PHILADELPHIA – Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz spiked the notion that Haiti is a “s–thole.”
Wentz, who tore up his knee in December, was not available to help the Birds in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against Atlanta. But the hobbled QB landed a pretty good crackback in support of Haiti following President Trump’s blistering remarks in which he called it and some African nations “s–thole countries.”
Carson Wentz feels a special connection to the people of Haiti.
(Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
“Much love for the people of Haiti! They’ve been thru so much but it was incredible to see so much hope in them — even tho they’ve been stricken by so many natural disasters,” Wentz tweeted Friday night while his teammates were probably tossing and turning in anticipation of Saturday’s big game.
“Such a resilient nation & a place I’m passionate about. Definitely changed @jmattjmattjmatt and I forever!”
Wentz and former teammate Jordan Matthews, named in the tweet, traveled to Haiti last season.
“Couldn’t have said it better Brother,” Matthews responded on social media. “Amazing country with even better people!”
The two went to Haiti last year on a mission with fellow members of Connect Church in Cherry Hill, N.J., to volunteer, paint houses, and gain a better understanding of what the community there needs.
“I felt called that I needed to go serve and find a way, and get myself out there, get out of my comfort zone,” Wentz had told the Eagles website.
The visit made a big impact. Wentz, through his AO1 Foundation, is also helping to build a sports complex in Haiti. The foundation granted funds to the Haitian organization Mission of Hope last year in an effort to provide kids with education opportunities and nutritional services.
“I believe in Mission of Hope’s initiative completely, and I feel that this sports complex will be an incredible way for the youth of Haiti to have more opportunities to enjoy sporting competition, to further their education, to have access to healthy meals, and to enjoy being around a Christian community to help further their faith,” Wentz said in a statement announcing the project in Haiti.
While he makes no secret of his strong religious beliefs, Wentz has stayed pretty much out of the political arena in his two years with the Eagles. Teammates like Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long are among the most outspoken social activists in the league, but Wentz is more willing to share his exploits hunting back home in North Dakota on social media or, especially when he got hurt last month, his intense religious beliefs.
AO1, the name of his foundation, stands for “Audience of One,” which describes Wentz’s relationship with God. The foundation’s stated purpose is to “demonstrate the love of God by providing opportunities and support for the less fortunate and those in need,” according to its website. That mission and Haiti’s standing as one of the poorest nations on the planet, as well as a series of devastating natural disasters there make it an ideal match.
“You can see pictures. You can see videos of this place, but until you’re there that’s when it really hits you. That’s exactly what it did for me being there, seeing the gravel roads and all these kids, barely any of them have shoes. They’re just running around. They didn’t care. They’re kicking plastic bottles because they don’t have a soccer ball,” Wentz told the Eagles website last year. “Their clothes didn’t fit, kids’ pants are falling down. They’re trying to hold it up, but they’re still playing soccer, laughing, having a blast.
“It’s just a different environment for sure that I don’t think anyone should be living this way,” he said, “but the happiness was there too.”
The Eagles shot a video of the Haiti trip in which Wentz said, despite all the hardship people face in Haiti, he discovered “one of the most joyful communities.”
“They have real relationships with each other,” he said. “They care for each other.”
Wentz seems to care a great deal for them, too. The President of the United States? Not so much.