Smoke Monday

Auburn defensive back Smoke Monday celebrates with his teammates after returning an intercepted pass for a touchdown against Georgia State

Auburn’s Smoke Monday is known for his lights out play on the field, but he’s now using his platform to give back to the community off the field. 

The senior safety has partnered with the American Red Cross in its “Drive 4 the Win” campaign, which pits college football rivals against each other to promote blood donations to the Red Cross. 

“It means a lot to me (to represent Auburn),” Monday said. “This is a worthy cause for me to use my football platform, just to bring awareness to things people might not know about or might not understand.”

The campaign, which was announced in November, recognizes college football stars and calls on their respective campuses to participate in blood drives leading up to their rivalry games. The event features four colleges and two rivalries: Auburn, promoted by Monday, and Alabama, promoted by defensive back Jordan Battle; Oregon, promoted by receiver Mycah Pittman, and Oregon State, promoted by former receiver Markus Wheaton.

“(The Iron Bowl) is one of the biggest, most anticipated games of the year, and for us it’s just to bring awareness to not only the American Red Cross, but also people can see that it’s so much bigger than football,” Monday said.

The event came about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in the Red Cross facing a blood shortage. Back in September, the Red Cross saw its lowest blood donations of the year, dropping nearly 10 percent of what it received in August, according to a press release from the organization.

“It affects us a lot,” said Monday on how the blood shortage impacts the Auburn community. “At the end of the day, you never know how many people in this world need blood. And due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to give blood back and help other people.”

Blood shortage in the United States affects mainly hospitals and patients who may need it for a variety of different reasons. The Red Cross has used a variety of means to bring awareness to the issue and promote different blood donation events across the country during this blood shortage.

“I’ll be using my platform in a positive way, just to bring knowledge and awareness to the blood shortage in the U.S., that we need people in our community to look past the pandemic and just try to help people in the best way they can,” Monday said.

Now in his senior season with the Tigers, the former second-team All-SEC safety takes pride in being able to represent his team for the Red Cross. 

“Just to step out of my way to help people in need, it shows a lot of maturity in me and how much I’ve developed as a man and as a person just by being in college for this long,” Monday said. “Just for me to give back to my community and give back to the world, it shows a lot about my character.”

The Red Cross will be hosting a blood drive on Auburn University’s campus from Nov. 16-18 in preparation of the Iron Bowl. Those interested in donating blood can visit the Red Cross’ website at www.redcross.org for more information.

“Just help, just help in any way you can,” Monday said. “Just try your best to get the word out to as many people as possible, just to try to make the world a better place.”

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