Interview: Rodney Peete Kicks Off Allstate’s National “Give Back Day” in Honor of MLK


Tell us a little about the program and how you got involved?

Allstate’s Give Back Day program highlights everyday individuals who selflessly give back to their communities and that is something that I try to instill in my family and practice, so when they asked if I wanted to help be a part of this year’s program, I had no hesitation. Allstate honored four Give Back Day Heroes from different cities around the United States for their dedication to giving back to the causes that are important to them. These four remarkable individuals help create positive, sustainable change in their communities by volunteering to address important causes like domestic violence, economic empowerment and mentoring at-risk youth. The Heroes got to attend The King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Awards in Atlanta and we are all participating in volunteer events to honor Dr. King today. This is such a great program that not only inspires individuals to volunteer in their communities but also honors Dr. King’s legacy, and I am so proud to be a part of Allstate’s efforts.

Do you feel that athletes have a responsibility to give back to the community?

Yes, athletes do have a responsibility to give back to the community. I think we are looked at as role models whether we want to be or not, so being giving the gift to be able to play a sport at a thigh level comes with a lot of responsibility and if you can influence individuals and help inspire others to give back, we owe it to our community to do so.

How do you feel about the term black quarterback? Do you still feel African American quarterbacks in the NFL are not given as fair of a shake as their white counterparts?

I think we are starting to get rid of the label that used to be there in terms of black quarterbacks. I think you look up and see different types of quarterbacks that are playing today like Cam Newton and Michael Vick and its more about ability than the color of your skin. It’s not so much of a stigma as it used to be. I think organizations are looking at guys that can help their team win more so than putting a label on anyone as far as them being a black QB or running QB or anything like that.

A lot of athletes have a tough time after their career is over. How were you able to transition to a successful career so smoothly after you were done playing?

How did I transition to a successful career after I was done playing? I married smart! That’s the truth! And also I credit it to having been brought up in a good household with good parents. My dad was a coach, so I was able to see a lot of things first hand. Also I was able to go to a good school that gave me a good foundation and a lot of resources [USC] so I had a lot to fall back on.

What are your picks for the AFC and NFC championship games?

I’d like New England to beat Baltimore and id like San Francisco to beat the Giants, so I see a New England/San Francisco Super Bowl.

For the fourth consecutive year, Allstate Insurance Company is paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by encouraging individuals to volunteer in their communities on MLK Day 2012 (Jan. 16) through its Give Back Day program ( Rodney Peete, former NFL quarterback and co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation, is helping launch the program along with four outstanding community heroes who are recognized as leading volunteers in their communities. Peete and the four Heroes will be guiding Give Back Day activities in their home cities with Allstate.

The four exemplary individuals who have been named as 2012 Allstate Give Back Day Heroes are:

  • · Joyce Calvin, Chicago
  • · Robert Cradle,Baltimore
  • · John Darjean, Dallas
  • · Alexandria Phillips, Atlanta


“The Allstate Give Back Day Heroes are remarkable individuals who selflessly give back, keeping Dr. King’s legacy alive through their passionate commitment to service,” said Vicky Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility for Allstate. “Their volunteer efforts reflect the values and causes important to Allstate and communities across America. We hope their stories inspire others to put their good hands to work in their own communities every day and on Jan. 16, in honor of Dr. King.”

On behalf of the Give Back Day Heroes, Allstate is making a donation of $2,500 to a charity of each hero’s choice. These remarkable individuals help create positive, sustainable change in their communities by volunteering to address important causes like domestic violence, economic empowerment and mentoring at-risk youth. Heroes will attend The King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Awards in Atlanta on Jan.14, 2012, for a celebration of individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership.

In addition, Peete will be attending a special Allstate Give Back Day volunteer event in Atlanta on MLK Day 2012. “It is an honor for me to be associated with this committed and selfless group of heroes. I have always believed in getting involved in causes that you are passionate about, and it’s great to see these individuals mirroring the spirit of Dr. King by giving back,” said Peete, who spent 16 years in the NFL as a quarterback. Peete and wife Holly’s HollyRod Foundation, which helps those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease, is currently developing plans to open their first “HollyRod4kids Compassionate Care Center for Autism” in Los Angeles, a central location where families in the autism community can go for support, guidance, treatment and hope.

Individuals interested in participating in Allstate Give Back Day 2012 can visit to find local volunteer opportunities via VolunteerMatch, an online search engine promoting volunteerism and civic engagement by matching volunteers with charitable organizations and non-profits. Visitors to the website can view profiles of the four Allstate Give Back Day Heroes and learn about their community involvement through a series of video interviews. In 2011, more than 1,500 Allstate employees, agency owners and community members volunteered in dozens of cities across the country on Give Back Day.


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