Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters climbed out of the truck, walked to the back and immediately started getting to work.
This was Saturday afternoon, in front of the Gregg/Klice Community Center located near 18th and Vine, and Peters’ first Kansas City Christmas Coat Giveaway was about to commence. In the back of the truck were 300 winter coats, all provided by Adidas, that needed to be hauled into the center for distribution to underprivileged local youths.
And that’s exactly what Peters did. He proceeded to hand out coats, sign pieces of clothing and take pictures with the youths and the parents who brought them.
“This is all Marcus,” said Nick Ayre, a sports marketing assistant manager for Adidas who attended the giveaway. “He’s always looking to give back to the community, whether it’s Oakland or Kansas City.”
The community center reached out to Peters, through the Chiefs, to be a partner in a coat drive they were holding this month. Peters eventually agreed, and with the help of Adidas —– which sponsors Peters and safety Eric Berry –– sent 300 jackets directly to the team’s practice facility. Peters then loaded a truck and drove over to the center on Saturday.
During the two-hour event, Peters received assistance from many people, including teammate Spencer Ware, actor Paul Rudd –– a Kansas graduate who is in town for the holidays — and members of the Beta Omega and Omicron Xi chapters of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Rudd said he recently heard about the event through Peters’ agent, Doug Hendrickson. Rudd, who was intrigued by the idea, asked if he could help somehow. He decided to attend, and he and Peters ended up rolling a giant cart of coats into the center together, along with passing out coats.
“I’ve been a fan of Marcus’ –– I think he’s great,” said Rudd, who met Peters for the first time Saturday. “I think Marcus does things under the radar. He’s cool like that.”
Peters didn’t speak at the event, but his father, Michael Peters, was present. Michael said his son’s desire to hold the event is consistent with his giving spirit toward underprivileged youngsters, something people don’t always consider when they form their opinions on him based on some of his other deeds, whether it be his anthem stance or his actions in the Chiefs’ 38-31 loss to the New York Jets earlier this month, when he chucked a penalty flag into the stands following a call on a teammate and left the field, prematurely, in frustration.
“Marcus loves giving back –– that’s what he does, that’s what people don’t see,” Michael Peters said. “But the people here see it. He’s getting much love from these people.”
Indeed. Antoine Summers, a 32-year-old Kansas City native, showed up wearing a Peters jersey shirt. He also brought his nephew and two kids along to meet his favorite player and get some new coats.
“Giving out free coats? Man, I support Marcus Peters,” Summers said. “When he threw the flag, everybody was talking about him, how bad of a person he is. But you know, it’s football man. He’s a competitive player. So I like Marcus Peters. He’s a stand-up guy, man.”