Fitzgerald's world travels chance to help others
TEMPE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald is back from his latest globe-trotting adventure, this one to Southeast Asia. He jokes that the only place he's never been is Antarctica, and he plans to visit there “hopefully in late February.”
But while the Arizona Cardinals' star wide receiver's travels are certainly something he truly enjoys , he says it's also given him a chance to see just how severe the struggles are for poverty stricken people around the world, and just how good most Americans have it.
“Some of it's leisure, some of it is just to get away,” he said. “A lot of it is just to try to give back. We're extremely fortunate. I'm not talking about me or football players, as Americans we're fortunate to be able to turn the water on every day, be able to drink clean, healthy water and healthy food. There are a lot of places in the world where they don't have that same comfort.”
Fitzgerald, whose main charity in the United States is to combat breast cancer — the disease that claimed his mother — has formed a foundation with good friend and former teammate Anquan Boldin to help drought-stricken Africa. He says on this year's trip, with stops in Malaysia and Thailand, he helped the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which distributes hearing aids to the poor around the world.
His trip to Africa a year ago left him stunned.
“You have no idea,” he said. “People here complain it's 108 (degrees). It's 108 in Ethiopia but they have no water. They haven't had a raindrop in a year — a year.”
“Just imagine this,” he said. “You have a son and a daughter and you don't have enough money to feed them. You have to make a decision that ‘I'll take my daughter to a big city or take my son to a big city and just leave them and hopefully they will find their way, or they're going to die here on the farm with me.' Can you imagine making decisions like that? That's crazy, man. I can't even wrap my mind around stuff like that.”
Fitzgerald came home a few days ago, in time for the start of offseason practices on Tuesday. He said he needs to lose a few pounds and get into football shape.
Meanwhile, he has taken the team's first-round draft pick, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, under his wing. Asked if Floyd is staying at his house, as other young players have done, Fitzgerald said “I can't confirm or deny those allegations. But he's taken care of, from what I hear.”
Fitzgerald had lobbied hard for the Cardinals to draft Floyd. It's added depth at a position that's lacked it since the departure of Bolden and Steve Breaston.
“Now this is many, many moons ago, but I remember 1998 when I was a ball boy with the Vikings. They had Jake Reed, who was a thousand-yard receiver. And they had Cris Carter and Robert Smith, guys who were Pro Bowlers, and they drafted Randy Moss,” Fitzgerald said. “And he was a difference. He was a guy that the league had never seen before.”
Floyd has a long way to go to deserve that comparison, but Fitzgerald said the rookie “is going to be a tremendous asset for our ball club.”
So it's back to work for Fitzgerald, a job he loves and is paid handsomely to perform. For now, the visits to the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the walks through the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru or bungee jumping in New Zealand.
“Everybody talks about Larry's travels but what people don't know about is him going into depressed communities and working with kids and trying to make a life better for people all over the world,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That's a responsibility when you're in the NFL is giving back. Larry has the forum, because of his notoriety, to do that. I think that's why he's so beloved all over the country and certainly the world, because of doing those kinds of things.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Rutherford shines as old boss pouts
- Ford City targeting development of former industrial land
- Animal rights grup protests in Pleasant Hills
- SummerFest kicks off in Ford City
- Sheriff starts fundraising to buy drug-sniffing K-9 officer for Armstrong
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Gov. Wolf vetoes bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor system
- Shaken by economic, political turmoil, MLB forsaking Venezuela
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Attorney General’s twin sister sued by FBI agent ex-boyfriend
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 3, 2015