By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate stood on the sideline of the practice field Tuesday night and faced the camera, then dramatically looked upward as a pair of smiling Lions staff members dumped a large Gatorade bucket of ice water over his head.
“It shocked me at first,” Tate admitted moments later. “Now it’s kind of refreshing, actually, though.”
Tate had accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a movement designed to raise awareness and funds for research of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While Tate said he does not know anyone affected by the disease, his college roommate at Notre Dame nominated him for the challenge, and he was not about to back down.
Tate nominated Lions coach Jim Caldwell, superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and Tate’s girlfriend Elise Pollard.
“I’m sure [Caldwell] will do it out here,” Tate said, uncertain of whether he would be the one to douse the coach. “I’m just happy he’s accepting the challenge, and hopefully he nominates [general manager Martin] Mayhew or [team president] Tom [Lewand] or whoever else, whoever else he wants, maybe you guys.”
According to the ALS Association, that organization and its 38 chapters have received $4 million in donations between July 29 and Aug. 12 – an amount nearly quadruple the giving over the same time frame last year.
“I think it’s a great way to raise awareness,” Tate added. “It’s something that gets everyone interacting into it. If you choose not to accept for whatever reason, we expect you to donate some money for research, but it’s a way for the world to get involved and I think it’s just kind of cool. It’s something different.”
Tate has a reputation for giving back to the community, and though he has not established relationships with any particular organizations in Detroit yet, he feels a responsibility to help others when he gets opportunities to do so.
“A lot of people get used to this lifestyle, and they kind of take it for granted,” Tate said. “I think God’s put me on this earth to do what I love in football, and the least I can do is affect people’s lives positively if I can. And simple things like spending one hour at the hospital just hanging out, or going to a school and talking to a group of individuals who are having tough times at school or at home or whatever the case is, and a lot of times I don’t know the stories, it’s just you never know what word or what phrase you say that’s going to help someone in a positive way.
“I grew up in a tough area, and I saw a lot of people who were very talented like myself, and I went to a lot of Tennessee State University games, and as a young boy, the only thing I remember about those games is one of the players taking his helmet off and giving it to me or bringing me on the sideline once they were pretty much done with the game and just letting me hang out, and that’s something that stuck with me forever,” Tate continued. “I think sometimes kids don’t really trust in what their parents are saying, and so sometimes when you can hear from I guess a public figure, it kind of sticks in their mind a little more, so that’s just kind of how I think of it.”