a teammate while he raised a fist during the song.

Philadelphia Eagles' Chris Long is shown during the National Anthem before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Philadelphia earlier this month.

-- Matt Rourke-AP/File

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