COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Paris Johnson, Jr. is among the Ohio State University student-athletes adapting to a new era of college sports. Ohio’s recently implemented name, image, and likeness (NIL) policy has allowed compensation for autographs, jersey sales, endorsements, and more.
Johnson is using his status as an Ohio State Football player to elevate other issues important to him.
“As Ohio State has taught us, it’s about a platform,” said Johnson’s mother, Monica Daniels. “It’s about how can you use a platform to expand who you are outside of football?”
The family created the Paris Johnson, Jr. Foundation when the offensive lineman was still in high school. The charity focuses on helping underprivileged children gain access to the opportunities, athletic equipment, and training necessary to reach higher levels in sports. It’s also provided services and meals to homeless veterans.
“I’m very passionate about the sacrifice that they’ve made for us, without even knowing us,” Johnson said.
The 6-foot, 7-inch offensive tackle helped volunteers pass out food, clothing, groceries, and other supplies to central Ohioans during a pop-up support event at Thompson Recreation Center in Columbus on Sunday.
“I just wanted to have it in what I feel is the heart of Columbus, with people who don’t live far from where I stay at,” Johnson said.
Michael Stanley talked football with the college athlete as he filled a plate Sunday.
“There’s still hope that there are still kind people out here that do care, authentically care,” Stanley, who is currently experiencing homelessness, said of Johnson.
The event was the first time the foundation has been able to use sponsors under the new NIL rules. Daniels explained the family not only discussed how the policies could benefit her son, but how he could use his name, image, and likeness to benefit others.
“When that first came into effect, the first thing I thought about was now I can use opportunities to work with major businesses to help them partner with our foundation just to make things a lot easier, just so we have more access to get people things they need every day,” Johnson said.
The foundation plans to expand its services with the help of corporate sponsors. Within five years, Johnson hopes to help create sustainable housing for homeless veterans.