Former sports superstar Bo Jackson helped pay for the funerals of the 19 children and two teachers killed in the Uvalde school massacre in May, revealing himself as one of the previously anonymous donors who covered costs for families after one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history.Jackson, whose rare success in both the NFL and Major League Baseball made him one of the greatest and most marketable athletes of the 1980s and 1990s, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he felt compelled to support the victims’ families after the loss of so many children.
Uvalde has been a regular stop for a bite to eat or groceries before a long drive farther west to visit a friend’s ranch on hunting trips.It was his familiarity with the feel of Uvalde’s Main Street, leafy town square and the people he’d met on those stops that touched his heart when the news broke on May 24th of the shooting at Robb Elementary.
Law enforcement has been heavily criticized for taking more than an hour to enter the classroom where the 18-year-old gunman carried out the attack, and a Texas House investigative report laid blame on the school district, saying a lax safety culture, spotty alert system and unlocked doors also contributed.Three days later, Jackson and a close friend flew to Uvalde, briefly met with Gov. Greg Abbott and presented a check for $170,000 with an offer to pay for all funeral expenses.
And though Jackson suggested he hasn’t kept it a secret, he hadn’t spoken publicly about what moved him to make the trip to Uvalde and the donation until this week.
“Jackson declined to name the friend who went with him and also contributed to the donation.Other fundraising efforts have since raised millions to assist families, and local funeral homes said they wouldn’t charge families for services.
Abbott’s office said Jackson’s money was “quickly directed to cover funeral costs” through OneStar, a nonprofit created to further volunteerism and community service in Texas, including Uvalde relief efforts.
Jackson said he followed news coverage of the funerals, but he declined to say if he has been in direct contact with any of the families.The day of the shooting, Jackson tweeted, “America … let’s please stop all the nonsense.
I was just trying (with the donation) to put a little sunshine in someone’s cloud, a very dark cloud,” Jackson said.But he also noted the regularity of mass shootings in the country.
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