The big stage gives the 106 participants a rare opportunity to interact with a wider audience than any other. Many are using this opportunity to promote their charitable causes. When this many people are watching you, even something as simple as a tweet can have a huge impact.
Kelli Matthews, senior instructor of public relations at Oregon's University of Oregon, says that 20 years ago, it was only the top of the crop who had the opportunity and the platform. Anyone can now create a Twitter account, which gives them a platform, a space, and a voice.
You can see examples of athletes using social media for many purposes by looking at the accounts of Bengals and Rams football players. Some people don't use social networking at all. Others use it to promote their team, their alma mater or to further their business ventures.
"The smartest athletes think ahead, asking themselves how they can use the platform and audience that I have. " Matthews said. These things can help players find a new life after football.
A typical NFL career lasts 3.3 years, and many players never have the chance to play in a Super Bowl. Few players have taken advantage of the opportunity to make an impact even after their time on the field is over.
Samaje Perine, the Bengals' backup running back, made a 41-yard touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime. It will be remembered in Cincinnati as the play that started their comeback from a deficit of 21-3. In overtime, the Bengals defeated the Chiefs 27-24.
Perine started selling t-shirts, with a portion of the proceeds going towards a scholarship for student athletes at Hendrickson High School, Pflugerville, Texas.
Cooper Kupp, Rams wide receiver, was also the NFL's Offensive Players of the Year. A limited edition T-shirt was released by Team Rubicon. Proceeds will be donated to Team Rubicon which mobilizes veterans to help in disaster recovery and recovery.
Sam Hubbard is a Cincinnati hero and uses his social media platforms for greater good, no matter how big the spotlight might be.
"Sam was like, "I'm from there." This community is my home. I was helped by this community. It is only right that they give me back,'" Matt Kittell, executive director of Sam Hubbard Foundation.
Hubbard was raised in Cincinnati, where he played at Moeller High School. He then went on to Ohio State. Hubbard was drafted in 2018 by his hometown Bengals. This was a dream come true for many kids in Southwest Ohio. He immediately sought out opportunities to give back to the community and raised $30,000 for an annual youth football camp in his rookie year.
We knew Sam was a popular figure in the region. Kittell says that while we knew we could use it to do good, we didn't really know what we wanted.
Hubbard was shocked to see a Cincinnati news story that said a food bank had only two weeks left. He jumped at the opportunity and raised $85,000 for Freestore Foodbank.
Kittell says, "This area really has a lot need." Kittell says that there are 80,000 Tri-State children without food. One in seven people suffer from food insecurity. This is a serious problem. I have a solution through my platform. Let's get to it. This is what we have been focusing on the past two years.
Kittell estimates that the foundation has raised $160,000 to combat food insecurity in Southwest Ohio since 2020. These donations are used to provide power packs which contain healthy snacks for kids who may not have access to nutritious food. It helps to fund food pantries such as Harrison Junior School. These are available for any student in Southwest Local School District who is experiencing food insecurity.
Hubbard's efforts in fighting food insecurity in his area and the Bengals' recent win at the Super Bowl inspired the Southwest Regional School District to launch a fundraiser to raise $9,400.
Mike Morris, Southwest Local School District, stated that the fundraiser exceeded its goal in less than 48 hours.
Morris stated that donations have come from as far as Arizona and New York.