Salvation Army Scores When NFL Star Leaps Into Kettle

On-line donations are up 61% since Cowboy running back Ezekiel Elliot's now-famous #kettlehop.

By Dustin Siggins Published on December 19, 2016

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott jumped into a large Salvation Army kettle during Sunday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, generating a 15-yard penalty, but a mountain of free press for the acclaimed charity group less than a week before Christmas. And increased donations.

Elliott’s leap took place as he celebrated setting the franchise record for touchdowns by a rookie. “I mean it’s just sitting there in the end zone,” a smiling Elliott said in his post-game interview. “We support the Salvation Army — NFL, Cowboys — they’re one of our biggest partners, so you know I had to show them a little bit of love.”

Here’s Elliott’s now famed #kettlehop:


Elliott wasn’t worried about being fined for excessive celebration, telling reporters, he’d “match whatever they fine me with a donation to the Salvation Army.”

“He was actually talking about that pregame, should he do it, will they fine him,” quarterback Dak Prescott said to the AP. “I didn’t know he was actually going to go down and come back up slow. Got a good laugh out of it, him coming up real slowly. It was funny.”

Although Elliot’s coaches weren’t happy he drew a 15-yard penalty for his stunt, Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones knows a good PR move when he sees it. “My dream is that the NFL would fine the daylights out of him, and I’m going to take them to the Supreme Court,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones jokingly told reporters. “And we’re going to get the Salvation Army a lot of notice there.”

However, the NFL has decided not to fine the star running back. But that doesn’t mean the Salvation Army is getting short-changed. Elliot tweeted Monday morning that he still plans on giving. 

The Salvation Army, meanwhile, asked NFL fans to follow Elliott’s lead and support their efforts:

Famed for its kettles asking for donations in front of stores across the country, the Salvation Army tweeted last night that it uses 82 percent of donations for charitable purposes, and 18 percent for various overhead costs:

A spokesperson for charity watchdog group Charity Navigator told The Stream that 82 percent is “good to very good,” with 90 percent of non-profits at the 65 percent mark. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance, another watchdog group, reports that the Salvation Army brought in over four billion dollars in 2013, and spent almost $3.3 billion.

The Salvation Army also responded to a sports reporter who criticized the organization for quickly taking advantage of Elliott’s stunt (h/t to Mediaite).

You can respond as well with a donation to the Salvation Army this Christmas season.

Update: The Salvation Army is reporting a 61% increase in online giving since Sunday night. And there’s further evidence Elliot is responsible. According to TMZ Sports, many of the donations have been $21, reflecting the Cowboy star’s jersey number. 

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