In NFL Characters Unite, Jamaal meets Martinous, a 16-year-old whose father was incarcerated throughout most of his son's life and then was murdered only a year after being released from prison. Raised by his mother, Martinous has been bullied for being different than other kids. He has been made to feel like he doesn't act "man enough" because he hasn't had a father in his life. At Arrowhead stadium, Jamaal explains to Martinous that expressing emotion is good and that the absence of his father doesn't need to stand in his way. He encourages Martinous to pursue his passion of spoken word poetry, introducing him to local celebrated poets from the Kansas City Young Audiences program and challenging him to find the confidence to perform in front of an audience at the stadium. Jamaal gives Martinous a scholarship to the Kansas City Young Audiences program to continue to work on his poetry and a gift he will never forget about what it truly means to be a man.
JAMAAL CHARLESKansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles faced many difficult challenges during his childhood. He was raised predominantly by his grandparents, as his mother was busy working and his father was absent from his life. Living in a high crime neighborhood, many of his friends and relatives went down the wrong path and tried to lure him to follow. He also suffered with a learning disability that made him ashamed and want to hide from his classmates for fear of their judgment and teasing. Jamaal was fast though and by sticking to running and playing football, he was able to stay out of trouble and pursue his dream of getting to the NFL. Today, he is the NFL's all-time leader in career yards-per-carry average among running backs. And, he is committed to being a role model that he didn't have in his own father, encouraging boys and young men to be themselves and have the courage to choose a path that makes them happy and successful.