AUSTIN, Texas — Former two-sport star Bo Jackson helped pay for the funerals of the 19 children and two teachers killed at a Texas elementary school in May.
According to The Associated Press, Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy while playing football for Auburn University in 1985, revealed himself as one of the previously anonymous donors who helped pay the funeral expenses for the victims killed in the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old,” Jackson, 59, a father of three and a grandfather, told the AP. “It’s just not right for parents to bury their kids. It’s just not right.
“I know every family there probably works their butts off just to do what they do. ... The last thing they needed was to shell out thousands of dollars for something that never should have happened.”
Jackson, who starred in the NFL and played major league baseball during the 1980s, and 1990s, said he has driven through Uvalde “many times” and stopped to eat or buy groceries before traveling farther west to visit a friend’s ranch for hunting trips, the AP reported.
Three days after the shooting, Jackson and a friend -- whom he did not identify -- met briefly with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and gave him a check for $170,000, offering to pay for all of the victims’ funeral expenses.
The governor announced the donation as an anonymous gift during a news conference on May 27, according to the AP.
“We didn’t want media,” Jackson told the AP. “No one knew we were there.”
It was the first time Jackson had spoken publicly about visiting Uvalde to make the donation.
“Uvalde is a town that sticks in your mind. Just the name,” Jackson told the AP. “I don’t know a soul there. It just touched me.”
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.
“The true spirit of our nation is Americans lifting up one another in times of need and hardship,” Abbott said. “In a truly selfless act, Bo covered all funeral expenses for the victims’ families so they would have one less thing to worry about as they grieved.”
Jackson tweeted a plea hours after the 18-year-old gunman opened fire at the school.
“America ... let’s please stop all the nonsense,” he tweeted. “Please pray for all victims. If you hear something, say something. We aren’t supposed to bury our children. I’m praying for all of the families around the country who have lost loved ones to senseless shootings. This cannot continue.”
When asked to elaborate on the “This cannot continue,” Jackson declined, saying only that he wrote what he meant.
“I don’t want to turn this into anything (but) what it is,” he told the AP. “I was just trying (with the donation) to put a little sunshine in someone’s cloud, a very dark cloud.”
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