Coming off a 26-6 win against the Steelers, Ravens DE Chris Canty is focused. The headlines last week about his teammate Ray Rice didn’t shake the team or his personal commitment to the community.
Canty hosted a pre-game benefit that Wednesday (Sept. 10) at Baltimore’s Waterfront Kitchen to support his Chris Canty Foundation. DJ Spinser Tracey was on the turntables and Hennessy V.S was the presenting sponsor. Canty joins Nas (yes, the rapper) as an “embodiment” of the spirit’s “Never stop. Never settle.” mantra.
And he really is. The Super Bowl champ has long days. Work starts at 7:30 a.m. and never finishes. “Everybody wants to win on Sundays when you play, but it’s the guy that wants to win on Wednesday, on Thursday, on Friday, on Saturday ... that’s going to have the advantage,” he told BET.com.
Next up, Canty faces the Browns in Cleveland and his foundation has another event planned for Monday. Canty never stops.
BET.com: How you feeling about this next game?
Chris Canty: It’s not just the same old Cleveland Browns, they’re a much better football team than they were in the past. They got a new head coach and they just came off of a big win against the New Orleans Saints, so it’s gon’ be some work. It’s gon’ be some work on Sunday, but I feel good. I feel good about where we are at as a team.
How does Hennessy's “Never stop. Never settle.” mantra apply to your work on the field?
I mean, if you’re going to be a champion, you got to out-work everybody. Everybody in the National Football League is talented, so it’s not enough just to be talented in order to be successful, you have to have the mindset that you’re going to out-work everybody.
The Chris Canty Foundation has supported youth since 2010. How does “Never stop. Never settle.” apply to the work you with the organization?
We can’t rest on our laurels. We know we’ve made a difference in countless young peoples lives, but there’s that kid we haven’t reached yet ... so we can’t settle on what we’ve done in the past.
Good memories are a great motivator. What are some of the most impactful moments you remember from your youth?
I can remember going to my oldest brother’s college football game for the first time and it was really a shock to me. He played at South Carolina State University and just seeing all the people ... I mean it seemed like a ton of people when I was a little kid and it might’ve been 10-, 15,000 people in the stands, but it seemed like a lot for a kid from the Bronx.
The Reading Buddies program is one of the major components of your foundation. What were some of your favorite books coming up as a child?
Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe; Gifted Hands, Ben Carson, his autobiography, that was super dope. Those were some of the books that I read when I was like middle school age.
Besides education and fitness, your organization focuses on service. Your brother Joseph Canty, the president/chairman of the foundation, mentioned that you all were really competitive growing up –– not just in sports, but in school. Does that competitive spirit apply to service?
Well, it really wasn’t that competitive [laughs]. I was the youngest of three boys and as you can see, we’re all big men. They were bigger than I was and they had higher grades, so it was tough to try and compete with them ... but as far as it pertains to the service, part of what we do is just making sure we give back. That was one of the things that my parents always emphasized to us. It’s not enough to be a good student, it’s not enough to be a good athlete, you have to give back to your community.
You all pulled out a win against the Steelers despite the team being the focus of the Ray Rice controversy. Now he’s appealing his suspension; are you guys feeling the effect?
It doesn’t affect the guys in the locker room one bit. We all love Ray, he’s a friend, he made a terrible mistake and we acknowledge that and he’s facing the consequences of that right now. So our prayers are with him and his wife Janay and the rest of the family. But as a football team, we’re focused on the task at hand, which is the Cleveland Browns, and Ray Rice can’t help us with that, so we’re focused on giving ourselves the best chance that we can to be successful out there. That’s where the focus of everyone is.
Never Stop. Never Settle.
There you go.
What’s next with the foundation?
We’re having a Reading Buddies program. It’s actually [this coming] Monday, the 22nd, at Dunbar High School, in Baltimore, Md. We’re giving away a lot of books and we’re getting kids excited about reading and improving literacy scores in school and getting kids on the right track.
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(Photo: Mike James)