University of Michigan running back Blake Corum is using his platform to give back in a way that would not have been possible in years past.
“I’ve always wanted to give back,” Blake told MLive. “That has been a huge part of my life. People gave back to me when I was young. I just always wanted to help the community, whatever I could do to help. This is my first time handing out turkeys, and I’m going to keep doing this every year now.”
Since July 1, NCAA athletes have been able to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), thanks to extensive legal battles that went as high up as the Supreme Court. According to the NCAA’s website, “the total athletics revenue reported among all NCAA athletics departments in 2019 was $18.9 billion.”
Michigan RB Blake Corum, his dad, James, and LB Nikhai Hill-Green handing out Thanksgiving dinners in Ypsilanti this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/UTbo5dJlFH
— Ryan Zuke (@ryanzuke) November 21, 2021
Community partners join in
Once the event was planned, other community partners such as Milk Means More, The Love Stand, Washtenaw MBK, the Supreme Felons and Parkridge Community Center quickly jumped into action.
“I think the most inspiring thing was having someone so young come to you and say, ‘This is what I want to do,” AFC Ann Arbor co-owner Bilal Saeed said. “Once Blake came to us and said he wanted to do a turkey giveaway, the rest of us were like, ‘Let’s match what he wants to bring to the table.’ Everyone was inspired and word started spreading. People were like, ‘we got you with this, we got you with this.’ Just very inspiring, Everyone is talking about NIL money. He is just so humble and so respectful. It is amazing.”
Michigan running back Blake Corum used his NIL money to purchase turkeys distributed today in two Ypsilanti communities in what he calls “Giving Back 2 Give Thanks” pic.twitter.com/bXSPKagiUS
— angelique (@chengelis) November 21, 2021
“I came with Coach Hart this summer to help out with the camp, and he got me connected with Bilal,” Blake said. “Now me and Bilal were able to do this great thing today. I told him I am going to buy 100 turkeys, and he said he will match it. After that, everyone wanted to match it. I could have had like 800 turkeys out here if I wanted to. But it was a great experience.”