BOSTON (CBS) — There are never any empty words from Patriots safety Devin McCourty, whether he speaks them on the football field or off of it. He not only talks the talk, but he walks the walk, especially when it comes to doing good away from the game.
“I’m playing football for a reason,” he told WBZ-TV over the weekend. “Me being drafted to New England, me being on a team with tremendous success, has all been to have this platform to help people. That’s what I’m truly passionate about.
“When we get new guys, I try to help them. I enjoy seeing people do well and I enjoy being part of winning things,” McCourty continued. “Whether that’s an organization, football-wise, a non-profit, anything. I enjoy trying to give of myself. One of the best things I’ve learned is if you give of yourself, you want to be around people who can pour into you.”
As one of the leaders of the Players Coalition, McCourty has been a voice for social justice and change. And on Tuesday, he’ll be honored as an “Uncornered Champion” for his work with Boston Uncornered, whose mission is getting kids out of gangs and into school.
“Right away what stuck out was their decision they made to give them a $400 stipend each week, to say, ‘you’re responsible and we want you to focus on the opportunity to get a good education and advance your life,'” McCourty said of the organization. “That’s what really sticks out with the organization, just the compassion and how passionate they are about each individual they can help. I’m just happy that I’m involved and I can have some kind of impact just a little bit.”
“Devin McCouty embodies everything that is great about our country,” said Mark Culliton, the founder of Boston Uncornered. “He is somebody who knows and values education. he knows and values community, and knows and values courage as a means to make change.”
Culliton founded Boston Uncornered with the belief that education is the key to transforming individuals and their community.
“We’ve been able to take four active gangs in Dorchester and transform them from places of fear to places of opportunity through the transformation of those gang members,” he explained. “We’re excited about the individual transformation, but it’s what they’ve done with their crews that is most powerful in our work.”
“They’re giving these men and women opportunity now to be positive and be a bright light,” said McCourty. “What’s really amazing is they help someone and then what does that person do? They turn around and say ‘how can I now be part of the organization to help somebody else?’ It’s just awesome to be a part of.”
Culliton said McCourty has an incredible connection with the young people that Boston Uncornered serves.
“He came in and spent about three hours with our young people, sharing stories of his own ‘uncornering’ and background,” he said.
“We all just shared our stories. I talked about my upbringing and why and who I am,” explained McCourty. “I got to learn about other individuals, people’s childhoods and what they thought then and what they think now. To me, that’s what it’s about. You talk about issues in our country and issues in black communities, it’s about people understanding. Let’s talk about these things and understand each other.
“At the end of the day if I can help you, I need to do that,” he said. “I want to do that.”
McCourty will be honored as an “Uncornered Champion” Tuesday night on a live virtual special, This Is Your Life. It will be filled with friends and specials guests paying tribute to the Patriots captain, and emceed by legendary NFL reporter Andrea Kremer.
“He is someone who is all about action. You can see it on the field, and even more so off of it,” Kremer told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton.
Like McCourty, Kremer is also passionate about the work of Boston Uncornered.
“They call it ‘Corner to College,’ and they literally mean that,” said Kremer. “They’re using education as a path to get off the corner and take some of the financial burder away from them. And it’s working.”
McCourty said that his entire family is also lending their support to his various causes away from the football field.
“Even though it’s difficult, the time constraints trying to do this and do that, it has really helped me a lot that it’s not just my mission,” McCourty said of his family’s involvement. “This is a mission for myself, my wife, my brother and his wife, my mother. Everyone is behind the different things I’m involved in and want to do those things.”
It was a message from the late Kobe Bryant that served as one of the more inspirational messages for McCourty.
“He said with your career or anything you do, include your family. They don’t want to just go there to support you, they want to know they’re on the ride with you,” he said. “They want to know they’re a part of it and be there with you, and I’ve tried to do that, as hard as it is. That gives me more motivation and inspiration more than anything.”
After all, McCourty said he’s just a dad trying to set a good example for his kids.
“I’m just a father trying to survive, that’s all I am right now,” he said with a chuckle, shortly after one of his kids ran in the background of his Zoom interview with WBZ. “I’m not a football player; I get out the house from about 6:30-11 am working out, and then the rest of the time I’m a dad trying to do conference calls like 60 percent of the country right now.”
Tuesday’s program is a fundraiser for Boston Uncornered, but you don’t have to donate to watch the organization honor the Patriots captain. You do have to register ahead of time on Uncornered.org, with Tuesday’s event scheduled for 8 p.m.