They don't call it "Minnesota Nice" for no reason, and Saints punter Thomas Morstead experienced that firsthand.
On Tuesday, after the big Vikings win over the Saints, Morstead noticed that donations were flowing into his charity, What You Give Will Grow, which is a charity that focuses on pediatric care and boosting Child Life departments at pediatric hospitals.
The donations were coming from Minnesota of all places. Morstead quickly learned the source of the donations: a Reddit post about his sportsmanlike behavior after Minnesota made a last-second touchdown, reported local news station KARE.
"Let's take a moment to acknowledge how classy Thomas Morstead is," wrote a Reddit user.
"In a year that the NFL has been plagued by negative attention, let's thank Thomas Morstead for the class that he showed last night by coming out for the kneel down extra point, shaking hands of Vikings players and all the while having some broken ribs!"
The Reddit user included a link to his charity, encouraging people to donate in his honor.
In a similar Reddit post, another user wrote, "Show your respect for NO Saints Punter Thomas Morstead by donating to his Charity. Played with a broken rib yet was one of the 8 players that came out for the point after."
Morstead was the first Saints player to come back to the field for the point after touchdown. He did that despite the fact he was in extreme pain from tearing cartilage on his rib cage from an earlier tackle on Vikings return man Marcus Sherels after his first punt of the game.
"I didn’t really think twice about it,” said Morstead. “I don’t feel like I was sitting on some moral high ground or did something exceptional, they needed 11 guys so I went out and that was it.”
As of Wednesday morning, more than 624 Vikings fans gave more than $38,000 to the charity, which was inspired by Morstead’s close friend who battled cancer. But Morstead wasn't done being classy; he announced that he'd give the donations right back to Minnesota, giving the total amount to the Children's Minnesota Child Life division.
Morstead tweeted that if donations reach $100,000, then he'll fly back to Minneapolis during the Super Bowl to personally deliver the check.
Morstead explained what the donations will do for children: “Child Life has immeasurable impacts on these kids and treats the emotional side of what they are having to deal with, hard to explain to a 3-year-old or 6-year-old why they are getting needles put in their bodies every day."
Morstead added, “People in the Child Life department do a great job of helping the kids to remain kids whether they are in the hospital a day, a week, a month, a year, or longer, when they leave hospital they are still kids. One of the things we are trying to do moving forward is collecting metrics so we can show hospitals, there is a return on the investment, there is value in this."
To date, Morhead's What You Give Will Grow organization has given out well over $2.5 million.
Joy Johnson-Lind, a social worker who oversees child life at Children's Minnesota as the senior director of Child and Family Services, spoke to Morstead about his generosity.
“It’s such a heartwarming gesture, if we could get more people like you, the world would be a better place,” Johnson-Lind told Morstead by phone.
She added, “I think it says a lot about Minnesota Vikings fans that they wanted to support a player and had no idea it was going back to the community they live in. Although it was originated out of this highly competitive sporting event, it puts it back to the impact of kids and families,” Johnson-Lind added.
Morstead posted his own message of gratitude to his foundation’s YouTube page.
“Thank you to everybody who donated. I’m blown away by everybody and I’ll give you a 'Who Dat,'” said Morstead.
If you'd like to donate, the organization has set up a special link here.