Chris Long and William Hayes Go Undercover As Homeless Men to Raise Awareness

SC Featured: Life on the streets – ESPN Video

St. Louis Rams defensive ends Chris Long and William Hayes went undercover to experience what life would be like if they were homeless, bringing awareness to an issue that has impacts over 570,000 people in the United States.

Long and Hayes went on an unadventurous journey in the “SC Featured” special that aired last Sunday, as they dressed up as homeless man and experienced the life for 24 hours.

Chris Long released this statement on his views of homelessness: 

We were supposed to stay in a shelter after our first night on the streets before our cover was blown. We were apprehensive about allowing those cameras along with us in our experience. ESPN hit us up a few days before.

I think raising awareness is important on a lot of levels but the thing I took away was the human element of the problem. Awareness can’t fix everything, and just 2 days and a night on the street didn’t give us any answers. It did however give us perspective.

I hope that I can give more of my time, energy and resources to the cause in the future. William has been a real champ the last few years. I do regret not being able to stay out longer. A stay in one of St. Louis’ shelters would have been very valuable. We were found out day 2.

ESPN.com’s Elizabeth Merrill  went more in-depth on the story and provided more context from the journey as told by Hayes and Long. It was Hayes who initially recommended the idea to Long, who decided to join him.  Hayes and Long started their experiment on March 22nd, with makeup and clothing to disguise their identities. They each had just $4.00 and resorted to asking for money on the street.

After spending a full day on the streets, the two were asked to leave while they were setting up to sleep outside of an abandoned warehouse. After, they were forced to sleep in the back of a moving truck that wasn’t fully covered on a night that saw temperatures drop to 38 degrees. 

The next day, the two Rams players returned to that abandoned warehouse where they were told to leave to man a named Marty, who along with a woman named Nancy had been living there for some time. After the meeting them, Long and Hayes both decided to give them a place to stay for two months as they help them start a financial structure for themselves. 

In a time where the NFL is going through sort of an image crisis, it is nice to see two class acts like Long and Hayes go out of their way, out of their lavish lifestyle as NFL players and raise awareness for the homeless. Much respect!

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