NFL star Mariota helps children from here to Tennessee
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is rehabbing from a broken right leg, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping underprivileged youths.
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Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is rehabbing from a broken right leg suffered in December, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping underprivileged youths in the three communities he’s been a part of during his football career.
On Monday afternoon he hosted a golf tournament at the Oahu Country Club for the Motiv8 Foundation, which he founded two years ago after finishing college.
“I won’t be playing a whole lot (due to the injury),” Mariota, who walks slightly straight-legged, said a couple of hours before the tournament. “I will take a couple swings.”
Earlier he accepted a $115,000 check from First Hawaiian Bank that represented the net proceeds from the bank’s sale of a limited collector’s edition of a Mariota bobblehead doll that debuted in August at the Made in Hawaii Festival. The bank, which ordered 10,000 bobbleheads over two production runs and offered them at its branches, sold out in two months.
“Our aim and our mission is to help underprivileged youth,” said Mariota, just days after having a cast taken off his leg. “We want to give an opportunity to kids to live up to their dreams, to have aspirations, and hopefully Motiv8 can kind of help fill that void.”
Mariota, who wears No. 8 for the Titans, said his foundation has conducted a back-to-school backpack event in Nashville, Tenn.; held activities with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Oregon; and in Hawaii was involved in the Polynesian Bowl Hall of Fame game in January.
As a testament to 23-year-old Mariota’s popularity, the bobbleheads that the bank sold for $20 apiece are now listed for sale as high as $49.99 on eBay.
All the proceeds raised from the bobbleheads will remain in the Hawaii community, said Mariota, who grew up in Hawaii and starred at Saint Louis School. He also has done fundraisers in Eugene, Ore., where he won the 2014 Heisman Trophy while at the University of Oregon; and in Nashville, where he plays now after being the second overall pick in the 2015 National Football League draft. Altogether the foundation has raised nearly $300,000, Mariota said.
Mariota has appeared in three commercials for First Hawaiian, the state’s largest bank, and later this week and early next week will begin filming another one which will air before the start of football season, First Hawaiian Chairman and CEO Bob Harrison said.
“Marcus has certainly been a great person to use in our advertising because he’s so well known in Hawaii and the community,” Harrison said. “He’s just a great person, and to have him in some way represent the bank has been a tremendous help for us. What Marcus is doing with the foundation is why we’re here today. It’s really just so Marcus, that the first thing he does when he turns pro is set up a foundation to help other kids.”
Mariota attributes his motivation to his parents.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “My parents made incredible sacrifices for me, and they were a steady force throughout my entire journey, and we want Motiv8 to be that. The inspiration behind the foundation was really from my parents. They motivated me to become the best person I could be whether it was on or off the field.”