Arizona Cardinals star J.J. Watt offered to help a fan who was planning to sell off Watt Reebok shoes to pay for her grandfather's funeral. Watt told Twitter user Jennifer Simpson to keep the shoes and said he would contribute funeral costs. Simpson said her grandfather died in June and she and her aunt have been raising money for the funeral since then.
"I have a pair of [Watt] women's edition of Reebok shoes size 9 $60. I've worn them twice," Simpson tweeted. "They are great shoes, I'm only selling [them] because we are raising money for my grandpa's funeral. I also have a Watt women's XL Texans Jersey [for] $30. Anyone interested?"
Don’t sell your shoes and jersey, we’ll help with the funeral.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 21, 2022
I’m sorry for your loss.
Although Simpson only had a handful of followers, Watt still noticed the tweet since she tagged him. "Don't sell your shoes and jersey, we'll help with the funeral," Watt wrote to Simpson. "I'm sorry for your loss."
"I freaking love you man. It's been a hard year for me, and this last month has been hard since the death. I wish I could tell you my story," Simpson replied. In a follow-up tweet Thursday, she said she was "overwhelmed by the love and support" from people who do not even know her grandfather. "My family is so grateful for you all!"
Many others asked Simpson how they could help. She told one Twitter user they closed their GoFundMe but was taking donations through Venmo, CashApp, or PayPal. She also suggested people could make donations to Brookside Funeral Home & Memorial Park in Houston directly.
Simpson, a teacher, told Click2Houston her family could not afford her grandfather's funeral because there was "no life insurance, no social security, nothing coming into it." Simpson was "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support. "For someone that doesn't even know me, doesn't even know my family to be so giving and caring to help us I'm at loss for words," she said.
"He was a great man and always helping people. He would give you the shirt off his back, his last dollar, his last penny," Simpson's aunt, Tara Roderick, said of Simpson's grandfather. Roderick called Watt's actions "mind-blowing," adding that a "piece of burden came off of me knowing that we were so close to laying my dad to rest."
Watt, 33, played for the Houston Texans from 2011 to 2020 and joined the Cardinals in 2021. Throughout his career, Watt has gone out of his way to be a philanthropist and received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2017 in recognition of his charitable work. In November 2021, he offered to pay for the funerals of the six people killed when a car drove into the crowd at the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade. He also offered to cover funeral costs for the victims of the 2018 Santa Fe High School Shooting and helped raise $37 million to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.