Tragedies After the NFL Draft

By Benjamin Rabinowitz, Matthew Jones and Sabrina Solla
MAY 23, 2019 

Being picked during the NFL Draft is one of the most exciting moments for a young athlete. Not only do these players achieve their goals to make it to the NFL, but they now have an income, right out of college. Corey Ballentine was one of several athletes who were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, but a night of celebration soon became a nightmare.

Corey Ballentine attended the Division II Washburn University, where he was a six-time member of the conference academic honor roll. This is a small-town school in Kansas that isn’t known for producing star football players. However, Ballentine’s outstanding talent and skills drew the attention of NFL scouts.

Ballantine was drafted in round six, pick 180, to the New York Giants. He was ecstatic about this news because his dream had finally come true. Jay Crost of CNN reported that Ballentine told the head coach of the Giants, “‛I’ve been waiting on this opportunity for a lifetime really.’”

Corey Ballentine at the NFL Combine.
Photo by Getty Image

Suddenly, just hours after Ballentine was drafted, he and his teammate Dwayne Simmons became victims in a drive-by shooting. Art Stapleton of NJ News stated that, “The shooting occurred outside of an off-campus party in the early morning hours on April 28….”  They were rushed to the hospital, yet it was already too late for Dwayne Simmons, who, sadly, passed away. Ballentine fought through and survived the horrible shooting. Ballentine attended Simmons’ funeral, which took place a week after the incident. As soon as the Giants’ Coach Shurmur became aware of the incident, he contacted Ballentine and his family.

Ballentine was unable to participate in the rookie minicamp due to the injuries he sustained. Thursday, May 9, was the first time since the shooting, that Ballentine was able to visit the Giants’ practice. Art Stapleton also reported that, “As it stands now, following Thursday’s visit, Ballentine will likely return home before rejoining the Giants as originally planned next week.”

The shooting has greatly affected Simmons’ and Ballentine’s families, as well as the Giants’ football community. As everyone slowly gets past this tragedy, hopefully Ballentine will recover soon and resume the chance to live his dream.