2016 My Cause My Cleats: Long brothers team up to bring water to Africa

When the pads come off, Chris Long keeps doing the work. Discover his and other NFL players' charitable causes in their own words at The Players' Tribune as part of a special My Cause My Cleats collaboration with NFL Media.

Below is an excerpt from Long's discussion with brother Kyle of the Chicago Bears, and former teammates Johnny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams and James Laurinaitis of the New Orleans Saints about how they became involved with Long's Waterboys initiative, which brings well water to East African communities in need.

Chris Long

As the title of this article suggests, we're going to do things a little differently here. I want to talk to you about clean water, and why it can change people's lives in East Africa, especially the lives of children. But since this is the Internet, I know your attention is fleeting.

So let's make a deal. I'm going to tell you why I started my Waterboys initiative, and why I want you to help us bring clean water to the incredible people of East Africa, and in return I'm going to make fun of my football buddies, starting with my brother Kyle.

He can take it. Don't feel bad for him. He just signed an enormous contract extension.

Kyle Long

I will gladly take the heat for a good cause. I'm ready.

Chris Long

Let's talk about Kyle's off-season routine. Whenever I FaceTime him after like 8 a.m., he's always in his dark little gaming cave with five television screens glowing simultaneously, just sitting there shirtless and hairy, surrounded by all his crazy gizmos. He's wearing his special headphones, clicking away with his game-face on.

"I'm busy right now, dude."

You'd honestly think I was calling him during an actual NFL game, that's how intense he is in his gaming chamber.

Kye Long

I am not shirtless. The rest is accurate. And you can make fun of me all you want, but two things:

  1. I have may good friends in the gaming community.

Chris Long

Kyle is friends with "The LeBron James of Counterstrike in Brazil."

Kyle Long

Let me finish. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on bottle service and all the stuff you see on Ballers, I'd rather hang out with my friends and have fun.

  1. How much money did we raise for Waterboys through Twitch?

Chris Long

First of all, for the people reading this who don't know what we're talking about -- Twitch is a website that broadcasts live-streams of people playing video games.

Secondly, you and your gaming friends raised a ton of money. I'll give you that.

Kyle Long

At the start of the off-season I tweeted that all the proceeds from my Twitch
channel would go to Waterboys. I logged on and started playing Call of Duty, and
the next thing I know there's thousands of people watching.

I didn't even make a big thing out of it, I just said to everybody watching, "Hey, if
you're enjoying this, you can donate money to help build clean water wells in
East Africa by subscribing to my channel."

Chris Long

By the end of the spring, the Twitch community and Bears fans had donated
more than $45,000 and Kyle had funded his first well. That will mean clean water
for more than 3,000 people.

Kyle Long

It's kind of incredible just how much we take clean water for granted. Just today, I
had two IVs after practice, drank eight bottles of water, took two showers, and
washed my hands multiple times. There are millions of people out there who
can't even drink a glass of water without it making them sick. Pretty soon, we'll
have our own "Twitch well" in Tanzania. That's pretty cool.

For Chris Long's full conversation with Kyle Long, Johnny Hekker and James Laurinaitis read more at The Players' Tribune.

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