Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed in a statement that former football and baseball star Bo Jackson paid for the funerals of the 21 victims of the May 24 Uvalde school massacre.
The governor said that Jackson flew in and met with him briefly before writing a check for $170,000 to cover the families’ expenses. At that time, Abbott only said that there was a secret donor, but Jackson’s identity was revealed this week.
An 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School in May and massacred 19 children and two teachers who were in adjoining classrooms. The Texas House released a report in recent days pointing to massive “systematic failures” in the tragedy.
Jackson told the Associated Press that “it’s just not right” for parents to “bury their kids.” The former sports superstar has no connection to the area other than driving through on the way to hunting trips. He noted that he doesn’t know anyone there.
Still, the father of three and grandfather nearing 60 said he was compelled to help. The town was a passage to the hunting vacations that Jackson said “touched his heart.”
Jackson said “the last thing (the families) needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened.” He told the AP further that his purpose was to add just a little sunshine to someone’s “very dark cloud.”
Jackson flew into town with a close friend who remains unnamed.
On the day of the shooting, he tweeted that the “nonsense” has to stop. He said he was praying for all the families of mass shooting victims.
Jackson starred in football and baseball at Auburn University and won the Heisman Trophy before becoming a standout in both the NFL and MLB. A clear candidate for the Halls of Fame for both sports, he suffered a horrific hip injury playing for the Raiders that ultimately ended his unique career.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the world outside of sports became familiar with his legendary versatility through the “Bo Knows” Nike ad campaigns. Now the world knows Bo Jackson for something not only different but infinitely more important.