By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider
During the first three seasons of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, Bradley Pinion has a total of 266 punts. Seemingly the same number of Bay Area charities and organizations he has had an impact on.
Helping with causes including those centered on literacy, animal adoption, wounded veterans, cancer awareness and character building, Pinion’s devotion to serve the community is nothing short of admirable.
“I think it just comes from my upbringing,” said Pinion, who was drafted by the 49ers out of Clemson in 2015. “I’ve always been very blessed and very fortunate growing up, and just the attitude that my mom and my dad (Lori and Robert) instilled in me at a young age was to give back. And I had a grandmother (Betty Jean} who was very giving. She was always willing to help anybody and everybody and give the shirt off her back.
“And now that I have a platform that allows me to give back at a higher level, and people are more open to it. I look at it as just trying to do my part, trying to do what I can to help. The Bay Area is an awesome place, but it does have its needs. I think taking action speaks a lot better and more than just talking about it and saying they need help. Taking action and doing is something that takes it a step beyond.”
Pinion has not only taken action in the San Francisco area, but also in his hometown of Concord, North Carolina, and in Greenville, South Carolina, which is near the Clemson campus.
“I think it’s your duty in the situation that you’re in,” Pinion said. “It’s just important to give back because it’s not always going to be here for yourself. And maybe it wasn’t there before, but while you have it, the ability to give back, it might help to be there longer.”
As this year’s 49ers’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, Pinion is being recognized for the commitment he has demonstrated in helping others in the community.
“It’s a huge honor,” Pinion said. “Just to be on the list with guys like (Houston Texans defensive end) J.J. Watt and what he’s done this year and with (New Orleans Saints quarterback) Drew Brees, all these different guys, it just really an honor. To be on the list with those guys for something off the field, not even talking about football, I think that’s really, really cool. And just the weight that the Walter Payton Award carries, doors have already opened up for me.
“The platform that the 49ers gives you, the platform that the NFL gives you, they allow you to include your whole family. My fiancé, Kaeleigh Reece, we both love giving back. And being able to give back, being in a situation where we’re capable of giving back, I think that’s the favorite part about my life right now.”
Earlier this season, Pinion participated in the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative and proudly showed his commitment to the Convoy of Hope. A non-profit, it’s a faith-based, humanitarian organization that distributes food, water, supplies, and hope to those in time of need.
“I got hooked up with them my rookie year and saw how well run the organization was and how it’s a Christ center, and I’m a big believer in Christ,” Pinion said. “They have a ton of different avenues. They have Feed One, which is a program where you can pay $10 a month and it feeds a child for an entire month. It’s like their golden ticket to a better life. That’s another thing where the Convoy of Hope comes in. It gives hope to these kids who don’t have anything. They get a meal and it’s really cool.
“They do disaster relief. All these different hurricanes, they go in before, during and after to provide disaster supplies. They have agricultural programs. They have women empowerment programs. Convoy of Hope is hope in time of need. That’s kind of their slogan and I think it’s so cool to be able to be able to help people when they need it most.”