The Texans’ J.J. Watt Has Pledged to Finance the Santa Fe Victims’ Funerals

The Houston football star has a history of altruism when it comes to his adopted city.

After tragedy struck a Santa Fe, Texas, school, pro football star J.J. Watt has said he will pay for the funerals of those who died in the school shooting.

It was reported that at least 10 died and 10 more were injured at Santa Fe High School last Friday morning, after 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis allegedly opened fire on his classmates.

Watt, the Houston Texans defensive end – who raised millions of dollars for relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey last year – reportedly said he will pay for the funerals of those who were killed.

According to Fox News, school officials were notified of Watt’s intention. Pagourtzis was taken into custody and charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against a public servant, authorities said.

Watt tweeted shortly after the shooting and called the tragedy “absolutely horrific.” The Texans released a statement offering “thoughts and heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and all those affected.”

“On behalf of the Texans organization, we are saddened by the tragic events at Santa Fe High School this morning and extend our thoughts and heartfelt condolences to the victim, their families and all those affected,” the statement read. “We are grateful for the brave first responders, law enforcement officials and medical personnel. The Texans family will continue to pray for our neighbors.”

J.J. Watt
Watt has proven himself one of the more socially minded players in the NFL over the past several years. (Image via USA Today)

Twenty-nine-year-old Watt was drafted by the Texans in 2011 after playing college football in his native Wisconsin. He became something of an icon in the state of Texas last year after he raised $37 million to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The New York Times reported that a Houston Texans team official said city leaders thought the offer for Santa Fe High School “was very generous and special.”

The official asked for anonymity because Mr. Watt was not looking to publicize the gesture. “It’s very tough to watch your city get hit by such a bad storm and not be there to help,” Watt said in a video that kicked off the hurricane relief campaign.

The Houston Texans said Watt doesn’t respond only to well-publicized crises. He has helped children with cancer and people who have lost loved ones. The team official said, “People would be shocked if they knew how much he did privately.”

Watt won the NFL’s 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his efforts with Hurricane Harvey. The award honors players who have had a positive impact on their community. “This award is about the inherent good that lies within humanity,” Watt said after accepting the award.

Erin Alexander, Middle Tennessee State University

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Erin Alexander

Middle Tennessee State University

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