Browns' CB Jason McCourty, twin brother Devin of the Patriots give back and speak up

Posted at 3:24 PM, Nov 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 15:27:54-05

Fans often place such an emphasis on an athlete's on-field performance, it can be easy to forget that they have lives beyond the field.

"We are husbands. We are fathers. When you are out on the football field or playing your sports, you represent all aspects of your life," said Browns cornerback Jason McCourty.

Jason McCourty's twin brother, Devin McCourty, came to Cleveland on the Brown's bye week. Devin is a safety for the New England Patriots and happened to share the same bye week.

"We know how important family is because we know that is what got you through [tough times]," Jason explained.

Family is what inspired the McCourty brothers to start a non-profit organization called Tackle Sickle Cell. Sickle Cell Disease is a genetic disease that causes red blood cells have what is known as a sickle shape, as opposed to their normal oval shape. This causes pain for a person with the diseas. The McCourty's father had the recessive sickle trait and died when they were just three years old. Their aunt, Winnie, currently has the disease.

"She got a hip replacement. Next thing you know her vision was going and now to this point she has lost vision in both eyes and she is on oxygen twenty-four seven," Jason explained.

Neither Jason nor Devin have the disease or the trait.

"You understand what a blessing it is to go out there and play football," Devin said. "We don't look at any day and take it for want to take advantage of every opportunity you have."

For the McCourty twins, those opportunities reach further than giving back to the community. For them, it's also about speaking up.

"It really stood out to me this past season once we won the Super Bowl and myself and a couple of teammates decided not to go the White House," Devin recalled. "You want your kids to not only believe in important core values and morals that you believe in, but you want them to see you do those things and live by those things."

And this season, Jason was among the Browns players who took a knee during the national anthem.

"We all come from different backgrounds and there are things going on in our society and maybe we are not suffering from them right now, maybe we grew up suffering from those or maybe we have people back home that are dealing with issues that are going on," Jason explained.

Jason and Devin feel they have a responsibility to use the platform they have as professional athletes to take a stand for those who don't have the same opportunities.

"We have the opportunity and the platform to stand up for people other than ourselves, and I think as athletes and as people, you should want to do that to give back and there is no one to stop you from what you believe in," Jason said.

And while they are committed to their causes and their teams, they are also apart of another team they've had since day one - their family.

"For as long as we can remember it was me, Dev, my older brother and my mom. We did everything together," Jason said. "Our family definitely comes first."

Jason McCourty is hosting a comedy night on Monday, Nov. 13th at Cleveland Improv. Proceeds for this event will benefit University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's. For more information head to