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As promised, Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell donated his first game paycheck to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation as penance for posting a “disturbing and unacceptable” drawing on Instagram of a hooded man slashing a handcuffed and kneeling police officer’s throat in July.
“I said I was going to do it and I wanted to follow through,” Crowell reluctantly told Cleveland.com upon being pressed about the $35,300 donation he issued to the foundation.
Crowell quickly deleted the Instagram photo, which can be found here (requisite graphic warning), shortly after posting it on July 6 to protest police shootings of black men Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn. The following day, five Dallas police officers were killed by a rogue gunman at the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in the city.
“We have spoken to Isaiah regarding his extremely disturbing and unacceptable social media decision,” the Browns said in a statement at the time. “It was completely inappropriate and we have made him aware of our high level of disappointment. Isaiah has apologized but also knows that just an apology is insufficient and that he must take steps to make a positive difference after a very negative and impactful post.”
Showing remorse for his action, Crowell pledged to donate a paycheck to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation and soon accepted an invitation from the organization’s president, Dallas Police Department Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, to attend the funeral of slain DPD officer Patrick Zamarripa.
“In response to the public backlash, Mr. Crowell pledged to make a donation to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, of which I am the president of,” Pennie wrote on Facebook in July. “In an effort to show the progressiveness and professionalism of the Dallas Police Department, its officers, and its affiliated police support organizations, I reached out to Mr. Crowell and expressed a disinterest in his money. Rather, I told him that I did want an opportunity to educate him about the policing profession and the meaning of police service and sacrifice.”
Three months later, Pennie also accepted Crowell’s $35,300 check — one-seventeenth of the NFL’s second-leading rusher’s $600,000 base salary — made out to the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation.
“I said, ‘Isaiah, why did you send me a check? I told you you didn’t have to send me a check,”’ Pennie told Cleveland.com on Wednesday. “He said, ‘Sarge, I want to do it. I really want to do it.’ I said, ‘okay, alright, you will now be an executive level sponsor. So now, you are a celebrity sponsor of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation.’…
“Isaiah is like my little brother,” added Pennie. “He’s a long-term sponsor, not necessarily in terms of money, but he’s going to be involved with my foundation, and how I engage him with my widows, and my fallen officer families. That’s where this is going.”
Notably absent from the sergeant’s comments, which partially claimed credit for Crowell’s success this season in addition to detailing his advice to the running back about not protesting the National Anthem, was a discussion of the separate police brutality issue that sparked Crowell’s outrage.
Pennie, who is black, filed a lawsuit this month against Black Lives Matter, the National of Islam, President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and other high-profile figures for inciting the violence that led to the death of police officers and other law enforcement.