Robinson's shoe gaffe pays off for Houston kids

HOUSTON (AP) - Dunta Robinson's shoe escapade has turned into a $25,000 boost for a facility that will serve underprivileged children.

The Houston Texans cornerback was fined that amount for wearing shoes during the season opener that carried a message directed at general manager Rick Smith: It said, "pay me Rick."

Robinson was upset he and the Texans were unable to reach a long-term contract and skipped training camp before signing.

After writing letters to Smith, owner Bob McNair and coach Gary Kubiak, Robinson was allowed to donate the fine this week toward the construction of a Houston Texans YMCA that will benefit kids in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

Before delivering the check, Robinson did arts and crafts with a group of children in a housing development in Houston's Third Ward, a neighborhood that will be served by the YMCA. Dozens of boys and girls from elementary and junior high school giggled and smiled as they decorated wooden Christmas ornaments with Robinson and his fiancee.

"It's a great way to make a negative situation into a positive," Robinson said. "It couldn't have worked out any better than to come down here and give back to this community and see all these kids smile. These people work really hard to keep these kids on the right track so you just want to make it a little easier on them."

Robinson was a first-round pick of the Texans in 2004 and has started each game this season. He lobbied to have his money given to a cause that serves children after spending much of his childhood in facilities such as the one that his money will help fund.

"Maybe you didn't have that father figure, maybe you didn't have that big brother figure and you come into these type of situations and you get to see grown ups helping and giving to kids that aren't even theirs you just want to help out a little bit," he said. "I definitely grew up in the same situation and I know what it did for myself, so I can only imagine what these kids are going through right now."

The Houston Texans YMCA is scheduled to be completed in 2010, and fundraisers are about halfway to the goal of $10 million so the building can open debt free.

"Every little bit helps for us to continue to serve the community," Texans YMCA executive director Priscilla Graham said. "YMCA has had a presence in this community for over 50 years, so this will help us continue the legacy and continue to serve in our community."

Robinson apologized for his shoe message the day after it happened. He is happy to put the stunt behind him by giving the money to charity.

"Even negatives can turn into one of the biggest blessings," he said. "This makes me feel good. Just coming here and seeing these kids having the time of their lives is a great feeling. I couldn't have asked for that money to go to any better situation."


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