An NFL team’s act of kindness is falling completely flat with fans.
The Carolina Panthers are facing backlash after gifting a young African-American boy with a new lawnmower rather than helping him with his future college tuition.
In a video posted to Twitter last Friday, the team highlighted 12-year-old Jaylin Clyburn, who has spent his summers in Lancaster, South Carolina mowing lawns in an effort to save for his college education. Clyburn’s mowing business made national headlines, catching the attention of head coach Ron Rivera.
“We needed his expertise, so we brought him to Charlotte,” the video says, showing the youth pushing his lawnmower outside the Panthers’ stadium.
Rivera congratulates Clyburn on his “impressive” work and tells him that Lowes, a corporate sponsor, has a special surprise for him. That’s when the Lowe’s rep presents the young tyke with a brand-new, Panthers blue lawn mower.
But that’s not all.
The team also named Clyburn “an official member” of the team’s grounds crew and gifted him with an autographed football signed by star quarterback Cam Newton.
“Ooh, thank you!” the boy responds, taken aback by his gifts.
Fans weren’t as impressed, however, and blasted the multi-million dollar football team for giving Clyburn mowing equipment instead of a college scholarship.
“This isn’t a feel good story,” one Twitter user opined. “a) this kid shouldn’t have to pay for college. b) he definitely shouldn’t have to mow lawns to pay for it. c) you rich asshole corporations should have just paid for him to go to college. What does a lawn mower even cost, for f-cks sake?”
“Instead of really helping this young brother with a scholarship or a bond, you do the minimum, then tweet it out so the world will see how Wonderful you are,” another chimed in. “Folkx DO NOT congratulate them, SHAME them.”
One woman wrote sarcastically, “We heard you were working your ass of to pay for college, so we’re gonna give you new equipment to continue to work yourself to death just to be in debt when you actually get there because working yourself to death wasn’t enough. Great job guys! @Panthers @Lowes.”
Others didn’t see the issue, however, and lauded the team for supporting Clyburn’s mowing business while teaching him the value of hard work in the process.
“The sense of entitlement in these replays are staggering,” wrote one critic. “This kid wants to work towards something, and earn what he has. That’s something that’s hard to come by these days with the ‘gimmie gimmie gimmie’ generation.”
“A child with work ethic that’s planning for the future?!” another wrote. “He’ll likely become very wealthy because he knows what he wants and has figured out how to start getting it. Let’s take away that work ethic and just give him everything for free!”
12-year-old Jaylin Clyburn started mowing lawns to save for college this summer.@Lowes and @RiverboatRonHC heard his story and got him all new equipment for his growing business 💙 pic.twitter.com/PmlcdiQXH8
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 6, 2019