A man who spent three decades in one of the worst places imaginable will be spending at least three hours next weekend in one of the best.
As one of the 32 nominees for the NFL’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins received two free tickets to the Super Bowl. Via the New York Daily News, he’s giving them to Kempis Songster.
Songster recently was released from a maximum-security prison after spending 30 years behind bars. At 15, Songster and another man killed 17-year-old Anjo Pryce in a Philadelphia crack house.
Jenkins met Songster last year during a visit to Graterford Prison, where Songster was serving a mandatory life sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has since concluded that mandatory life sentences for juveniles violate the Constitution. Songster was released on December 28.
“A few weeks ago, I saw an article come across my text that he was getting out, and I wanted to do something special for him,” Jenkins told the Daily News. “I didn’t know what, but I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate him coming home because I understood he really dedicated himself to a life of service and he’s trying to repay what he’s taken from society. I know he has some great ideas and we’re trying to accomplish the same thing when we talk about reform and healing our communities.”
Jenkins said that, once he learned about the two tickets through the Man of the Year award, Songster “was the first person that popped in my mind.”
“I know normally, people give those to kids or people who may be sick or who are well deserving, but I wanted to have an example that sometimes we can think outside the box and we can listen and hear from one another, so what better platform than the Super Bowl to show those examples?” Jenkins said.
Jenkins has become one of the leading voices in the NFL on issues of criminal justice reform.