For one brief moment, the negativity surrounding the NFL offseason was interrupted. In the midst of Bountygate, lawsuits over concussions and the typically predictable DUIs, a nice story emerged last week.
A 6-year-old Giants fan named Joseph broke into his piggy bank and sent $3.36 to running back Brandon Jacobs, his favorite player. Joseph naively believed that sending every penny he had would allow Jacobs to return to his beloved Giants from San Francisco, his destination after he was released by New York following stalled contract negotiations. Joseph was motivated to send the cash after his mother explained to him that the Giants didn’t have the money to bring him back.
Granted, the funds sent by the boy are not enough to buy a sandwich at the airport from which Jacobs would fly back to the Big Apple. But Jacobs admitted that the gesture nearly moved him to tears. He spoke about visiting Joseph in the near future.
“That’s a special thing, and I wish every athlete could get that feeling,” Jacobs told the Associated Press. “That definitely meant a lot for him to do that and put that concept together for one of his favorite players. It meant a lot to me and gave me a lot of motivation.
“I want to do good and go out there and do the best I can for little Joe. After thinking about it since it happened, I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. When I go back to Jersey, we are going to have some fun together.”
The story should tug at the heartstrings of all athletes. Since the era of free agency in sports began in the 1970s, fans have lost identity with their sports heroes. Few and far between are such examples as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter that remain with one franchise throughout their careers. The huge majority of teams in all sports can not afford to keep free agents when they price themselves out of the market. Salary caps can only do such much to keep them in one city. They serve only to force teams to make tough financial decisions in regard to even productive players such as Jacobs.
The Giants made a business decision to release Jacobs. Such maneuverings are so commonplace today that they are not given a second thought. It took a 6-year-old boy named Joseph to remind everyone that there is nothing more important than the relationship between the fan, his team and his favorite players.
Soon his gesture will be forgotten by most everyone. But it won’t ever be forgotten by Brandon Jacobs.