Chicago Cubs: Jason Heyward is a perfect role model in these trying times

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward continues to be a role model on and off the field.

It’s hard anymore to turn on the news and find something positive going on in our country. Yes, Chicago Cubs baseball is returning soon, yet it is still so hard to ignore the constant dark clouds swirling around us.

For months, COVID-19  has hung over our heads and  social unrest has driven tens of thousands to the streets to protest the mistreatment of African Americans in our country. An election will be soon upon us as well, sparking even more conflict as right and left vie for control of the presidency and Congress.

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As a college-age individual, it’s heartbreaking seeing the world we are currently living in. It requires a lot of growing up in a short period of time to understand and navigate the mire that is our sociopolitical landscape and find out how to make a difference. For that reason, I see Jason Heyward as an ideal role model for modern America.

Heyward has been more of a leader and a glue guy for the Cubs than a star, yet I think he’s a very important player in MLB right now given the initiative he takes on and off the field to better himself and those around him. On the field, his most memorable moment arguably came in 2016 when his famous rain delay speech rallied a weary Cubs team that pulled off a miracle win in extra innings.

Off the field, however, Heyward has done so much more. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, he donated $200,000 dollars to Chicago charities to help with relief.  In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests, Heyward took initiative and promoted conversation and teaching as the country mourned yet another unjust African American death. He was also part of “Race in America: A Candid Conversation,” which included prominent Black athletes discussing their personal experiences and a path for a more inclusive America moving forward.

On Monday, Heyward donated yet another $100,000 to fight COVID-19 in Chicago and I was once again reminded of his dedicated generosity. He’s the kind of person who shows more care for lifting others up and supporting the community rather than looking out for his personal interests.

The leadership he shows, however, is something I’m seriously worried is missing among many people today. There are plenty of good people out there, but it’s hard for that good to shine through when many choose to stand idly by.

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You don’t have to give thousands of dollars to COVID relief like some of the Chicago Cubs have or bail out protesters to make a difference. Go out and protest, speak out and start conversations about race and how it matters in America, wear a mask, or just vote in an election. Look to someone like Heyward who puts in the effort to change the world for the better.