Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum is proud of his Filipino heritage, and he wants everyone to know it.
After Bynum’s fourth-quarter interception helped seal his team’s 27-22 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday night, he did interviews and took reporters’ questions with the Philippines flag prominently draped over his shoulders.
The Southern California-born and -raised athlete, 24, is one of only a handful of Filipino American players currently competing in the NFL, the world’s premier professional American football league. His mother, Jennifer, is a third-generation Filipino American who grew up in San Francisco.
Bynum was once considered undersized for a football player at 180 pounds while a first-year student at the University of California, Berkeley, but after bulking up, he became an impact player for the Golden Bears a year later in 2017, recording 58 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defended. The Vikings drafted Bynum in the fourth round, 125th overall, in 2021.
It was at the 1-yard line with 10 seconds left in the game on Sunday when Bynum picked off New York quarterback Mike White for a clutch interception that solidified his team’s win. The victory was the second-in-a-row for the Vikings, who lead the NFC North and stand second in the overall conference standings with an impressive 10-2 record.
“Representation,” Bynum told reporters after the game, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Just being able to put my flag on the map and hopefully get some more eyes to see what we’re doing in the Philippines to raise money there.”
During the game, Bynum wore customized cleats representing Keys To Freedom Ministries, which aids victims of the typhoons that recently hit the Philippines, as part of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign that allows players to promote charitable causes and organizations through their in-game footwear.
“I’m half Filipino, so I rep my roots heavy,” Bynum said. “We do a lot of work in the Philippines trying to raise awareness.”
Bynum’s activism goes beyond just waving flags and wearing cleats, however.
In June, he, along with his mother and several other family members, traveled to the Philippines after Typhoon Megi battered the island nation two months earlier, killing over 200 residents and displacing over 300,000. They focused on aiding the island of Leyte, where his great grandmother’s roots can be traced. It was Bynum’s first-ever visit to the Philippines.
“There’s been a lot of destruction,” Bynum told Sports Illustrated. “We’re just going to help them any way we can.”
The athlete activist also donated $10,000 of his own money to help fund the outreach.
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