APTOPIX Heisman Trophy Football

NCAA college football player, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow reacts while speaking after being awarded the Heisman Trophy, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in New York. (Todd Van Emst/Pool Photo via AP) ORG XMIT: NYJS231

John W. Heisman lobbied the collegiate football rules committee for three years before the forward pass was finally legalized in 1906. One hundred and thirteen years later, LSU's prolific passer, quarterback Joe Burrow, won the prestigious Heisman Memorial Trophy in record-breaking fashion.

Burrow has completed 48 touchdown passes this season — so far — but his most significant forward pass occurred off the field in his Heisman acceptance speech. Donations poured into Athens' Ohio food pantries after Burrow used the Heisman stage and the power of his voice to highlight the issue of poverty in his hometown.

According to Census Bureau data released in September 2019, nearly 19% of all Louisiana residents lived below the poverty level in 2018, the third-highest rate in the nation, behind only Mississippi and New Mexico. Yes, Alabama is better than us.

Here are two other significant facts to consider:

  •  More than 25% of Louisiana's children live in poverty.
  •  Forty-one percent of Louisiana's African-American children live in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Joe Burrow's Heisman speech produced $250K in donations for the hungry; 'Thank you is not enough'

Attending an LSU football game is a sensory experience. On a Saturday night in Baton Rouge, 100,000 fans dress in purple and gold and descend on Tiger Stadium, affectionately known as "Death Valley." The smell of chicken and sausage jambalaya is ubiquitous, and when the Golden Band from Tigerland plays Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby," everyone knows the words. The pride is palpable.

Nobody leaves Tiger Stadium hungry, but children in Louisiana experience hunger on a daily basis. Tiger fans are the most generous in the country, so imagine if each one donated just $5 to a local organization such as The Three O'clock Project, a nonprofit based in Baton Rouge, whose mission is to provide healthy after-school meals for at-risk students throughout Louisiana? Or the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, which serves East Carroll Parish, where the childhood poverty rate exceeds 70%?

Our Views: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow’s Heisman speech was a Christmas gift we all needed

Joe "Burreaux" threw a forward pass. Ohio caught it. Let's catch it, too, and address the issue of poverty in our state. It will “just mean more” when we do.

Stacey Pearson

retired law enforcement professional

Baton Rouge