Footballers must do more to help young, says ex-NFL star and new Boris Johnson mentor
Paul Bignell is an Assistant News Editor at The Independent. He has previously been the acting News Editor of the i Paper, a home news reporter for The Independent for one year and a reporter for the Independent on Sunday for six years.
Tuesday 27 August 2013
Premier League footballers are not doing enough to help disadvantaged young people, according to the American sportsman recruited by Boris Johnson to mentor London’s teenagers.
Former American football star Cecil Martin, who has been appointed as an ambassador for mentoring by the Mayor of London, said he believes top players “need to do more” to mentor young people in poorer communities.
Mr Martin, 38, who played in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and is now a Sky Sports commentator in the UK, has been awarded the position on the newly formed committee for mentoring young people.
Through various schemes being developed over the next year by the mentoring advisory board, Mr Johnson hopes that eventually 10,000 young people will benefit.
Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Mr Martin said: “We believe Premier League footballers need to do more but it’s up to the players to want to do it.
“I think this initiative can add another place for these football clubs to nudge these footballers and athletes to be a part of. A lot of them will remember what got them to where they are, but sometimes you get caught up with things and you’re not in the frame of mind to give more.”
Mr Martin, who grew up in a deprived suburb of Chicago, has been a volunteer since he was 17.
The committee also includes Ray Lewis, the former deputy mayor of London, Pete Reed, the double Olympic gold-medal rower, and Andrew Bone, a senior executive at De Beers. It is chaired by Ashish Prashar, a PR executive.
Mr Lewis, the Mayor’s mentoring adviser, said: “You don’t get the sense that it’s the culture of our footballers do you?
All too often when our people do stuff, they want a lot of fanfare, where it’s the quiet, understated work that is often the most effective. And there’s no doubt that footballers can make a huge impact in the lives of our young people.”
The Premier League hit back at the claims. A spokesman said: “Premier League clubs have a fantastic track record of investing in and committing to a wide range of good-cause initiatives in the UK and overseas.
“Last season that included £45m of investment in community and good-cause programmes that engaged more than half a million people.”
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...