Isaiah Crowell’s history with the police has been rocky at best. He was poised to be one of the best running backs in the SEC before he was kicked out of the University of Georgia after being arrested for possession of drugs and an unregistered firearm. After the shooting of 4 police officers in Dallas earlier this year, Crowell posted graphic videos of police officers being attacked on his social media accounts.
Most people, and particularly police officers, were rightly upset at Crowell when he posted those videos. But one cop, Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, decided that rather than attack or condemn Crowell, he’d sit down and talk to him. Pennie runs the Dallas Fallen Officers Foundation, and he figured that if he actually talked face to face with Crowell, they could both learn from each other and come to understand and support each other.
As it turns out, Pennie was dead on. His talks with Crowell were so successful that Crowell decided to donate his entire week 1 paycheck to the Dallas Fallen Officers Foundation. It was such a turn around that at first the organization wasn’t sure if it was a serious offer. Via cleveland.com:
“I said, ‘Isaiah, why did you send me a check? I told you you didn’t have to send me a check,’” Pennie said. “He said, ‘Sarge, I want to do it. I really want to do it.’ I said, ‘okay, alright, you will now be an executive level sponsor. So now, you are a celebrity sponsor of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation.’”
He also shared some insight into how he was able to turn Crowell around:
In July, Crowell accepted Pennie’s invitation to attend the Dallas funeral of one of the five slain police officers, Patrick Zamarripa. He spent the day with Pennie being educated on police service. The two have become close.
“Isaiah is like my little brother,” said Pennie. “He’s a long-term sponsor, not necessarily in terms of money, but he’s going to be involved with my foundation, and how I engage him with my widows, and my fallen officer families. That’s where this is going.”
This story might get glossed over, but it’s very important given the events happening in America today. Pennie and Crowell proved that listening , talking and sharing our stories with each other can help us reach a level of understanding that we couldn’t before. It can turn enemies into allies, and the only way this country has a chance at fixing its problems is if its people learn to be allies, not enemies.